Ngara Institute

Ngara Institute – the Activists Think Tank

The Ngara Institute is a not-for- profit activist think tank which puts people, communities and the planet before increasingly predatory capitalism. We offer an intellectual and engaging space to critically reflect on how we can achieve a more just, peaceful and sustainable world based on the common good rather than private interest.

Politics in the Pub

Ngara Institute organised in 2016 a monthly ‘Politics in the Pub’ gathering in the Courthouse Pub Mullumbimby.  Each month a new guest speaker is invited. Around 180 people attend and it has become one of the Byron Shires most active regular political events. Visit the Ngara website for the upcoming program.

The Purpose of the institute is to:

  • provide a counter narrative to the views and opinions of Australian neoliberal think tanks;
  • foster critical thinking about local, national, and international issues such as peace, globalisation, diminishing democracy, climate change, financial greed and growing inequality;
  • work alongside other peace and justice organisations for a more equitable, non-violent and compassionate future based on social justice and human rights and pursuit of the common good;
  • assert and support values and practices that enhance the life of all species and ecosystems;
  • learn and apply indigenous world views to all areas of life;
  • articulate and encourage post-carbon- growth scenarios;
  • revitalise local-democratic civic cultures, neighbourliness and cooperative systems of production;
  • inspire and promote viable and workable solutions to the complex challenges we all face.



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Richard Hil: The roots of neo-liberalism. ... Read MoreSee Less

9 months ago

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Thanks to all those of you who sent such kind thoughts in the wake of Ngara’s shutdown. They mean a lot. We would like to think that together, we created a respectful forum for considered discussion of contemporary issues and ideas. We can be justifiably proud of what we achieved.

There is little doubt that the space left by Ngara will be filled by others. It is important, however, to emphasise as clearly as possible that the Ngara Institute has no connection or association whatsoever with any initiative that may arise. Should you hear anything to the contrary, it is simply not the case.

Additionally, the Indigenous language name ‘Ngara’ was gifted to the Institute for the sole use of the Institute. Given that we are now folding, the name ‘Ngara’ may not be used by any future organisation as that would constitute appropriation of Indigenous intellectual property.
... Read MoreSee Less

10 months ago

Thank you, Professor Stuart Rees!

One of my great fears when scribbling my last letter to you, was that I would forget to name one of our Politics in the Pub speakers. Lo and behold, and regrettably, I did just that, neglecting to mention the one and only Professor Stuart Rees. Stuart is not only one of the nicest people you could ever meet, with a legendary sense of humour and more wit than Gough Whitlam, he’s also an avid supporter of Portsmouth Football Club, but I’ve forgiven him for that. Stuart is a leading and widely respected scholar, author and activist. He has devoted much of his life to the struggle against injustice, violence and cruelty. His upcoming book, Cruelty or Humanity Challenges, Opportunities and Responsibilities, is a testament to Stuart’s passion for peace with justice. He has been a strong supporter of Ngara from its inception, and has spoken twice in Mullumbimby. Stuart’s last talk – delivered alongside Henry Reynolds – was truly inspiring. He spoke without notes and delivered a stirring rallying call for human rights and concerted international action to put an end to the terrible cruelties being inflicted upon the Palestinian people. Now; before this begins to sound like an obituary, I want to assure you that Stuart is as energised as ever, taking on injustices when and where he finds them. I wish I had just a fraction of his intelligence and courage. So, without further ado, on behalf of the Ngara Institute, I wish to thank Stuart for all his support and, as Ali G might put it = respect! Apologies for being such a dunderhead in leaving your name off a lengthy list.

Your talks were inspiring.

Thank you again.

