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Raising The Bar Is Virtually Back

While pubs and watering holes begin to open, the University of Auckland is taking its Raising the Bar series online to safely reach bigger crowds.

‘Raising the Bar – Home Edition’ is a live, refreshed series of talks featuring some of the most popular speakers from previous years, with space for up to 500 people to log-on.

Six academics will give six talks over six weeks, including Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles on her research into bioluminescence superbugs, and Professor Olaf Diegel on the untapped potential of 3D printing.

Raising the Bar would usually fill pubs and bars across Auckland as the public cram shoulder-to-shoulder to hear University of Auckland academics talk about research breakthroughs, issues and how the world is changing.

With this year’s physical event cancelled, the best-of zoom series promises something for everyone from big bangs and impact investing to metaphors for working from home.

Talks will take place every Wednesday, kicking off on May 20 with Professor Tracey McIntosh imagining a world without prisons. Tracey (Tūhoe) is a Professor of Indigenous Studies and Co-Head of Te Wānanga o Waipapa (School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies).

“New Zealand has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the developed world and in New Zealand, mass incarceration is Māori incarceration. This talk will draw strongly on the experience and expertise of incarcerated people and will begin a discussion on what strategies we need to support decarceration strategies,” Professor McIntosh says.

Speakers will give their talks twice a day, so if you prefer a coffee with your conversation there’s an 8am session, or an 8pm. Registrations are essential at

The full line up is:

May 20: Imagining a world without prisons.
Tracey McIntosh, Professor of Indigenous Studies

May 27: From glowing grubs to superbugs: the quest for new medicines.
Siouxsie Wiles, Associate Professor of Molecular Medicine and Pathology

June 3: 3D printing the future.
Olaf Diegel, Professor of Mechanical Engineering

June 10: Metaphors-in-use: working from home is like ….
Darl Kolb, Professor of Connectivity, Graduate School of Management, Business School

June 17: Simple questions, some with simple answers: Big bangs and black holes.
Richard Easther, Professor and Head of Department of Physics

June 24: Why does impact investing matter? Can you invest in positive change and receive financial returns?
Dr Deb Shepherd and Dr Jamie Newth, Business School

The Raising the Bar concept was started by a group of students in New York who wanted to bring the city’s brightest minds out of lecture halls and into neighbourhood bars, adding knowledge and better conversation to people’s nightlife. Raising the Bar was introduced to Auckland four years ago and so far more than 60 of our brightest minds have given public talks in neighbourhood bars.

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