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Event Details

Modern Love: Australian Museum x Vivid Ideas

16 June 2022
6.30pm – 7.45pm AEST
Hintze Hall, Australian Museum
This event has ended

Jennifer Pinkerton | Rob Brooks | Jessie Tu

Love, dating and sex are changing. Searching for a soulmate is tricky and finding solitude can be just as elusive. This probing talk covers the whole gamut of modern love – from hard and fast hook-ups to lonely hearts, sex-tech and even climate change stress. 

Jennifer Pinkerton guides us into the world of intimacy amongst millennials and Generation Z. Her book Heartland blends reportage, memoir and extensive research. Informed by interviews with more than 100 people under 40 years of age – from transgender Aboriginal Sistagirls in the Tiwi Islands to conservative Catholics living in Sydney – she explores the hopes, fears, and realities of romantic relationships at a time marked by great expectations and far fewer rules.

Jennifer is joined in conversation by UNSW’s Rob Brooks, an international expert on the conflicting and evolutionary interests that make sex sizzle and render reproduction complex. Rob’s latest book Artificial Intimacy charts what happens when love and technology collide. Find out how digital lovers, algorithmic matchmakers, and the rise of sex-tech are changing the nature of relationships and dating.

Jessie Tu brings her incisive questions to the conversation and leaves plenty of time for questions from the audience. Jessie is a journalist and critic at SMH, The Age, and Women's Agenda. Her debut novel, A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing, won the 2021 ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year.

After the talk, stay for live poetry by Bankstown Poetry Slam that responds to the theme. Top off the night with music, drinks and exhibitions.

Recommended for ages 16+

Presented by Vivid Ideas and the Australian Museum.


This event is taking place live at the Australian Museum as part of Vivid Ideas. To book tickets head here.


Australian Museum
To register for tickets, discuss access requirements or general event enquiries, please visit the Australian Museum website or call +61 2 9320 6000.

UNSW Centre for Ideas
For UNSW Centre for Ideas enquiries, please call +61 2 9065 0485 or email

Jennifer Pinkerton

Jennifer Pinkerton

Jennifer Pinkerton is a writer, photographer and producer. She’s written stories and journalism for The GuardianNational Geographic, the UK Telegraph, the Courier-Mail, the Canberra Times and Qantas magazine, among other publications. Previously, she worked as a federal press-gallery gofer; as a features editor on a health magazine; and as an editor and writer on art, architecture and women-focused titles. She’s also helped launch live storytelling events, including the Top End’s Spun: True Tales Told in the Territory, and Canberra’s first Language Party, which celebrated the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages. Jennifer has exhibited her photography in Perth, Canberra and Darwin, holds a doctorate in creative arts and teaches at Charles Darwin University. She lives in the Northern Territory with her good matesheat and humidity.

Rob Brooks

Rob Brooks

Rob Brooks is Professor of Evolution at UNSW Sydney and a popular science author. He has spent his career understanding the many complexities and conflict that sex and reproduction add to the lives of animals, including human animals. His popular writing explores the murky confluence of culture, economics and biology, and how new technologies interact with our evolved minds and bodies. He has won the Queensland Literary Award for Science (for his first book Sex, Genes and Rock ‘n’ Roll), and the Eureka Prize for Science Communication. His articles have been published in Psyche, CNN, The Atlantic, The Sydney Morning Herald, Areo, and many other publications. His latest book Artificial Intimacy: Virtual Friends, Digital Lovers, and Algorithmic Matchmakers considers what happens when new technology collides with our ancient ways of forming relationships and falling in love.

Jessie Tu

Jessie Tu

Jessie Tu trained as a classical violinist for more than 15 years. Failing to succeed as a professional musician, she taught music at Kambala, St Ignatius College, MLC Burwood, Kings School, Newington College. She has taught at refugee camps in the Middle East, volunteered with AUSAID in the Solomon Islands, travelled to complete residencies in the US, and now works as a journalist at Women's Agenda. She has won several poetry and writing awards, and her first book of poetry was released in 2018. A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing is her first novel which won the 2020 ABIA award for the Literary Fiction Book of the Year. Jessie Tu completed her Bachelor of Music Education in 2010 with UNSW. Tu, is a UNSW alumna and in 2021 was awarded the UNSW Young Alumni Award.

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