Richard Hil
... Read MoreSee Less

10 months ago

Comment on FB

Thanks folks. If anyone would like to see this teacher online, I believe it's here (Ed - send me a PM if I got the wrong person) youtu.be/90EkcTKUmSQ

Video image

BUILDING RESILIENCE IN A TIME OF HYPER-CRISIS - AN INTERVIEW WITH DR CHARLIE BRENNAN AND BRIDGET O'BRIEN by Dr Richard Hil

‘There are untold and often unheralded regenerative initiatives around the globe that concern themselves with food security and community resilience. In this conversation with Dr Charlie Brennan and Bridget O’Brien, I discuss their involvement in regenerative projects in the university town of Ann Arbor in Michigan, USA, Bellingen on the mid-north coast of NSW Australia, and elsewhere. These are places that Charlie and Bridget live and work in, devoting their energies to building networks and alliances that can respond to crisis situations. And right now, as we know, the US, UK and Australia are in the midst of rolling crises seemingly with no predictable end point. Charlie and Bridget talk about how they have built connections in Ann Arbor and other places and what it takes to establish food supply in a time of crisis. I was struck by the passion and commitment shown by Charlie and Bridget, their understanding of the global trends impacting on communities, and their appreciation of how individuals and communities can become more resilient. Their stories are compelling and we need to hear them.’

#climate #community #resilience #mentalhealth #sacredplaces #food
... Read MoreSee Less

10 months ago

Comment on FB

Message from Ngara Institute’s Convenor Dr Richard Hil

I’ve read some interesting commentary in the wake of Ngara’s shutdown. We created a space for serious discussion on the pressing issues of our time. My plea to anyone seeking to occupy this space, and I know of several potential initiatives, is to please avoid at all costs slipping into the dissection of Internet-inspired boutique issues and oddball theories, and instead focus on the big issues – the climate emergency, ecological destruction, inequality, the erosion of democracy, the corrosive effects of corporate capital, militarism etc. If the ‘progressive left’ is to make headway in these turbulent times we then need to gather intersectionally around a shared agenda and not splinter into amorphous groupings. The latter will only ensure the consolidation of corporate power.
... Read MoreSee Less

10 months ago

Comment on FB

Good advice

Wise words Ngara Institute.

Very true

View more comments

SAD NEWS: THE END OF THE NGARA INSTITUTE 

After an exhilarating four and a half years, the Ngara Institute is shutting down. The Management Committee made this decision a week ago, and despite the sadness, it was the right one. What an amazing journey it has been! 
And none of it would have happened without your help and support. You supported Ngara in a multiplicity of ways, and for that we are grateful.  

Our aim was always to create a space for the discussion of progressive ideas and agendas. I think we achieved that, don’t you? I hope you agree that it was all worth it: that we made a small difference to our local community and perhaps to making the world a slightly better place.  

Of all the many highlights - and there are many - I’ll most cherish the memory of Thomas Mayor’s astonishing presentation, especially when he recited, word-for-word, the Uluru Statement of the Heart to a hushed audience. That was a special moment indeed. What I sensed was the deep, unresolved pain and hurt of Australia’s First Nations people as well as the immense dignity and determination to achieve the justice to which they are fully entitled. 

Australia is the sacred land of the First Nations people and until a treaty is drawn up there will be no reconciliation of the nation’s heart, soul and mind. The violent colonial takeover of Country and the continuing oppression of Indigenous people will remain a dark stain on this nation. 
Of all the enduring injustices in Australia, this surely cuts among the deepest. Henry Reynolds, one of Australia’s leading revisionist historians, said as much when he spoke so eloquently at one of our events. 

*********

I’d like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who helped build Ngara’s success – especially to our wonderful volunteers – and the Byron Shire community which turned out regularly in such large numbers. When we planned our first Politics in the Pub – an idea first muted by Hans Lovejoy - I thought we might get 50 people through the doors. In fact, nearly 200 people rocked up. Wow! Clearly, there was a thirst for critical discussion out there, even in nirvana-central Mullum! It was also pleasing that the Ngara brand went a little viral in the region, with other communities setting up their own events. We caused a ripple!

One major thought has guided me through the past four years or so: namely, that bringing people together to discuss critical ideas and making them happen, in whichever way people choose, is a small but vital element in what is a global movement to dismantle and replace the train wreck that is racialized neoliberal capitalism. It’s also a means of building civic connection and enabling people to enjoy each other’s company – something I think most of us value. We engaged our audiences in critiques of neoliberalism, and invited them to consider solutions and alternatives. We argued, debated, and sought common ground. Most of the time, it worked. Sometimes we agreed to differ.

