Ocean Talks: A Life With Sharks

Join us as we explore the world of sharks as seen by diver, photographer, filmmaker and conservationist Valerie Taylor and neuroscientist Richard Gates.

Thursday 7 February 2019 - SOLD OUT
6 – 8.30pm

“What Jane Goodall is to chimps, Valerie Taylor is to sharks”

Join two of Australia’s leading shark experts, diver and conservationist Valerie Taylor and neuroscientist Dr Richard Gates in conversation discussing their unique understanding of how sharks think and behave. 

Internationally renowned filmmakers Sally Aitken and Bettina Dalton will also be screening exclusive excerpts from their upcoming biopic on Valerie - The Real Jaws, which charts the diving legend’s life over 5 decades. 

How have attitudes towards sharks evolved over time, why did Valerie evolve from shark hunter to shark lover and how can we reflect on our relationship with sharks today?

This fascinating evening will be hosted by the maritime museum’s Daina Fletcher, curator of contemporary Chinese art exhibition On Sharks & Humanity.

Note: Ticket includes light refreshments and exclusive access to the On Sharks & Humanity exhibition between 5 - 6pm. 

This is the first in a series of nine exciting talks planned for this year. 
Bundle and save! Purchase a bundle of tickets to all nine talks now and you'll only pay the price of seven.



Valarie head shot with wetsuits

Valerie Taylor is an Australian adventurer, researcher and fearless innovator whose expertise was called upon internationally for the blockbuster films Jaws, Orca and Sky Pirates. Taylor started diving in Sydney in 1956 and won championships in spear-fishing and scuba diving. Val and her late husband Ron went from killing sharks to filming them, as their fascination and knowledge for marine life grew into profound respect.
Valerie and Ron Taylor are credited as extraordinary international pioneers in many areas – the first to film great white sharks without the protection of a cage for Blue Wilderness in January 1992, the people behind the lens for shark sequences Orca and the first to film sharks by night, all huge milestones in ocean exploration.

Richard Gates

Associate Professor Richard Gates is a neuroscientist and neuropsychologist who will take us inside the mind of a shark! He’s fascinated by the relationship between brain function and behaviour of animals with a particular interest in sensory systems. His interest in shark behaviour goes back to his boyhood on the North Coast of NSW where he spent time at sea with professional fishermen, and on Commonwealth research vessel the Challenge.  Dr Gates recently contributed to a program on shark attacks for the National Geographic channel.

Sally Aitken

Sally Aitken is an Emmy-nominated director and writer whose documentary films have been lauded in Australia and around the world including the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. She is known for adventurous and diverse collaborations from architecture (Frank Gehry), to Captain Cook (with Sam Neill) and Australian movies (David Stratton). Soon, Valerie Taylor’s incredible life story will be added to this list of achievements.

Bettina Dalton

Bettina Dalton is one of Australia's leading producers. She began her career working the Qld National Parks and Wildlife Service, and then for the BBC on Sir David Attenborough’s Trials of Life series before starting her own wildlife documentary production company. Bettina has authored three wildlife books, and is a University of Queensland Gold Medal recipient for her services to environmental education. Today Bettina specialises in producing film and TV for the international market, including National Geographic, Discovery Channel , ZDF and Chanel Nine. Bettina Dalton is one of the founding Principals and Executive Producers

Daina Fletcher

Daina Fletcher is senior curator at the Australian National Maritime Museum. She has a diverse background developing and interpreting collections, with past curatorial oversight of areas including immigration, environment, industry, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience and sport, leisure, travel and tourism.

Daina is past president of the Australian Maritime Museums Council and founding member of National Council of the Australian Register of Historic Vessels which she established. She has collaborated on many programs about community and national histories including the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame with Australian Sailing, public art pieces for the museum site, touring exhibitions, and the museum’s recent groundbreaking exhibition On Sharks & Humanity which focussed on art and activism with Parkview Arts Action, China.

2019 Ocean Talks Series

An exciting new series of monthly talks by fascinating marine experts happening at the museum in 2019.
Head HERE for the full list of events.

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