Lyn Beazley AO
Lyn Beazley AO FTSE is a neuroscientist and educator. From 2006 to 2013 she was Chief Scientist of Western Australia, advising State Government on science, innovation, and technology. In 2009, Beazley was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia. Later that same year she was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. In 2011, she was inducted into the inaugural Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame, followed by election as a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and a Companion of Engineers Australia. She was the second recipient of the Governor’s Award for Giving, in 2012. She received the Australian of the Year Award for 2015.
A.J. Betts is a Fremantle-based author, speaker, teacher and cyclist. Her latest work is a two-book speculative fiction series comprising of Hive and Rogue (Pan Macmillan; 2018, 2019). A.J.'s award-winning third novel, Zac & Mia, is available in 14 countries, and its recent American television adaptation won two Emmys in 2018. Her earlier novels are Wavelength and Shutterspeed. In 2019, A.J. graduated with a PhD in the topic of Wonder at ECU. A J. is originally from Queensland but has lived in Western Australia since 2004. She teaches English part-time at the Perth Children's Hospital.
Keith is a long-time advocate for the ecological values of south-western Australia and for the power of local communities. He helped establish some of Australia’s earliest landcare groups, has run building, beekeeping and native seed businesses, consulted to the mining sector, worked in local enterprise development and at policy level in government. He co-wrote and narrated the award winning documentary ‘A Million Acres a Year’, and authored ‘Peel-Harvey: decline and rescue of an ecosystem’. Currently CEO of Gondwana Link (www.gondwanalink.org) and Chair West Australian Landcare Network (www.landcarewa.org.au).
Baba Brinkman is a rap artist, science communicator, and award-winning playwright based in New York, NY. Best known for his “Rap Guide” series of science-themed plays and albums, Baba has toured the world and enjoyed successful runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and off-Broadway. The series so far includes rap guides to Evolution, Human Nature, Business, Wilderness, Religion, Medicine, Climate Change, and Consciousness. Called “Astonishing and brilliant” by the New York Times, Baba is a Scotsman Fringe First Award winner for Exceptional New Writing, and a two-time Drama Desk Award Nominee, for “Outstanding Solo Performance” and “Unique Theatrical Experience”. He has performed live on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and shared stages with science luminaries including Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Baba is also a winner of the National Center for Science Education’s “Friend of Darwin Award” for his efforts to popularize evolutionary biology.
Oron Catts is the Director and co-founder of SymbioticA (Est. 2000), The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, UWA. He is an artist, researcher and curator. He co-funded the Tissue Culture and Art Project in 1996, was a Research Fellow in Harvard Medical School, a visiting Scholar at Stanford University, a Visiting Professor at Aalto University, and a Professor at Large in Contestable Design at the Royal College of Arts, London. His work was exhibited and collected by the Pompidou Centre, MoMA,
Jo Chandler is an award-winning Australian journalist, author, editor, and educator. In 2017 she took up a position as a professional expert and lecturer at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism, and continues as an Honorary Fellow at Deakin University’s Contemporary Histories Research Group. Her book, “Feeling The Heat” (Melbourne University Press, 2011) was short-listed for the Queensland Premier’s Non-Fiction Prize; long-listed for the John Button Prize for writing on public policy; and extract awarded the University of New South Wales Bragg Press Prize for Science Writing. Cool Jobs # 1
The Orangutan Project was established in 1998 by founder and world-renowned orangutan expert, Leif Cocks, as a result of his almost 30 year career working with orangutans. Leif’s years in the field have earned him respect within the conservation field. He has been a key player in developing conservation plans for orangutans and influencing positive change for orangutan protection and survival. A small population biologist and curator by trade; Leif has several academic qualifications, including a Masters of Science studying orangutans. He lectures at universities, is a seasoned public speaker and has published several papers on orangutans in peer-reviewed journals. Leif is also the author of the books Orangutans and their Battle for Survival (2002) and, Amazon best seller, Orangutans My Cousins, My Friends(2016) – A journey to understand and save the person of the forest.