You don’t need me to tell you that globally, we’re entering some very turbulent times. There’s never been a more important time to engage in sense-making conversations and not simply peddle disengaged hope or sink into despair – both are unhelpful. Above all, we need to reconnect with each other, build stronger neighbourhoods and communities, and bolster civic life - away from corrosive hyper-individualism. 

We need more civility, sharing, caring, kindness, compassion, and respectful, supportive communities. It’s by investing in civility, civic life and promoting social power and ecological democracy that we can build intersectional communities capable of withstanding what is to come, and in the process, co-creating a radically different way of life. 
I’ve learned a lot from living in a (relatively) progressive community like Mullumbimby. For the most part it’s been positive. 

That said, I’ve found that there’s often a huge gulf between rhetoric and practice when it comes to building cooperative communities which, I’ve learned, is a lot harder than it sometimes appears. It takes forethought, patience and commitment. It requires a good dose of participatory democracy and sociocracy. None of us have the right answers, but at least we can try and listen to each other rather than simply proselytising. We don’t need gurus and messiahs at this point; we need each other and a renewed sense of common purpose.

Thanks to you all for being part of a community that in various ways sought to make sense of the world around us and perhaps for helping to make the world a slightly better place. I have always appreciated your support.

For the record: here’s a list of speakers, annual lecturers, Activists of the Year award winners, and special events participants/coordinators who have graced Ngara-land over the years. It’s quite a roll call. We all made Ngara happen! The credit goes to you. (The list is in no particular order, and sincere apologies to anyone I may have left out)

PITP Speakers:
Lynn Carsen
Aiden Ricketts
Carol Richards
Kate Veitch
Melisa Lucashenko
Jim Hearn
Anne Manne
Stuart Hill
Pat Ranald
Sue Higginson 
Vinay Orekondy
James Whelan
Andrew Charlton
Petrea King
Kristen Lyons
Joe Camilleri
Jon Crowe
John Pilger
Henry Reynolds
Ian Lowe
Lee Rhiannon
Liz Elliott
Chris Graham
Hans Lovejoy
Alex Mitchell
Margaret Reynolds
John Quiggin
Jenny Hocking 
Shen Narayansamy
Helena Norbett-Hodge
Kerry O’Brien
Rob Watts
Tim Hollo
Gillian Rubinstein
Jeanie Rea
Ben Etherington
Kristen Lyons
Jeremy Taggart
Thomas Mayor 
Nick Rose
Paul Creber
Joel Orchard
Adam Broinowski
Jenny Cargil-Strong
John Shipton
Sasha Mainsbridge
Ciaron O’Reilly
Frank Bonjiorno
Alison Crooks
Marcelle Townsend-Cross
Amber Sercombe
Glenn Woods
Anthony Lowenstein
Tim Cadman
Michelle Maloney
Tyson Yunkaporta
Fiona Charlson
Aimee Maxwell
Steven Blanks
Annual Lecture:
Julian Burnside
Gillian Triggs
Hugh Mackay
Activists of the Year:
Murrawah Johnson
Adrian Burragubba
Knitting Nannas
Annie Kia
Lesley Hughes
Will Steffen

Special Events and Activities:
In conversation: 
John Pilger
Philip Fraser
Book launches: 
Raewyn Connell
Gregory Smith
Ross Caputi
Richard Hil
Workshop:
Charlie Brennan and Bridgette O’Brien, ‘Healing Self, Healing Land’
Richard Hil, ‘Aggressive war, violence, trauma: The Case of Fallujah’
And, our MCs:
Sally Packshaw
Pratima Mumford
Marcelle Townsend-Cross
Paul Bibby
Jeni Caffin
Mark Swivel
Jean Renouf
And last, but certainly not least:
Genevieve Lee et al - Unfu**k the World
Genevieve Lee and PJ - Beyond the Pub
A cast of dozens - Charter of Human Rights

Warmest wishes,

Dr Richard Hil
Convenor, Ngara Institute

SAD NEWS: THE END OF THE NGARA INSTITUTE

After an exhilarating four and a half years, the Ngara Institute is shutting down. The Management Committee made this decision a week ago, and despite the sadness, it was the right one. What an amazing journey it has been!
And none of it would have happened without your help and support. You supported Ngara in a multiplicity of ways, and for that we are grateful.

