Many perspectives exploring one problem.

A cross-pollination of ideas at the edge of understanding.


Part conference. Part festival. All for charity.


15th October, from 9am

Fusion is a new, annual event brought to you by the UoN Philosophy SocietyUoN Services and the University of Newcastle.

Some problems are too tricky, and too interesting, to try to solve on your own.

Each year, we will bring together many speakers from different disciplines and backgrounds to explore one topic in an entertaining and accessible forum, open to students and the general public; as well as academics and specialists in each area.

The event is fully catered. Price includes the whole day, plus morning teabuffet lunch and afternoon tea. You’ll be free to head off to class and return for the talks you’re keen on.

15th October, from 9am


Topic for 2014: Consciousness

Drawing on perspectives from Philosophy of Mind; Artificial Intelligence; Psychology, Meditative traditions and more…

Each year, we will select a charity that we feel is doing their part to solve related problems in a practical way.


Charity for 2014: Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation

All proceeds will go to the Newcastle branch, for their suicide response initiative.

2014 Program


Philosophy of Mind

Emeritus Professor Frank Jackson AO - The Australian National University
FJHead2012i-web-readyProfessor Jackson is responsible for the famous “Mary’s Room” thought experiment; intended to show that qualia, the ‘feely’ aspects of our experience, can’t be explained in purely physical terms. This is sometimes known as The Knowledge Argument.

He was Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University and a regular visiting professor of philosophy at Princeton University.

He has made contributions to philosophy of mind, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language and meta-ethics.

Professor Jackson is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.

Artificial Intelligence

The NUbots - RoboCup World Champions
The University of Newcastle’s NUbots team, part of the Newcastle Robotics Lab, develops software for robotic soccer and competes every year in the international RoboCup competition. They won the world title in both 2006 and 2008.

RoboCup is an international research and education initiative. Its goal is to foster artificial intelligence and robotics research by providing a standard problem where a wide range of technologies and concepts can be integrated and examined in comparison to other teams, including robot vision, robot learning, biped motor control, localisation, world modelling, behaviour, and human-robot interaction.

The ultimate goal of the RoboCup initiative is “By the year 2050, develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots that can win against the human world soccer champion team”.


Dan Fanthorpe - Ashtanga Yoga Newcastle
Dan Fanthorpe has been practising yoga for over 25 years and teaching for sixteen. He is the owner and head yoga instructor at Ashtanga Yoga Newcastle.

Dan is an authorised level two yoga teacher, with a background in classical Hatha yoga, including Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, Meditation and Yoga Therapy. He also teaches workshops and retreats internationally, with one coming up entitled “Consciousness vs. Matter”.

Ashtanga Yoga is a traditional form of yoga based on eight limbs: Yama (moral conduct), Niyama (self observances), Asana (physical posture), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (controlling the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), Samadhi (freedom).

Dan believes that Yoga works on creating a balanced body to live in and a balanced mind to live with.

Cultural Consciousness

Catherine Phoenix - The Wollotuka Institute
Catherine PhoenixCatherine Phoenix is an academic at The Wollotuka Institute.

She has an Aboriginal Studies degree and is presently completing a Master of Philosophy (Education) at The University of Newcastle.

Catherine’s research area of interest is Indigenous specific enabling education. She is a former Yapug student and is the current Yapug Convenor.

Psychology & Cognition

Dr Darren Burke - Evolutionary Cognition Lab, University of Newcastle

Dr Darren Burke is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle. He is an Experimental Psychologist, interested in the evolution of visual, spatial and social abilities.

Dr Burke’s research has spanned a broad spectrum of experimental psychology, united by a focus on why particular mechanisms work the way they do, and how evolution may have produced them.

This has involved comparing psychological mechanisms across species that have faced different evolutionary selection pressures, as well as taking a functional approach to human psychology – asking what particular psychological mechanisms are actually for.

For more information please see his lab webpage: evolutionarycognition.org

Dr Russell Blackford

Russell Blackford-web-219x219Russell Blackford has taught extensively across the philosophy and bioethics curriculum at Monash University, and is now a Conjoint Lecturer at the University of Newcastle.

He has published widely in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and elsewhere.

Russell is a prolific commentator on issues relating to the authority of religion, legal and political freedoms, and the human future.

His recent books include Freedom of Religion and the Secular State (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 50 Great Myths About Atheism (co-authored with Udo Schuklenk; Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), Humanity Enhanced: Genetic Choice and the Challenge for Liberal Democracies (MIT Press, 2014), and Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds (co-edited with Damien Broderick; Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

He is a regular contributor to Free Inquiry and a Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism.

Raising money for mental illness

Headspace: National Youth Mental Health Foundation
All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

Specifically, the suicide response initiative, designed by young people at their Newcastle centre.

Buy tickets

15th October, from 9am

The event is fully catered. Price includes the whole day, plus morning tea, buffet lunch and afternoon tea. You’ll be free to head off to class and return for the talks you’re keen on.

All money raised will be donated to the youth mental health foundation, Headspace, for their Hunter Region suicide response initiative.

Student: So… hang on… I get fed all day AND there’s bonus thought provoking entertainment on tap?!

Socrates: Indeed. And you’ll be giving to a local youth charity while you enjoy the day.

Student: Interlocutastic!

Socrates: Word.

Getting here

Find us on campus

The Brennan Room, Union Shortland
University of Newcastle
Callaghan NSW 2308

With so many students, and such a large campus, parking at the university can be a mission.

We recommend taking public transport, or finding free parking at a nearby train station (eg Waratah Station) and catching a train to Warabrook Station, where a regular shuttle bus can pick you up and drop you off right outside The Brennan Room, Shortland Union building.

Click here for more parking and transport information here.

Click here for more information about the regular shuttle bus. Click here to use the public transport “trip planner”, where you can plan to:

Fusion - The Brennan Room, University of Newcastle, Callaghan

The Brennan Room, Union Shortland
University of Newcastle
Callaghan NSW 2308

Contact Us

Stay in the loop as we make new announcements

Call Tim on 0428 766 286, or email...

13 + 3 =

Get Fusion alerts.

We'll keep you in the loop as we confirm speakers and add bells and whistles to the event!
* = required field

Our proud sponsors and partners

Thanks to everyone involved!
UoN Philosophy Society
The Wollotuka Institute
University of Newcastle
UoN Services

Website by