The first of the 2010 season of the ever-popular IQ2 debates took the crowd-pleasing topic: "Popular Culture: We've seen the future, and it's junk." Some big-name thinkers and writers lined up to do battle.
Is popular culture an annoyance that keeps the masses in a state of stupor? Or does it shape our society in an important and entertaining way?
Bryce Courtenay is the author of nineteen novels, the commercial success of which has earned him the position of Australia's top-selling novelist.
His background is in advertising.
Tom Crago is the CEO of video game development company Tantulus Media, and president of the Game Developer's Association of Australia.
He is a former lawyer and athlete, having held the NSW championship in triple-jump.
Peter Craven is a leading literary critic, journalist and editor. He is co-founder of the literary magazine Scripsi, which ran from 1981 to 1994. Craven has written about literature for numerous newspapers, including a column in The Australian for most of the 1990s.
Elizabeth Farrelly is a former architect who writes a column for The Sydney Morning Herald, generally focusing on urban affairs. She has been the recipient of writing awards including the Paris-based CICA award for architectural criticism, the Adrian Ashton Award, the Marion Mahoney Award and the Pascall Prize for criticism.
Among her books are Three Houses and Blubberland: The Dangers of Happiness, which was longlisted a 2008 Walkley Award for Nonfiction.
Wendy Harmer is one of Australia's best known humorists.
She is a veteran of the Edinburgh, Montreal and Glasgow-Mayfest Festivals and has worked extensively in London, America and Ireland, appearing at the Edinburgh Festival five times. In 1990, her one-woman show "LOVE GONE WRONG" received a "Pick Of The Fringe" award and subsequently transferred to London.
Dr. Simon Longstaff is Executive Director of St. James Ethics Centre. Simon spent five years studying and working as a member of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Having won scholarships to study at Cambridge, he read for the degrees of Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy. He was inaugural President of The Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics and is a Director of a number of companies. He is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum and a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Foreign Policy Association, based in New York.
Stephen Sewell is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter, whose works include "The Boys," "The Secret Death of Salvador Dali" and "Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America - A Drama in 30 Scenes."