Our aim was always to create a space for the discussion of progressive ideas and agendas. I think we achieved that, don’t you? I hope you agree that it was all worth it: that we made a small difference to our local community and perhaps to making the world a slightly better place.

Of all the many highlights - and there are many - I’ll most cherish the memory of Thomas Mayor’s astonishing presentation, especially when he recited, word-for-word, the Uluru Statement of the Heart to a hushed audience. That was a special moment indeed. What I sensed was the deep, unresolved pain and hurt of Australia’s First Nations people as well as the immense dignity and determination to achieve the justice to which they are fully entitled.

Australia is the sacred land of the First Nations people and until a treaty is drawn up there will be no reconciliation of the nation’s heart, soul and mind. The violent colonial takeover of Country and the continuing oppression of Indigenous people will remain a dark stain on this nation.
Of all the enduring injustices in Australia, this surely cuts among the deepest. Henry Reynolds, one of Australia’s leading revisionist historians, said as much when he spoke so eloquently at one of our events.

*********

I’d like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who helped build Ngara’s success – especially to our wonderful volunteers – and the Byron Shire community which turned out regularly in such large numbers. When we planned our first Politics in the Pub – an idea first muted by Hans Lovejoy - I thought we might get 50 people through the doors. In fact, nearly 200 people rocked up. Wow! Clearly, there was a thirst for critical discussion out there, even in nirvana-central Mullum! It was also pleasing that the Ngara brand went a little viral in the region, with other communities setting up their own events. We caused a ripple!

One major thought has guided me through the past four years or so: namely, that bringing people together to discuss critical ideas and making them happen, in whichever way people choose, is a small but vital element in what is a global movement to dismantle and replace the train wreck that is racialized neoliberal capitalism. It’s also a means of building civic connection and enabling people to enjoy each other’s company – something I think most of us value. We engaged our audiences in critiques of neoliberalism, and invited them to consider solutions and alternatives. We argued, debated, and sought common ground. Most of the time, it worked. Sometimes we agreed to differ.

You don’t need me to tell you that globally, we’re entering some very turbulent times. There’s never been a more important time to engage in sense-making conversations and not simply peddle disengaged hope or sink into despair – both are unhelpful. Above all, we need to reconnect with each other, build stronger neighbourhoods and communities, and bolster civic life - away from corrosive hyper-individualism.

We need more civility, sharing, caring, kindness, compassion, and respectful, supportive communities. It’s by investing in civility, civic life and promoting social power and ecological democracy that we can build intersectional communities capable of withstanding what is to come, and in the process, co-creating a radically different way of life.
I’ve learned a lot from living in a (relatively) progressive community like Mullumbimby. For the most part it’s been positive.

That said, I’ve found that there’s often a huge gulf between rhetoric and practice when it comes to building cooperative communities which, I’ve learned, is a lot harder than it sometimes appears. It takes forethought, patience and commitment. It requires a good dose of participatory democracy and sociocracy. None of us have the right answers, but at least we can try and listen to each other rather than simply proselytising. We don’t need gurus and messiahs at this point; we need each other and a renewed sense of common purpose.

Thanks to you all for being part of a community that in various ways sought to make sense of the world around us and perhaps for helping to make the world a slightly better place. I have always appreciated your support.

