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Lovely gathering of friends, colleagues and students today at St James Ethics centre in Sydney CBD. The centre’s director, Dr Simon Longstaff, talked about the importance of ethics in helping us understand and negotiate complex relationships in contemporary society, including the bond between professions and social values. Professor Andy Vann, Vice Chancellor of Charles Sturt University, was generous in his comments about the book, including the autobiographical approach. I particularly liked his explanation that CSU’s mission to be a university of (and for)  the professions requires that we educate students to lead and develop their fields, not merely reproduce current practice. Both agreed the book is timely and welcomed a new approach to these issues, given the inadequacies of the old ones. But going back further, and deeper, Andy referred to the Wiradjiri notion of ‘yindyamarra winhanga-nha’ (‘the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in’). This requires humility and self-awareness, the notions I see as central to depth ethics.

Writing a book, as I said at the do, involves long periods of isolation, boredom, despair and exhaustion, so it was really moving to celebrate its release into the world with fellow dreamers and writers as well as academics and students. As well as the kind introduction by the VC, I was delighted that Prof Jim McNamara from UTS, Julian Kenney from the PRIA, and the Australian Council’s new Chair of Literature, Charlotte Wood, could attend. Colleagues, doctoral students and friends came from Brisbane, Wollongong, Bathurst, Katoomba and Sydney for the event – so grateful that they made the effort to share this moment.

Dr Simon Longstaff, JO Fawkes, Prof. Andy  Vann

Dr Simon Longstaff, Jo Fawkes, Prof. Andy Vann

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