Professor Len Collard is an Australian Research Council, Chief Investigator with the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia. Len has a background in literature and communications and his research interests are in the area of Aboriginal Studies, including Nyungar interpretive histories and Nyungar theoretical and practical research models. Professor Collard's research has allowed the broadening of the understanding of the many unique characteristics of Australia's Aboriginal people and has contributed enormously to improving the appreciation of Aboriginal culture and heritage of the Southwest of Australia. Len is a Whadjuk Nyungar elder who is a respected Traditional Owner of the Perth Metropolitan area and surrounding lands, rivers, swamps ocean and it's culture.
Sarah Curran Ragan
Sarah is a British marine biologist and has worked around the world conducting research and in marine conservation for 20 years. She has worked in the UK, Tanzania, Indonesia, Greece, The Philippines and Australia. In 2005 she moved to Western Australia to lead the State's marine pollution unit for the State Government before taking the role of Senior Marine Scientist with a global consultancy in Perth. After starting a family she concentrated on science journalism and has been published in magazines in 30 countries. She won the Best of The Decade Award in Asian Geographic Magazine, for her article on whaling. Sarah recently won a highly commended award for science communication and is now coordinator of a WA Science hub, Peel Bright Minds, as well as running the STEM outreach business Little Genius Science.
Colleen Egan is an author and former investigative journalist best known for her eight-year campaign to overturn the murder conviction of Perth man Andrew Mallard. Colleen re-investigated the 1994 murder of jeweller Pamela Lawrence and became convinced that Andrew Mallard was innocent of the crime. She enlisted the help of then-Labor MP John Quigley, and former governor Malcolm McCusker QC, to prove Andrew innocent and have him freed from prison after serving 12 years. At the last state election, Mr Quigley became WA’s Attorney General and Colleen left her position as assistant editor of The West Australian to join him as his chief of staff. Her book “Murderer No More: Andrew Mallard and the Epic Fight that Proved his Innocence” was published by Allen and Unwin and is still available.
Ron Elliott is a scriptwriter, director and academic. His directorial credits include a feature film, Justice, and episodes of ABC programs such as Dancing Daze, Relative Merits and Studio 86. Ron has written for Home and Away, Minty, Wild Kat, Ship to Shore and many more children’s television series. In 2001 he wrote the AFI nominated telemovie Southern Cross. Ron also lectured in Film and Television at Curtin University.
Enjoying the mental acrobatics of talking with bright, creative and articulate people is Meri Fatin’s favourite past-time. Working as a freelance facilitator, her recent conversations have included Dr Michael Mosley, Stan Grant, Liane Moriarty, Chloe Hooper, Trent Dalton, Matthew Reilly, Markus Zusack, Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson… and Annabel Crabb.
James Foley is a children’s author and illustrator. He makes picture books, junior fiction and graphic novels and he is the author/illustrator of the S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series for middle primary: Brobot (2016), Dungzilla (2017) and Gastronauts (2018) star Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and Joe Tinker, her stinky baby brother. He is in high demand for talks and workshops in schools and libraries across Australia. He comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts. He lives in Perth with his wife, son and labrador.
Andrea Gaynor is Associate Professor of History at the University of Western Australia. An environmental historian, she seeks to use the contextualising and narrative power of history for transitions to more just and sustainable communities. She is currently researching histories of water in Australian urbanisation, Landcare in Western Australia, and nature in Australian urban modernity. At UWA she teaches environmental history and is Chair of History and Director of the Centre for Western Australian History; she also convenes the Australian and New Zealand Environmental History Network and is Vice-President of the European Society for Environmental History.
Dr Joëlle Gergis
Dr Joëlle Gergis is an award-winning climate scientist and writer from the Australian National University. She is an internationally recognised expert on Australian climate variability and change, and author of Sunburnt Country: The future and history of climate change in Australia. She is currently serving as a lead author for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report due for release in 2021. She is also a councillor of the Climate Council, Australia’s leading independent body providing expert advice to the Australian public on climate change and policy.
Vivienne Glance combines a BSc. Degree in Botany from Imperial College, London and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of WA to bring science and literature together in her poems, stories and plays. Her poetry is widely published, including two collections, The Softness of Water and A Simple Rain, and more than a dozen of her plays have been produced. She has written a novel featuring biomedical science that is being considered for publication. She has been a invited artist at the Djerassi Artists Residency Programme in California, the Arts Catalyst in London and the Bush Retreat for Eco-Writers Residency in New South Wales.