For the record: here’s a list of speakers, annual lecturers, Activists of the Year award winners, and special events participants/coordinators who have graced Ngara-land over the years. It’s quite a roll call. We all made Ngara happen! The credit goes to you. (The list is in no particular order, and sincere apologies to anyone I may have left out)

PITP Speakers:
Lynn Carsen
Aiden Ricketts
Carol Richards
Kate Veitch
Melisa Lucashenko
Jim Hearn
Anne Manne
Stuart Hill
Pat Ranald
Sue Higginson
Vinay Orekondy
James Whelan
Andrew Charlton
Petrea King
Kristen Lyons
Joe Camilleri
Jon Crowe
John Pilger
Henry Reynolds
Ian Lowe
Lee Rhiannon
Liz Elliott
Chris Graham
Hans Lovejoy
Alex Mitchell
Margaret Reynolds
John Quiggin
Jenny Hocking
Shen Narayansamy
Helena Norbett-Hodge
Kerry O’Brien
Rob Watts
Tim Hollo
Gillian Rubinstein
Jeanie Rea
Ben Etherington
Kristen Lyons
Jeremy Taggart
Thomas Mayor
Nick Rose
Paul Creber
Joel Orchard
Adam Broinowski
Jenny Cargil-Strong
John Shipton
Sasha Mainsbridge
Ciaron O’Reilly
Frank Bonjiorno
Alison Crooks
Marcelle Townsend-Cross
Amber Sercombe
Glenn Woods
Anthony Lowenstein
Tim Cadman
Michelle Maloney
Tyson Yunkaporta
Fiona Charlson
Aimee Maxwell
Steven Blanks
Annual Lecture:
Julian Burnside
Gillian Triggs
Hugh Mackay
Activists of the Year:
Murrawah Johnson
Adrian Burragubba
Knitting Nannas
Annie Kia
Lesley Hughes
Will Steffen

Special Events and Activities:
In conversation:
John Pilger
Philip Fraser
Book launches:
Raewyn Connell
Gregory Smith
Ross Caputi
Richard Hil
Workshop:
Charlie Brennan and Bridgette O’Brien, ‘Healing Self, Healing Land’
Richard Hil, ‘Aggressive war, violence, trauma: The Case of Fallujah’
And, our MCs:
Sally Packshaw
Pratima Mumford
Marcelle Townsend-Cross
Paul Bibby
Jeni Caffin
Mark Swivel
Jean Renouf
And last, but certainly not least:
Genevieve Lee et al - Unfu**k the World
Genevieve Lee and PJ - Beyond the Pub
A cast of dozens - Charter of Human Rights

Warmest wishes,

Dr Richard Hil
Convenor, Ngara Institute
... Read MoreSee Less

10 months ago

Comment on FB

Very sad news Richard. We thank you & the Committee for so many inspiring & thought provoking talks & discussions. We have loved everyone. Yes indeed...You dun good! 💚🌈😍

Thank you so much Richard and the whole team for co-creating and holding such an amazing space for so long. Congratulations on the last four and a half years, you have left a lasting imprint on all our hearts and minds. <3 🌏

Ngara / Politics in the Pub was a great team to be part of...thanks for all the intelligent fun. We did good! 👏

Brilliant organisation. Thanks for your insight and commitment. So sorry to lose such a wonderful voice in Oz.

So sad to hear - such an important voice in the community - especially in our current world!! - amazingly excellent work by all involved - sad it won't continue !!

Thank you Richard and the Ngara team for these thought provoking get togethers and inspiring speakers. We will miss them sorely. Bonny and Graham

Whilst the " news" of NGARA's demise is a blow to fighting Neo Liberalism, it marks a new chapter and opening for activists coming together in the ongoing political struggle. Thank you Richard and the organising committee for your commitment and unrelenting efforts for providing different perspectives on Neo Liberalism.

Dear Richard and the NGARA team - you deserve a long round of applause for so many stimulating and thought provoking evenings. This is going to leave a big void in the life of our community. 🙏

Sad news indeed. Thank you Richard and the team for your tireless commitment over the years. Politics in The Pub will be sorely missed. 🙏

well done for so many great events and ideas Richard.

So sorry to hear this news. And a big thank you for all you have done in the last years. You will be missed.

Thank you for your priceless contribution to Australian life and thought. I salute you.

An amazing contribution to the present and future - thanks to all involved 🙏🏻

Congratulations! I was looking forward to thoughtful dialogue when we could all gather again. What a wonderful achievement..

