Past Labs

To get an idea of what Global Ideas Labs are all about, take a look at these past events. You’ll see that we put together a variety of event styles, topics, and sizes to keep things interesting!

Global Ideas Lab: MEDIA & HEALTH

Tues 21 November 2017 6.30pm – 9pm  | The White House, 11 Princes St, St Kilda VIC 3182

Where do you get your information? Which media outlets do you trust? How can you be certain you are being presented with an accurate representation of the facts?

At the November Global Ideas’ Lab, we investigate and discuss the future of media and how it might affect the health and wellbeing of our communities.

It is well known that the media influences how people perceive the world and can shape global perceptions on issues that directly and indirectly affect health: political instability, war and conflict, epidemics, climate change, and the refugee crisis – just to name a few.

What factors influence whether or not a message is delivered successfully? What strategies can be used to ensure that important messages are effectively delivered? How might we use our own media platforms to communicate effectively?

At this Lab, participants will hear from media industry experts about their successes and failures before breaking into groups to reflect on how they can apply these lessons to their own platforms.

Alma Mistry – broadcast producer who has worked on some of Australia’s most top rating and respected broadcast programs.
Jeff Waters – journalist with over 30 years experience.
Nathan Scolaro – editor at Dumbo Feather.
Amelia Arnold – Regular radio and podcast guest in the areas of mental health and feminist issues.

As always, light refreshments are provided. Special shout out to Dumbo Feather and GILEAD for making this Lab possible.

Global Ideas Lab: Sugar, obesity & policy change

Wed. 26 July 6:30pm – 9:00pm | Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre, 251 Faraday St, Carlton VIC 3053, Carlton, Victoria, Australia 3053

In Australia, more than a quarter of children and two thirds of adults are overweight or obese. And we spend around $4 billion each year treating obesity-related disease.

Sugary drinks contribute significantly to the obesity epidemic. Addressing this remains a major challenge for our government. How might we advocate for better national policies regarding sugary drinks to help prevent obesity?

At Global Ideas’ July Lab, Professor Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, will lead a discussion on the health impacts of sugary drinks and the role of policy in preventing obesity. This will be followed by group workshops to develop advocacy approaches to creating change.

This Lab will focus on Sustainable Development Goal 3.4: By 2030 reduce by one third, premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment. Participants will gain knowledge and skills to work with their local community, advocating for better policies aimed at reducing sugary drink consumption to prevent obesity.

The night includes refreshments, food and ample opportunity to meet like-minded people.

Global Ideas Lab: Community Dinner

Wed. 28 Jun 2017 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm | Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth St Melbourne, VIC 3000

How might we support Australian refugees to thrive, not just survive?

In this intimate Lab, join Global Ideas and Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES) to explore UN Sustainable Development Goal #10: reducing inequality within and among countries.

Over a nourishing meal, discuss how we can improve health and social outcomes for refugees in Australia, exploring the meaning of identity and community with Australian refugees and other diners, and learning first-hand about experiences of resettling in Melbourne.

Peter Johnstone from AMES will kick off the conversation about welcoming refugees into the community, before diners break into small groups to problem solve barriers to settlement, gaps in services, community discrimination and other issues facing refugees.

Global Ideas Lab: The Life Equation – film screening

Thu. 25 May 2017 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm | AMREP Education Centre, Lecture Theatre, 89 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, VIC, 3004

Global Ideas Labs, in partnership with the Burnet Institute, presents a special screening of documentary The Life Equation.

The film examines the cost of health care and the processes and systems that support decision-making when it comes to determining which lives to save. These decisions are often based on on data and information or objective first hand emotional circumstances. The film asks, what if there were an equation for saving the most lives? The Life Equation explores the importance of recognising patients and people as individuals and their right to health.

Joined afterwards for a Q & A with film maker Rob Tinworth.

global ideas lab: health, geography and data

Thu. 27 April 2017 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm | Melbourne University, Frank Tate Spatial Lab, Parkville, VIC 3010

We all know that big data is big business. But it can also mean big impact, especially in global health.

At Global Ideas’ April Lab, find out how we can use data to prevent and reduce disease, and improve the health of people around the world.