Mark is an author of books for young readers and a writer with a passion for history. He enjoys sharing the creative process with children and inspiring them to develop curiosity. On 20 July 2019, the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first-time humans set foot on the moon – and Mark celebrated the publication of his book, Moonwalkers, illustrated by Terry Denton. His latest title, The Book of Stone, explores nature’s wonders - from the complex geometry of crystals, to fossils that hold clues to the prehistoric past, birthstones and gemstones, to meteorites from Mars and beyond.
Paul E. Hardisty
Canadian Paul Hardisty has spent twenty-five years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a cafe in Sana'a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). The first four novels in his Claymore Straker series, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, The Evolution of Fear, Reconciliation for the Dead and Absolution, all received great critical acclaim and The Abrupt Physics of Dying was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. His latest novel, Turbulent Wake, is a standalone about fathers, sons, and the damage we do to those closest to us.
Dr Alan Harvey
Alan Harvey was educated at the University of Cambridge and obtained a PhD from ANU. He is an Emeritus Professor at UWA and Board Member of the Perron Institute. His laboratory research is aimed at promoting the repair of the injured central nervous system, but he is also passionate about music and over the years has played and sung in many choirs and bands. He has long wondered why humans evolved, and continue to respond to, music in such a universal way, and in 2017 his book “Music, Evolution and the Harmony of Souls” was published by Oxford University Press. The book brings together his musical and neuroscientific interests, exploring the importance of music throughout human evolution and emphasising its continued relevance to human welfare in the twenty-first century.
Nick Haslam is Professor of Psychology at the University of Melbourne, where he teaches personality and social psychology and co-directs the Mental Health PhD program. In the recent past he has been Head of the University's School of Psychological Sciences, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate) and President of the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists. In addition to numerous scientific articles he has published nine books, including Psychology in the Bathroom.
I am a Nyoongar Ballardong man, and I was born in the wheatbelt town of Pingelly Western Australia. My cultural heritage is very important to me. I have traditional ties that run from Bridgetown, to Boddington and through the wheatbelt of Western Australia. My spiritual totem is the Kaarak, the red-tailed cockatoo, and it is very sacred to the Nyoongar people. I am a self-taught artist and art is a way that Aboriginal people can keep culture strong. So, when I paint, I can show my vision of my Boodja (country). My artwork tells a story. When I paint, I am inside that story, I am inside the painting.
Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker uses novel radio telescopes to explore the Universe at the longest wavelengths of light. She has revealed the radio glow of our own Milky Way galaxy and hundreds of thousands of distant galaxies, creating the first "radio color" survey of the sky. She is a keen science communicator who has brought her view of the Universe to the world with an Android VR app, an online viewer, and a popular TED talk, and continues to engage the public with fascinating talks on the Universe and our place in it. She is a WA Tall Poppies Scientist of the Year (2017), an ABC Top 5 Scientist (2018) and a Superstar of STEM (2019).
John Kinsella is the author of more than forty books, including poetry and fiction. Recent titles include Lucida Intervalla (UWAP, 2018) and Hollow Earth (Transit Lounge, 2019). He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, and Professor of Literature and Environment at Curtin University in Western Australia. He lives on Ballardong Noongar land at Jam Tree Gully in the Western Australian wheatbelt.
Victoria Laurie is a senior reporter and feature writer in the Perth bureau of The Australian newspaper. A former TV and radio journalist, she has also been a freelance writer for The Bulletin, The Monthly, HQ, Australian Geographic and The Weekend Australian Magazine. She is the author of The Kimberley: Australia's Last Great Wilderness and The Southwest: Australia's Biodiversity Hotspot (UWAP).
Dr Michael Levitt
Dr Michael Levitt MB BS (UWA), FRACS trained as a surgeon in Western Australia before pursuing subspecialty training in colorectal surgery at London’s St Mark’s and Royal Free hospitals. Since 1990 he has worked in WA as a specialist colorectal surgeon. Michael has a particular interest in the management of ‘functional’ bowel disorders – constipation, incontinence and irritable bowel syndrome – and is well known for his approach to treating these conditions. Michael is a member of the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand. He is the Chairman of the Tonkinson Colorectal Cancer Research Fund Advisory Committee, a Director of St John of God Health Care, a member of the Medical Board of WA and Medical Director at Osborne Park Hospital, WA.