Sad to hear sounds like it went in to do some great things - can’t believe it was so long ago

Ngara has been a treasure: an amazing platform for intellectual, social political and educational enrichment, adding much depth and spirit to thought on deep things, in this blessed region, and as it turns out, globally (online). Thank you Richard and the host of great people involved. Hard work, great discussions, great speakers, stimulating nights. It has created a great model with learning curves that others could think about, and has been a fabulous initiative to learn from and take up in other less fortunate and articulate but no less significant places, or simply for others to accept the baton from! As so many elders and thinkers reach their true wisdom age, and do not hold back, after this experience I look forward to more such initiatives, arising from the hearts here, which play a precious role in empowering people, furthering skills, deepen understanding, open thinking ~ as well as the obvious: educate, stimulate and inspire.

Thank you for your commitment these past years Ngara Institute. 🙏🏼💛🌿

Sorry to see this end. Thank you so much for your contribution to our community 🙌🏾🙌🏽🙌🏻🙌🏼

This news is too sad for words... 😔😟😞

Thank you for providing this space 🌺

Such an honour to be part of this excellent thing!!! Maintain the rage all! Xx

Great work Ngara Institute!

Thank you for everything you did and do to make a difference. You did so bravo you et al involved 😊

Thank you Richard. ❤️

Nagar will be missed.

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PLEASE NOTE: Unfortunately this evenings event with Catherine Ingram is unable to run as scheduled. We acknowledge any disappointment caused. Warmest, Ngara Institute.

PLEASE NOTE: Unfortunately this evening's event with Catherine Ingram is unable to run as scheduled. We acknowledge any disappointment caused. Warmest, Ngara Institute. ... Read MoreSee Less

10 months ago

Photo by Hello Im Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🎞 on Unsplash ... Read MoreSee Less

10 months ago

Listen to conversations with experts on a variety of topics related to children’s social and emotional wellbeing. New conversations released fortnightly.

In this talk below it asks us to try looking at things through  child’s eyes to see things from their perspective. This may help you to understand some of their reactions and behaviours. It may also assist connecting and supporting them.

https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/podcast/try-looking-at-things-through-your-childs-eyes/https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/podcast/

#mentalhealth #resilientcommunities #kidshealth #kidsandfamilies

Listen to conversations with experts on a variety of topics related to children’s social and emotional wellbeing. New conversations released fortnightly.

In this talk below it asks us to try looking at things through child’s eyes to see things from their perspective. This may help you to understand some of their reactions and behaviours. It may also assist connecting and supporting them.

emergingminds.com.au/resources/podcast/try-looking-at-things-through-your-childs-eyes/https://eme...

#mentalhealth #resilientcommunities #kidshealth #kidsandfamilies
... Read MoreSee Less

10 months ago

The Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere:
- Responding to the human predicament.
- Reducing the threat of a shattering collapse of civilization.

The goal of the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB) is to create a platform to help global civil society address the interconnections among the greatest threats to human well-being: climate disruption, loss of biodiversity (and thus ecosystem services), land-use change and resulting degradation, global toxification, ocean acidification, decay of the epidemiological environment, an economic system based on growth, pressure from increasing population, and resource wars (which could go nuclear). The manifestation of these interactions is often referred to as “the human predicament.”

Check MAHB out for a wealth of articles, resources and perspectives. https://mahb.stanford.edu/

The Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere:
- Responding to the human predicament.
- Reducing the threat of a shattering collapse of civilization.

The goal of the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB) is to create a platform to help global civil society address the interconnections among the greatest threats to human well-being: climate disruption, loss of biodiversity (and thus ecosystem services), land-use change and resulting degradation, global toxification, ocean acidification, decay of the epidemiological environment, an economic system based on growth, pressure from increasing population, and resource wars (which could go nuclear). The manifestation of these interactions is often referred to as “the human predicament.”

Check MAHB out for a wealth of articles, resources and perspectives. mahb.stanford.edu/
... Read MoreSee Less

10 months ago

... Read MoreSee Less

10 months ago

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