It’s a question as old as time itself. What matters the most in life: brains or beauty? In HASS, we deal in both: philosophy and art, ethics and music, education and poetry, intellectual endeavour and aesthetics. What happens when we ask our researchers to argue for one over the other? Join us for a humorous debate that also showcases the breadth of talent and inquiry in our wonderful Faculty.

Great HASS Debate – Panellist bios

For our Beauty team, we have:

Team Captain Dr Ted Nannicelli is an expert in aesthetics and Director of Teaching & Learning in the School of Communication and Arts where he works on questions about the various interaction between cognition, emotion, aesthetic appreciation. 

Dane Lam is an internationally acclaimed conductor who conducts the UQ Symphony Orchestra. Previously based in London, Dane returned to Australia early in 2020 and has since led the orchestral revival in Australia following the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Dr Paolo Magagnoli is an art historian with expertise in the history of photography, artists’ cinema, and video. His research interests include the aesthetics and politics of documentary and the role that visual culture has played in advancing social and environmental justice movements in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. 

And for Brains, we have:

Team Captain Professor Cameron Parsell is an ARC Future Fellow and Social Scientist whose primary area of research is poverty, homelessness, social services, and charity aimed at addressing social disadvantage. Cameron's research seeks to build an evidence base about what systems and societal changes are required to prevent poverty, and in turn, break the cycle of homelessness.

Associate Professor Sandra Phillips is an expert in Indigenous Literature and Publishing and secured Ellen van Neerven as UQ’s inaugural First Nations Writer-in-Residence. In her leadership role as Associate Dean (Indigenous Engagement), Sandra works strategically and collaboratively to ensure greater inclusion of Indigenous peoples and knowledges across the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Professor Deborah Brown is an expert in philosophy within the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry and Director of the Critical Thinking Project. Deb specialises in Early Modern Philosophy, Metaphysics, and the Philosophy of Mind. She is currently leading an ARC Discovery Project titled Toward Closure on the Animal Pain Debate, which she is sorry to say remains open. She thinks that humour is just philosophy on speed; both are designed to mess with your head.

Who should attend

All welcome! Register here.


Viewpoint (Building 33)
The University of Queensland
St Lucia QLD 4072

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University of Queensland, St. Lucia
ViewPoint (33)