A Night of Better Conversation: Disagreement

How can learning the art of disagreement help us talk to our relatives this Christmas without setting fire to the dinner table? 

Once we prized the free debate of ideas, but now refusing to have your mind changed by someone's argument seems to be a badge of honour. More than that, too often it isn't enough to believe someone is wrong, we need to label them as being a bad person. This is true whether we're talking about the state of the world or our favourite TV shows. It's not just disagreeable ideas we despise, but the person wielding them. It's time for a crash course in making conflict work for everyone. 

The night will be broken into theory and practice. You will begin by learning a specific technique for better conversation and then invited to practice the technique with other people. As we explore the art, we'll consider whether we have all been radicalised by contemporary culture. Have we lost the art of empathy? Should we be striving to understand someone whose ideas appear repugnant? How do we change someone's mind (and should we even try)?

A Night of Better Conversation is a chance to engage with minds moulded by forces different to our own, and to go beyond our comfort zone by taking risks in what we are willing to share.

Join us at Hotel Esplanade for an evening of meaningful conversation, as we explore and discuss the current state of connection.  


6.30 pm     Bar opens in Gershwin Room
7.00 pm     Welcome & Introduction
7.15 pm      Technique 1 & conversation
7.45 pm      Technique 2 & conversation
8.15 pm      Technique 3 & conversation
9.00 pm     Event Concludes, Bar Open for Continued Conversation

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'I dislike arguments of any kind. They are always vulgar and often convincing.'

– Oscar Wilde


Myke Bartlett is a journalist, writer and teacher. He joined the School of Life Australia as a founding faculty member in 2013. Since then, he has taught and devised a range of sessions and classes, mostly focused on the art of conversation. He has written for some of Australia's most respected cultural publications and was the arts editor at The Weekly Review for the best part of a decade. As a journalist, he has spoken to some of the world's most interesting people and does his best to find something interesting to talk about with everyone else. Despite years of intensive study, he is still baffled by small talk.

Event Partner

This event is proudly presented in partnership with Hotel Esplanade.


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The Esplanade and The School of Life have a commitment to providing enlightened hospitality to its customers. Our shared mission is to create events and environments where meaningful connections can flourish.


Our lives are so often filled with superficial talk, from office chitchat to commentaries on last night's television. How can we have conversations that inspire us to think in new ways, that stimulate our curiosity and that prompt us to say things we've never said before?

A Night of Better Conversation has been designed to help us enjoy rich and memorable conversations about things that really matter in life, inspired by the ideas of great thinkers and philosophers.

This interactive and social evening is split in to equal parts facilitated and presented content and group conversation. Participants will be encouraged to meet and converse with as many different people as they can to explore and interact a diverse range of ideas and ways of thinking.

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A Night of Better Conversation: Disagreement



Dates TBA


Full price: $45
Concession: $36
+ booking fee

Health Care Card, Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and current Student Cards.

Please note that we are unable to offer refunds or transfers with less than 10 days cancellation notice before the original class date. If you require a refund please contact us as per below.

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Email: enquiries@theschooloflife.com.au

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