Humanities 21 Corporate Programme: Extending Horizons 

The Extending Horizons series provides insight into contemporary issues through the lenses of history and philosophy. Talks are led by some of Melbourne’s leading academics and encourage the development of critical thinking skills.

Talks take place on client premises at a time they choose. Typically, talks consist of a forty-minute presentation followed by twenty minutes of questions and discussion. This format is suitable for up to thirty people, and lectures for larger groups can also be arranged.

For a full pdf version of the Extending Horizons programme, including all speakers and topics, contact our General Manager Maeve, on [email protected] or 0417 464 001.


Why Extend Horizons?

When senior executives are asked what capabilities they would most like to see their staff develop, the answer is seldom specific knowledge from a conventional training course. More often, they seek cognitive skills such as the ability to tackle questions they have never seen before, test hypotheses critically, and develop solutions based on well- articulated logic and analysis.

Talks within the Extending Horizons series expose staff to unusual situations and ideas, which encourage them to think through questions for which there are no clear answers.  This kind of critical thinking helps to develop perceptive and creative individuals, able to think laterally and plan strategically. These skills can be applied to many kinds of work, and are becoming more valuable as job requirements change rapidly.


Booking Extending Horizons

In order to ensure availability of our speakers, we encourage clients to select a series of four or more talks to be held at defined times throughout the year. A series of four talks costs $5,000, and individual talks can be purchased for $1,250.

To book, contact our general manager Maeve by email at [email protected], or call 0417 464 001.


Becoming a Corporate Member

Corporate members of Humanities 21 receive a discount on the Extending Horizons series and their logo is featured on our website, in our newsletter, and in other promotional materials. Please enquire for further information.


For a full pdf version of the Extending Horizons programme, including all speakers and topics, contact our General Manager Maeve, on [email protected] or 0417 464 001.


Feedback from Humanities 21’s corporate clients about the Extending Horizons programme:

‘The Humanities 21 speakers are true experts in their fields. Tapping into this expertise on a topic outside the ordinary realms of business is intellectually invigorating.  For a firm full of curious people, Humanities 21 talks are like a theme park full of unexpected thrills.’ – Management Consultant, The Boston Consulting Group.

   ‘PEXA’s lunchtime sessions with Humanities 21 have been critical to helping our employees think and reflect about things other than our day-to-day work.  It’s fantastic hearing from academics who are highly eminent in their field; you get to hear from real experts!’Chief Executive, Property Exchange Australia.

 ‘Humanities 21 has provided us with a broad range of speakers for lunchtime talks. We invite staff from all corners of our firm on a purely voluntary basis, and the talks have been very well attended and received at all levels. Our people often ask when the next one will be held. Humanities 21 talks break down barriers, stimulate discussion, encourage broad thinking, and are a welcome change to our usual narrow diet. The speakers are skilled at talking engagingly about their subjects to a diverse group of lay people.’Partner, Ashurst Australia.  

    ‘Humanities 21’s professional series engrosses audiences, providing fresh insight into contemporary business issues.’ Director, Sterling Equity.

‘It gave me a great insight into the French Revolution and the correlations between historic events and current corporate life.’ – Solicitor, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

      ‘As a client-driven firm, it is critical to Corrs that our lawyers have a broad perspective and are well-rounded people.  We have worked with Humanities 21 for a number of years and our lawyers value the opportunity to learn about topics and areas that provide them with current or historical context, and extend their views beyond their areas of specialised practice.’Partner and CEO, Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

      ‘We always try to encourage our staff to think differently and to bring different experiences that bear on client problems. Humanities 21 talks are a great way to help them do that.’     – Senior Vice President, The Boston Consulting Group.


