What’s On

CANCELLED – Life lessons from Hugh Mackay, Psychologist and bestselling author at SMSA

CANCELLED – Life lessons from Hugh Mackay, Psychologist and bestselling author at SMSA

Date & Time

Wednesday 5 June 2024


Join us for a conversation with Hugh Mackay, experienced social psychologist and bestselling author about his new book “The Way We Are”, interviewed by Catherine du Peloux Menagé, Artistic Director at BAD Sydney Writers Festival.

The Way We Are: Lessons from a lifetime of listening from Hugh Mackay. 

“Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. Yet none of our differences—whether based on ethnicity, politics, religion, cultural tastes and preferences, or gender—are nearly as significant as the humanity we share.”

Amidst our epidemics of loneliness, anxiety and depression in this unique post-Covid era, and as the impacts of entrenched poverty and ubiquitous technology continue to take hold, “The Way We Are” examines the major trends that are shaking the foundations of the Australian way of life.

Drawing on thousands of interviews over a lifetime of research, Hugh Mackay, much loved and highly respected social psychologist, presents a compelling portrait of Australia today. He has identified five major social issues facing contemporary Australia:

  • The unfinished march towards gender equality and the persistence of misogyny
  • The anti-social consequences of social media and the impacts of information overload
  • The complex legacy of the Baby Boomers
  • The decline in religious faith and what substitutes we are looking to
  • The Age of Opinion and the spread of ‘fake wisdom’

“The Way We Are” explores these issues, among many others, including the rise of rampant individualism. Hugh stresses that we have come to a critical period in Australia’s social evolution and, importantly, shares his own perspective on the steps we need to take to contribute to the healing of our wounded society.

Hugh calls on us to rebuild our sense of community, starting in our own neighbourhood. It is our personal encounters – with our neighbours, dog-walkers, posties, tradies, baristas and even strangers on the bus – which are the building blocks we need. The ‘state of the nation’ starts in your very own street.

Though some of his observations may not be easy reading, Hugh’s analysis is suffused with affection for our country. The Way We Are is his final work of social analysis and a book-end to his illustrious research career.

About Hugh Mackay:

Hugh Mackay is a social psychologist and bestselling author. His non-fiction covers social analysis, psychology, communication and ethics. He is also the author of nine novels. Hugh has had a sixty-year career in social research and was a weekly newspaper columnist for twenty-five years. He is a fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and the Royal Society of New South Wales and has been awarded honorary doctorates by five Australian universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015 and is currently an honorary professor in the School of Medicine and Psychology at the Australian National University. He lives in Canberra.




There will be an author signing by Hugh following the talk. Our friends at Abbeys Book Shop will be attending for those interested in purchasing a copy of The Way We Are, EFTPOS will be available. SMSA Members will also be able to borrow “The Way We Are” from the SMSA Library.

Free event with registration. A maximum of one (1) ticket per customer applies. If you would like to bring a friend, please ask them to register through Eventbrite.


Past Event

This is a past event. View and register to attend our upcoming events.

What’s On at SMSA

Date & Time

Wednesday 5 June 2024


Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, Pitt Street, Sydney NSW, Australia

Henry Carmichael Theatre

280 Pitt Street Sydney NSW 2000

Level 1


When you join SMSA as member, you get a wide range of benefits.

Access to the SMSA Library

We are home to a unique collection of books, a highlight being our Mystery and Crime section.

Able to borrow from the Tom Keneally Centre

We are honoured to be the home of Tom Keneally’s personal collection of books, many of which have been used as research for his own works.

Access to member only events

Join a members group, share your passions, learn new skills, make new friends and get involved.

Access to member only activities such as members groups

We provide a variety of member only events, these are relaxed social occasions to have fun and make new friends.

Join as a Member

Subscribe to stay up-to-date

    From the 1 July 2024, all our events will be $10 to attend for all non members. Not a member yet? Join today.

    Join Today!