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Event Details

The Fading Dream

24 August 2024
3.30pm – 4.30pm AEST

Richard Holden | John N. Friedman

Economist John N. Friedman has made a career researching the causes of inequality and its long-term consequences for children in the US. His findings are grim. Social mobility is in sharp decline. Where you live and go to school increasingly determines your success and future. Joining fellow economist, Richard Holden, Friedman will explore how policy can harness schools, neighbourhoods, universities, and social capital to reverse this trend, and revive a fading “American Dream” of progress and social mobility. Explore what this could mean in a country like Australia.

This session is presented as part of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, and supported by UNSW Sydney.


UNSW Sydney is the exclusive university sponsor and proud Principal Partner of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Explore more events featuring UNSW academics and researchers here



Single Tickets
Standard – $35 
Concession – $32 
Youth – $30 

Plus booking fee.

A multipack consists of three or more tickets to different FODI talks. After you have selected three or more tickets to different paid talks*, you may also add additional individual paid and free tickets to your order. Purchasing a multipack will provide a 15% discount across your entire cart (discount applied at check out).  

*Free sessions are not included in the three different sessions needed to create a multipack. No concession pricing is available for multipacks, and booking fees apply.  

For more information, head here


This event will take place live at Carriageworks


Wheelchair Accessible
Carriageworks has a wheelchair ramp and level access at all entrances. There is level access and accessible seating available in all venues along with multiple accessible toilets. Accessible parking is available at the end of Carriageworks Way, with entry via 229 Wilson Street. The closest train station with wheelchair access across all platforms is Redfern Station which recently underwent upgrades to improve accessibility.

Access Services
For all access services, please contact the Festival of Dangerous Ideas directly at


Carriageworks is easily accessible via public transport. It is an eight-minute walk from Redfern Station, a 10-minute walk from Macdonaldtown Station or 15-minute walk from Newtown Station along with numerous bus routes available. For trip planning, maps and ticket info, visit or call 131 500.

Limited on-site (with entry via 229 Wilson Street) and street parking is available. For additional transport information visit the Carriageworks website.


Festival of Dangerous Ideas 
For all event enquiries, please email or visit here.

UNSW Centre for Ideas
For all other enquiries, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9065 0485. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9065 0485. Internet relay users, visit, then ask for 02 9065 0485. 

Headshot of richard holden

Richard Holden

Richard Holden is professor of economics at UNSW Business School, and President of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He received a PhD from Harvard University and was a faculty member at MIT and the University of Chicago before returning to Australia. He has published in leading journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Review of Economic Studies, and Nature. His popular writings have appeared in outlets such as The New York Times, Australian Financial Review, The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald. He is currently a regular columnist for the Australian Financial Review. He is a fellow of the Econometric Society, of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and of the Royal Society of New South Wales. His most recent book is Money in the 21st Century: Cheap, Mobile, Digital. 

Headshot of John Friedman

John Friedman

John N. Friedman is the Briger Family Distinguished Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs at Brown University, as well as a founding co-Director of Opportunity Insights. His work uses big data to study the causes and consequences of inequality for kids, as well as policies to improve opportunity for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. His work has appeared in top academic journals as well as in major media outlets, has been cited by President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union Address, and has shaped policies at the federal, state, and local level. Most recently, John and his colleagues at Opportunity Insights have published work showing that the key to greater access and mobility within America’s most selective universities schools lies within their admissions process. He worked as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the National Economic Council in the White House. He is also a Research Associate at NBER and Co-Editor at the flagship journal in the profession, the American Economic Review. He currently serves as Chair of the Brown University Economics Department and is a member of the Treasury Advisory Council on Racial Equity (TACRE). 

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