Controversially jailed journalist to act on issues of integrity

Award-winning journalist and free speech advocate Peter Greste is set to feature in a “realistic and comedic dramatisation of the darker side of academia”.

Controversially arrested and imprisoned in Egypt in 2013, Professor Greste is now employed at The University of Queensland and will appear alongside other prominent UQ staff members in the play Purely Academic on 24 July.

Playwright Professor David Abramson (pictured below) said Greste, the UNESCO Chair of Journalism and Communication at UQ, would play the role of an academic conflicted by ethics.

“The thing about academia is the level of intelligence is generally high across the board, and when that is used in a negative manner, it can be a terrifying reflection of human nature,” Professor Abramson said.

Purely Academic aims to promote honest discussion about professional ethics and practices in contemporary academia.

“At the heart of the story is a researcher who rises rapidly through the ranks and is prepared to walk over anyone and anything that stands in his way.

“There are broader questions posed about how we evaluate academic output and whether we are encouraging people to adapt their behaviour to exploit rankings and metrics.”

Among others stepping on to the stage for Purely Academic will be UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Joanne Wright and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Training) Professor Alastair McEwan.

Providing a comedic twist, senior-ranking Professor McEwan will play a PhD student in the play who has only one speaking line and is sent to fetch coffee.

The performance of Purely Academic is set to coincide with a program of events at UQ focused on research integrity.

Renowned American research ethics expert Professor Michael Kalichman will deliver a public lecture - Rigor and reproducibility: Why can’t we do it better? - on Tuesday, July 23.

Co-founder and director of the Centre for Ethics in Science and Technology , Professor Kalichman has taught research ethics around the world for more than 25 years.

Tickets are now available online to both Professor Kalichman’s lecture and the performance of Purely Academic .

Drinks and canapes will be served at both events.

Read more on UQ Contact Magazine.

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