A Third Place

How do places impact people’s lives? To celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the University of Melbourne’s Baillieu Library, library enthusiast Professor Peter McPhee speaks with prominent Australians about influential important places. Whether physical or online; in a group or solitary, our guests discuss inclusive and supportive places which allow for the development of ideas and foster personal growth. From their life on campus to passionate experts in their field, this series explores the need for third places; a space which is neither home or work. A place of meaning.

Peter speaks with Peter Singer, Lucy Thomas, Alice Garner, David McInnis and Gillian Triggs.


  • Teaser: A Third Place

    To celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the University of Melbourne’s Baillieu Library, we asked prominent alumni what ‘place’ means for them. Libraries are neutral ground, between home and work. Find out what other places and spaces have influenced their career and personal development, whilst also sharing their experience of the Baillieu Library and student life.

    Interviewer: Professor Peter McPhee

    Guests: Peter Singer, Lucy Thomas, Alice Garner, David McInnis and Gillian Triggs.

  • Episode 1: Peter Singer

    From scanning the shelves for important texts, meeting his girlfriend in the science section or being part of a student overnight sleep-in protest in 1964, the Baillieu Library was one of many influential places for Peter Singer as a student at the University of Melbourne.

    Places for discussion, debate and controversial ideas are important.

    I feel that there may be a danger that people are talking more to the people who think like them and if they're not talking so much to the people that they're thrust together with, does that mean that they are less likely to be exchanging views with people with very different political or cultural values.

    Listen as Peter discusses civil disobedience, safe spaces and ethical choices.

    Peter Singer, professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate professor at the University of Melbourne. https://petersinger.info/

  • Episode 2: Lucy Thomas

    From sitting in the Baillieu Library listening to other student’s conversations to helping the victims of bullying to find their voice, Lucy Thomas has always been interested in people and their stories. Creating safe and inclusive spaces in high schools and online, Lucy and her sister Rosie began Project Rockit - Australia's youth driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice.

    If we build young people throughout high school into citizens that leave school with the skills to challenge prejudice and inequity, imagine the type of society we are going to be building.

    Lucy discusses her own experience with bullying, what she has learned through the creation of Project Rockit and the kind of places that motivate and nourish her.

    Listen now to the highly engaging and inspiring Lucy Thomas in this episode of ‘A Third Place’.

    Lucy Thomas OAM, Cofounder and CEO of Project Rockit https://www.projectrockit.com.au/

  • Episode 3: Alice Garner

    Alice remembers her time in the Baillieu Library fondly. Serendipitously finding books to read, staring out at the gum trees from the ground floor study space and even adding to the graffiti in the women’s toilets. A keen library lover, Alice discusses the importance of social spaces allowing for private thought, and how you can last a whole day in Sydney with only $2.50.

    I've found often in my life, if there've been times when I've been traveling, libraries have been somewhere that I've sought out, as a safe space too, and a space where you can discover something about the place you're in.

    Listen as Alice discusses the influence of libraries in her life and stories of napping in the book stacks in this episode of ‘A Third Place’.

    Alice Garner, actor, author, musician, teacher and historian.

  • Episode 4: David McInnis

    The Baillieu Library has been a special place for David, both as a student and as an academic. Seeing the 1632 Shakespeare second folio in the Rare Book collection as an undergraduate was a phenomenal experience.
    David discusses why Shakespeare still matters today. From influencing Melbourne’s street names, explaining why starlings were introduced to America and why experts around the globe are trying to find his lost plays.

    Shakespeare helps us think through very complex problems and questions that still faced society today.

    Listen as David discusses how even when traveling, libraries are his ‘go to’ destination; his love of viewing the South Lawn from the Baillieu and finding himself in a ‘library coma’ from researching all day on this episode of ‘A Third Place’.

    David Mclnnis, senior lecturer in English and Theatre Studies in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne.

  • Episode 5: Gillian Triggs

    The Baillieu Library may be celebrating it’s sixtieth anniversary, but Gillian still thinks of it as the ‘New Baillieu’. Libraries were a social hub on campus during her time as a young law student, and an important way of ensuring an invite to the campus ball.

    Social spaces continue to be influential for her. Whether it’s a ride on the number 1 tram or the importance of how communities support refugees, places where people come together and interact can change how we see each other.

    I still love libraries. I love the feel and welcoming nature of libraries and that sense of being at the centre of something very important. A lot of learning and a lot of thought.

    Listen as Gillian discusses her experience of being one of the few women studying law at the University of Melbourne, her love of libraries (even her new local library in Geneva) and how the scholarly methodologies learned at university underpin everything she has done since, in this episode of ‘A Third Place’.

    Gillian Triggs, former professor of law at the University of Melbourne and president of the Australian Human Rights Commission and now Assistant Secretary General in the United Nations with special responsibilities for protection.