Topics and speakers in the Extending Horizons programme are:



Abraham Lincoln: Developing Executive Power

                    Associate Professor Timothy Lynch

Testosterone Rex: Death of a Legend

                    Professor Cordelia Fine

Julius Caesar and the Power of Image

                    Dr Rhiannon Evans

Cleopatra and Other Women Who Led Rome

                    Dr Rhiannon Evans

The Greatness of George Washington and Other Myths: The Symbolic Power of Leadership

                    Dr Matthew Laing

Ten Outrageous Leaders

                    Dr Frederick Vervaert

President Trump and Asia’s Changing Geopolitics

                    Professor Nick Bisley

Machiavelli’s Ethics and the Medici Banking Empire

                    Associate Professor Peter Howard

Donald Trump, Populism, and the West

                    Dr Matthew Laing


Great Women       

Women in Australian History

                    Professor Joy Damousi

Warrior Queens, Philosophers, and Other Women in Ancient Greece

                    Dr James H.K.O. Chong-Gossard

Leading Women on Shakespeare’s All-Male Stage

                    Dr David McInnis


Managing Change

The French Revolution: Mismanaging Change

                    Professor Peter McPhee

Crossroads of Civilisations

                    Dr Steven Curry

Why Reagan and Carter Couldn’t: Leading Reform in Times of Change

                    Dr Matthew Laing

How the Roman Army Learned from Their Campaigns

                    Dr Frederick Vervaert

Implementing the Melbourne Model

                    Professor Peter McPhee

Change and Leadership in Shakespeare

                    Dr David McInnis

Managing Change in the Medieval World: Saints, Sinners, and Impossible Ideals

                    Professor Constant Mews


History of Melbourne

A City Remade: The Economic, Cultural, and Demographic Transformation of Inner Melbourne

                    Associate Professor Seamus O’Hanlon

Language and Power in Melbourne: Then and Now

                    Dr Nadia Rhook

History of the Book Trade in Melbourne

                    Dr Stuart Kells

History and Future of Death in Melbourne

                    Hannah Gould

There Goes the Neighbourhood: The Changing History of Suburban Melbourne

                    Dr Andrew Lemon

History of Australian Rules Football

                    Professor Joy Damousi

Colonial Australian Gothic Fiction

                    Professor Ken Gelder



What Good is Free Speech?

                    Bob Simpson

Taking Action on Climate Change

                    Dr Holly Lawford-Smith

Complicity and Collaboration: Poland and France

                    Dr Daniella Doron

Disentangling the Drone Debate

                    Professor Rob Sparrow

What’s Wrong with Unearned Income?

                    Dr Daniel Halliday

The Death Penalty

                    Julian McMahon

Criminal Punishment and Luck

                    Dr Holly Lawford-Smith

Bearing Witness to Trauma and Mass Atrocities

                    Dr Noah Shenker

The Concentration Camp Universe

                    Dr Daniella Doron

Private Schools, Nuclear Weapons, and SUVs: Wasteful Competition and the Problem of Arms Races

                    Dr Daniel Halliday


Indigenous History and Culture                                       

What’s the Problem? Attributing Authorship in Australian Art

                    Associate Professor Robyn Sloggett

The Australian Paleodiet: 50,000 Years in the Making

                    Dr Jillian Garvey

History Writ in Stone: Stories from Stone Age Tools

                    Dr Caroline Spry

The Art of Healing: Bush Medicine and Contemporary Art

                    Dr Jacqueline Healy


General Interest                                                        

As Luck Would Have It: Discovery in the Digital Age

                    Professor Deb Verhoeven

Finding Meaning in an Ocean of Data

                    Professor Greg Restall

Trust in Public and Private Life

                    Dr Karen Jones

Tomb of the Diver

                    Dr Gillian Shepherd

Grief and Stoicism

                    Professor Dan Russell

Shame and Honour: Homer’s Iliad in the 21st Century

                    Jeff Richardson

A Study in Corporate Growth: the Story of Penguin Books

                    Dr Stuart Kells

Life, Law, and Desire: Buddhism in Contemporary Life

                    Dr Lewis Mayo

History, Governance, and the Culture of Japan

                    Dr Carolyn Stevens