Working hands on from an information hub at Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN), this Lab will explore a case study undertaken to examine how urban planning can impact risk factors for chronic disease, in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal #3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.

Organisations and researchers alike record and use different types of data everyday. However these data sources are often not shared with other organisations that may be undertaking similar work, or used to inform the decisions of other industries. AURIN is an example of an existing system that could be used in greater capacity to improve the collection and sharing of data to improve global health.

global ideas lab – achieving gender equality

Thu. 30 March 2017 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm | Ellis Jones, 3A Glasshouse Road, Collingwood, VIC 3066

The UN Sustainable Development Goal #5 is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

But what does it mean to be empowered? Gender equality is not just about women and not just about men. It’s about how identity is expressed, interpreted and acted upon in our society.

At the next Global Ideas Lab, our panel explored ways to harness intersections, interactions and experiences of identity within society to encourage gender equality. How might we harness intersectionality within gender inequality to achieve a common goal?

Following the panel, groups used case studies from the panellists to workshop how we can reframe gendered experiences to achieve more equitable outcomes. Groups discussed how we might work towards SDG #5 for women and girls around the world and understood what it really means to be empowered.

global ideas lab: networking salon

Thu. 9 February 2017 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm | Save the Children Australia – National Office, 33 Lincoln Square South, Carlton, VIC 3053

What inspires you? Where could your career take you in 2017?

At the Networking Salon, Global Ideas invited participants to explore the vast opportunities to create change in global health and development. We heard from inspired and inspiring people as they share stories about what challenges and motivates them; what gets them out of bed each morning.

Our first Lab of 2017 was a great success. We examined models of change and to find your niche in taking action for improving global health. Alongside established and aspiring professionals, we discovered new possibilities to maximise our impact, grow our own skills, and expand our horizons.


Tue. 29 Nov 2016 6pm – 9pm | The Knowledge Market, Shop 8 -10, 892 Bourke St, Docklands

Reports of superbugs are now a regular staple of our everyday news – but is often ignored because it is such an abstract concept to the everyday person.

Fact is that Global Health issues such as resistance to antimicrobial drugs (e.g. bacterial resistance to antibiotics) cause millions of deaths every year.

In this Global Ideas Lab, led by award-winning science author Idan Ben-Barak, we explored how to use the power of scientific writing to encourage more people to take action against global health threats such as superbugs.

You learned about the latest updates in antimicrobial resistance, the writing and editorial process of being a global health writer, and more importantly how to make people care about important issues such as this.

The November lab was generously sponsored by Gilead Sciences

About our speakers 

Idan Ben-Barak

Idan is an award-winning science author with a background in medical science and microbiology and currently working with Jean Hailes for Women’s Health. He has published two books Why Aren’t We Dead Yet? and Small Wonders: how microbes rule our world, both of which are popular science writings aiming at a wide audience. Small Wonders is has been translated into five languages.  Read more about Idan here.

Dr Khai Lin Huang

Khai is an infectious diseases doctor working at Burnet Institute’s Centre for International Health. He has worked in a variety of contexts including remote northern Australia, Sri Lanka, Cameroon and Papua New Guinea. As an infectious disease specialist, Khai has a vested interest in public health and the tough battle against superbugs. Hear Khai speak on the latest updates in the fight against antimicrobial resistance at our lab.

Read more about Khai here.

sustainable cities

Wed 12 October 2016 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM | MGS Architects Pty Ltd, 10-22 Manton Lane Melbourne, VIC

The UN have estimated that 60% of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2030. Although the world’s cities occupy just 3 per cent of the Earth’s land, they actually  account for 60-80% of global energy consumption and 75 per cent of carbon emissions. This urban living is exerting pressure on fresh water supplies, sewage, the living environment, and public health.

To dissect Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals (Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) further, Global Ideas Lab invited Rob McGauran to help lead group discussions focused on the intersection of sustainable development/cities and global health. Rob leads the master planning, design advocacy and urban design disciplines within the Award Winning Practice MGS Architects. His particular areas of interest are around the themes of knowledge citiesinclusive cities, sustainable cities and connected cities and the buildings and programs that support these themes and this is drawn from both the particular and distinctive attributes of and challenges facing Australian Cities.

