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Global warming — a term that brings to mind rising sea levels, marauding fire storms, drought-parched lands, retreating glaciers — brings to heart feelings of dread.

Violent Ends, an event hosted by the National Museum of Australia on 11 June 2009, explored these anxieties and the prospects for hope by bringing together a unique group of artists, poets, dancers, singers, scientists, film makers, historians, creative writers and cultural theorists.

This website provides a record of the day. It includes transcripts, images, video and audio recordings.


Deborah Bird Rose is Professor of Social Inclusion in the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Macquarie University, Sydney. Her work focuses on entwined social and ecological justice in this time of climate change, and is based on her long-term research with Aboriginal people in Australia.

Laura Boynes studied at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts and completed her honours degree with LINK Dance Company in 2007. In 2008 she took up residency in New York with Cadi McCarthy and Company. Laura was invited to work with UK film maker David Hinton for a Screen Dance Laboratory at Critical Path in Sydney in 2008. Her films have been shown in the Reeldance Western Australia, Electrofringe Sydney and Cinedans Amsterdam.

A Chorus of Women has been commenting on issues at the heart of the community since 18 March 2003, when 150 Canberra women gathered in Parliament House to sing a lament for the people of Iraq as the Prime Minister announced that Australia was going to war. They have given over 120 public performances in Australia and Europe. Their music is written by composers and poets in the group, and many of their presentations incorporate original story, drama, dance and visual arts as well as song.

William Fox is a writer, poet and the Director of the Center for Art and Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. His work is a sustained inquiry into how human cognition transforms land into landscape. His numerous nonfiction books rely upon fieldwork with artists and scientists in extreme environments to provide the narratives through which he conducts his investigations.

Tom Griffiths is a writer and Professor of History in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. His research, writing and teaching are in the fields of Australian social, cultural and environmental history, the comparative environmental history of settler societies, the writing of non-fiction, and the history of Antarctica.

Roger Hillman is a Reader in the German Studies Program in the School of Language Studies and in the Film Studies Program in the School of Humanities at the Australian National University. His interests include European literature, European cinema, music and narrative.

Mandy Martin is an artist who has held numerous solo exhibitions in Australia, Mexico and the USA and her work has appeared in curated group exhibitions in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, USA, and Italy. Mandy studied at the South Australian School of Art, 1972–75. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University.

Kate Rigby is an Associate Professor in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at Monash University and a member of the Association for the Study of the Literature of the Environment. Kate completed her PhD at Monash University and her primary research interest in German Studies is in the literature and philosophy of the Age of Goethe, and in German thought in the twentieth century. Her research has recently concentrated on the ecological humanities, with a particular emphasis on ecofeminism, ecocriticism and ecology and religion.

Libby Robin is an historian of science and environmental ideas. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Museum of Australia’s Centre for Historical Research and a Senior Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University. She has published widely in history, Australian studies, museum studies, environmental science and the ecological humanities.

James Shannon started dance at the Canberra Dance Development Centre and Quantum Leap Youth Choreographic Ensemble in 2001. In 2007 James joined Tasdance and has since toured works nationally and internationally. He was nominated as ‘Dancer to Watch’ in the 2007 Dance Australia Critics Choice and was recently the recipient of the Tasmanian youth arts award for professional development.

Will Steffen is the Executive Director of the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute and is also science adviser to the Department of Climate Change, Australian Government. Previously he worked at the Australian National University as the Director of the Fenner School of Environment and Society. Will has also served as the Executive Director or the of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), based in Stockholm, Sweden, and before that as Executive Officer of IGBP’s Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems project.

Carolyn Strange was the co-ordinating convenor of Violent Ends. She is the co-author of Griffith Taylor: Visionary, Environmentalist, Explorer (University of Toronto and National Library of Australia Press, 2008) (with Alison Bashford). She also curated the exhibition, Griffith Taylor: Global Geographer, Macleay Museum, University of Sydney (2009). She is a Senior Fellow at the Research School of Humanities, Australian National University.

Thom van Dooren is an environmental anthropologist/philosopher whose research interests lie in human relationships with plants, animals and nature more broadly. He is currently a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney. He completed his PhD in the Fenner School of Environment, Australian National University.

Wayfarers Australia was founded in 1997 by Judith Clingan AM. While choral singing is the main activity, instrumental music, drama, dance and puppetry are also included. Repertoire ranges from early European music, through the accepted masterpieces of choral music, to folk songs and contemporary choral music and music theatre.

Jessica Weir is a Research Fellow in the Native Title Research Unit at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. She has a PhD from the Fenner School of Environment and Society at The Australian National University. Her research focuses on ecological and social issues in Australia, particularly water and ecological life. Her book Murray River Country: An Ecological Dialogue with Traditional Owners, has recently been published by Aboriginal Studies Press.


  • Carolyn Strange, Research School of Humanities, Australian National University
  • Libby Robin, National Museum of Australia and Fenner School, Australian National University
  • William Fox, Center for Art and Environment, Nevada Museum of Art, United States of America
  • Tom Griffiths, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University


  • Research School of Humanities, Australian National University
  • Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University
  • Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University
  • National Museum of Australia
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