Changing minds

As other bloggers said last week, I survived the cull of middle-aged men living in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra to be selected for the 2020 talkfest. I’m in the stream called ‘productivity agenda – education, skills, training, science and innovation’.

According to the invitation letter I received today, I have to wait for a password before I know how this will all actually work. In the meantime, they are asking all participants to answer two questions in 100 words or less:

1. If you could do one thing in your stream area, what would it be? What is is that you think would make the most difference?

2. What issue have you changed your mind about in the last ten years? What changed your mind? (that’s a paraphrase).

Except for the word limit, the answer to the first question will be easy: higher education themes very familiar to readers of this blog.

The second one is much harder, for me and many other participants I expect. Issues usually involve normative elements, and these tend to be more stable than the facts and evidence that might cause arguments to be modified. On the issues likely to be discussed in this stream, I don’t think I have changed my basic position in the last ten years.

And if most participants are like me, will the 2020 discussions have any chance of reaching consensus?