Lynne Milne is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Curtin University, and a consultant palynologist (pollen analysis). Since working on a Queensland homicide in the late 1990’s she has worked on numerous cases for State and Federal police. Lynne is the author of A Grain of Truth, a mixture of true crime and popular science, in which she shares the often emotional, humbling and humorous side of working in the forensic arena. Lynne is a former President of the Royal Society of Western Australia, and is passionate about her science. She is looking forward to a time when writing will again involve more than editing Postgrad theses and writing research papers.
Caitlin Maling grew up in Western Australia, mainly in the suburbs around Fremantle. She moved to Melbourne to complete her BA in 2007, then to Cambridge to complete a Masters of Philosophy in Criminological Research. She returned to Perth and then left for Houston to complete an MFA in poetry, for which she received the WA Department of Culture and the Arts International Scholarship.
Joy is an environmental historian who writes about nature, culture and environmental change for general audiences. Her particular interests lie in the Southern Ocean, Antarctica, and rural Australia. Her current projects include a history of Australians in Antarctica for the National Library of Australia, and (as co-author) a book on 'Oceans, Seas and Shorelines in Law'. From time to time she also works as a researcher in the Australian Senate and as research editor for the National Centre of Biography. Her book Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean (NewSouth, 2018) was recently released internationally by the University of Chicago Press and reviewed in the Nature journal and Science Magazine.
Jane McCredie is an award-winning journalist and writer about science. She is the author of Making Girls and Boys: Inside the science of sex and past editor of The Best Australian Science Writing. A former publisher of scholarly and popular science books, she now reviews science books for the Australian and writes a regular opinion column for the Medical Journal of Australia.
Don has majors in geology and soil science, a masters in natural resource management and a PhD in hydrogeology. He has been a research scientist and resource manager in agriculture and water resources for over 40 years. He managed planning, policy and water supply licensing when Perth experienced an acute water shortage in 2001-04. In CSIRO he managed projects on the impact of climate change on water resources. Recently his interests have been in managed aquifer recharge using wastewater. In 2004 he received the CSIRO Medal for remote sensing of dryland salinity and native vegetation. He is an Adjunct Professor at UWA and part-time consultant
Natasha Mitchell is a multi-award winning journalist and broadcaster, presenting flagship ABC Radio National programs including Life Matters (2012-2016), as founding host and producer of All in the Mind (2002-12), and now a new culture and science program, Science Friction, which won best science and medicine podcast at the 2019 Australian Podcast Awards. Natasha served as vice president of the World Federation of Science Journalists, and was recipient of a prestigious MIT Knight Fellowship. She has an engineering degree, and a postgraduate diploma in science communication.
Peter Newman is the Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. Peter is an academic who has written 20 books and over 340 papers on sustainable cities with a global reputation and has worked to deliver his ideas in all levels of government. Peter has worked in local government as an elected councilor, in state government as an advisor to three Premiers and in the Australian Government on the Board of Infrastructure Australia and the Prime Minister’s Cities Reference Group. He is the Co-ordinating Lead Author for the UN’s IPCC on Transport. In 2014 he was awarded an Order of Australia for his contributions to urban design and sustainable transport. In 2018/19 he was the WA Scientist of the Year.
As the Science Communications Officer for the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology Karina’s role lies in finding creative and engaging ways to bridge between scientists and the general public, and to engage, educate and excite the community with plant science. In recent years she has done this using the Virtual Plant Cell, a novel educational virtual reality initiative through which audiences can immerse themselves in science stories. VPC has reached over 100,000 people around the globe, allowing them to explore, interact with and learn about the sub-microscopic inner world of a plant and to discover how global agricultural challenges can be tackled through science innovation.