This Lab, brought to you with the support of our partner Gilead, left participants not only informed how the spaces we live in can impact on our health but also enhanced individual and collective capcity to influence change in creative and transformative ways.

mental health and technology

Wednesday 14 September 2016 | Monash University Clayton Campus – Lecture Theatre S3

At the Global Ideas September Lab event, we explored how technology is changing the face of healthcare.

Attendees were presented with live demonstrations of existing mental health smartphone applications and e-health technologies, followed by a discussion around the role of technology and innovation in improving mental health and wellbeing.

Electronic and mobile health technologies offer innovative approaches to improving access to services and offering ongoing support. This lab informed participants on how new technology can be applied to the mental health field but also inspire people  to tackle global health issues in creative,  transformative ways.

We were joined for light refreshments and live demonstrations from:

David Bakker – MoodMission Founder & MoodPrism Team Member

Ben Fulcher – MICCN SurveyKit

Glenn Melvin – BeyondNow

Lilli Morgan – Smiling Mind

James Stewart – Founder

Bec Martin – Developer Evangelist at Xero

poverty, inc. film screening

Get ready for a for a special Global Ideas Labs event, the screening of 2015 documentary  Poverty, Inc. With 30 film festival honours and 11 awards, this thought-provoking, critically-acclaimed documentary explores the complexities of the industry of charity and how we are contributing to its problems. Drawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, Poverty, Inc. unearths an uncomfortable side of charity we can no longer ignore.

This Lab, co-hosted with the Burnet Institute and brought to you with the support of our major partner Gilead Sciences, will leave you challenged and inspired to reconsider the way we play our role in reducing poverty.

Join us for light refreshments from 6pm before the film for a 6.40pm film start and engaging post-viewing Q&A with the film’s co-producer Mark Weber, where we challenge our perspectives on poverty and re-think how we can contribute to the solution of the problem.

WHEN Monday, 8 August 2016 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (AEST)

WHERE AMREP Lecture theatre – Alfred Hospital Precinct 55 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Vic 3004

changing the conversation: the problem with focusing on ‘problems’

Consider yourself an innovator? An entrepreneur? Health professional? Advocate? Fascinated by policy? Keen to get your hands dirty? Whatever your preferred means of creating change in your community, the language you use matters.

Global Ideas’ fourth Lab of 2016 will equip you with the tools necessary to create a more inclusive world.‘Changing the conversation: The problem with focusing on ‘problems’’ will facilitate a safe space for the exchange of stories and skills, and will offer insight into how people want to be talked with and about in our public discourse.Together we will explore society’s fascination with categories and labels, and how these labels might be damaging to individual health identity.

This Lab, brought to you with the support of our partner Gilead, will leave you challenged and inspired to reconsider the way you create change within your community.

WHEN: Wednesday, 27 July 2016 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

WHERE: Ellis Jones – 3A Glasshouse Road, Collingwood, VIC 3066

global ideas labs: ethics in leadership


Drawing upon ideas raised in contemporary and classical philosophical text, this Lab will stimulate new and adaptive thinking around good governance and ethical decision-making for peace, justice and sustainable development.


Participants will engage in facilitated discussion based on readings provided by the Cranlana Programme. Materials will be emailed to you once you’ve booked your ticket, so please make sure you allow time to read them before the event.


This event is designed for anyone passionate about social justice, and how the wisdom of philosophy can be applied to shaping healthier societies and healthier lives. It is a community engagement event where drinks will be served in a warm and relaxed environment.

When: 6–9pm, Wednesday 8 June 2016

Where: The Cranlana Programme, 62 Clendon Road, Toorak, VIC 3142

A huge thanks to our partners and hosts, The Cranlana Programme, an organisation dedicated to cultivating wisdom in leadership.

Global Ideas partnered with the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival to bring you Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story (2014).


Sophie Lamond lead a post-film discussion on food wastage in Australia. Sophie is the co-founder of the Fair Food Challenge, which uses the power of students and universities to create a fair, healthy and accessible food system. Sophie is a masters students working on corporate social responsibility in food corporations and works on several community food projects.

When: Monday 4 April 2016 from 6.30–8.30pm (AEST)
Where: LongPlay – 318 Saint Georges Road, Fitzroy North, VIC 3068, Australia