Kenan Malik.

Is it time to ditch diversity?

That’s the question influential British commentator Kenan Malik will be discussing with La Trobe University community planner Julie Rudner in Bendigo next month.

“Diversity has become a catchphrase and has lost its meaning, but I have yet to identify a better word to use,” Ms Rudner said.

“Like multiculturalism, it hides an underlying assumption that different social, ethnic and religious groups are discrete and homogenous. There is far more interaction and blending, so to speak, at the local neighbourhood scale for instance, than the categories suggest.”

Malik is visiting Australia as a guest of the Welcoming Cities conference in Brisbane, and is including Bendigo in his speaking tour for a Bendigo Writers Festival Bookmark event on Monday, April 8.

A broadcaster and highly regarded newspaper columnist, Malik is the author of many books on social difference, harmony and ethnic diversity.

He cuts through the myths created by identity politics to help us think more clearly about what kind of society we want to live in.

“I am really excited to speak with Kenan,” Ms Rudner said.

“He offers a much more nuanced conversation about our cities and the deep socio-cultural, political transformations that are occurring.

“We need to grapple with issues of polarisation, free speech, violence and power, so we can have welcoming communities.”

Diversity and the Welcoming City, with Kenan Malik and Julie Rudner, takes place at The Capital, View Street, Bendigo, at 6pm, Monday, April 8.

Tickets are $20. Bookings 5434 6100 or online via Bendigo Writers Festival website.