Mark Pownall has around three decades of media experience. Prior to becoming CEO of Business News he ran the content operations of the business and was integral to the implementation of all the company’s digital products – our twice daily email newsletters, weekly podcasts, deals database and BNiQ data warehouse and search engine. Mark’s media experience started with sports reporting while he studied for a Commerce degree at the University of Western Australia, followed by post-graduate qualification in English at Curtin University. His career has predominantly been in business media in Perth, with an early foray to the financial centre of London. As CEO he maintains his connection with the publishing side of the business, writing a regular opinion column, hosting various podcasts and being active on social media.
Kim Scott is a multi-award winning novelist. Benang(1999) was the first novel by an Indigenous writer to win the Miles Franklin Award and That Deadman Dance (2010) also won Australia's premier literary prize, among many others. Proud to be one among those who call themselves Noongar, Kim is founder and chair of the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Story Project (www.wirlomin.com.au), which has published a number of bilingual picture books. A Companion to the Works of Kim Scott (Camden House, 2016) deals with aspects of his career in education and literature. He received an Australian Centenary Medal and was 2012 West Australian of the Year. Kim is currently Professor of Writing in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts at Curtin University.
Ian Sinclair is an experimental artist & playwright exploring immersive & participatory installation & non-human collaboration. Developing projects that consider fragility, queerness & the ecological uncanny. His writing blends banal dialogue with free-form flights of fancy & climate changed hyperreality. His artistic company Pony Express, with conceptual artist Loren Kronemyer, has exhibited and toured artworks nationally & internationally including Ecosexual Bathhouse, Tentaculum & Raft of the Medusa. Ian’s plays Whale Fall and Nocturna will premiere in Perth in 2020. His new large-scale, immersive artwork Epoch Wars will be presented at Dark Mofo Festival, Hobart in 2020 and Arts House, Melbourne in 2021. Ian is a sessional lecturer at the Iceland Academy of Art and co-curator of the Australia-China Performance Art Exchange.
Annabel Smith is the author of interactive digital novel/app The Ark, US bestseller Whisky Charlie Foxtrot, & A New Map of the Universe, which was shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Book Awards. She is an Australia Council Creative Australia Fellow, holds a PhD in Writing & teaches for Australian Writers Centre.
Alicia Sometimes is a writer, poet and broadcaster. She is a regular guest on 774, Radio National and is one sixth of the ABC's The Outer Sanctum Podcast. Her poems have been in Best Australian Science Writing, Best Australian Poems, Overland, Southerly, Meanjin, ABC TV's Sunday Arts and more. She is director and co-writer of the science-poetry planetarium shows, Elemental and Particle/Wave. She is currently a Science Gallery Melbourne ‘Leonardo’ (creative advisor) and is passionate about combining art with science.
Dr Cat Sparks is a multi-award-winning Australian author, editor and artist. Career highlights include a PhD in science fiction and climate fiction, five years as Fiction Editor of Cosmos Magazine, running Agog! Press, working as an archaeological dig photographer in Jordan, studying with Margaret Atwood, 75 published short stories, a collection and a far future novel, Lotus Blue. She directed two speculative fiction festivals for Writing NSW and is a regular panelist & speaker at speculative fiction events in Australia and overseas.
HM Waugh is an environmental scientist, writer and educator with a long-term love of wild places and high mountains. This has led to icy feet and sunburnt cheeks in magical countries like New Zealand, Nepal, Bolivia and Switzerland. She has studied dolphins in New Zealand and rare plants in the Wheatbelt, and worked in mining and construction projects across Western Australia. When she’s not writing, she’s teaching school and community groups about science and the environment. This often involves working with children and animals concurrently, and Waugh loves being able to truthfully say she handles dragons for a job.
David Whish-Wilson was born in Newcastle, NSW, but grew up in Singapore, Victoria and WA. He left Australia aged eighteen to live for a decade in Europe, Africa and Asia. He is the author of The Summons, The Coves and three crime novels in the Frank Swann series: Line of Sight, Zero at the Bone and Old Scores. His non-fiction book, Perth, part of the NewSouth Books city series, was shortlisted for a WA Premier’s Book Award. David lives in Fremantle and coordinates the creative writing program at Curtin University.
Felicity spent her childhood years at boarding School in the UK, moving to WA with her parents as a sixteen year-old. She took up writing after moving to rural Western Australia in 1990. Having a brother-in-law who is a retired police superintendent, it was almost inevitable she would turn to crime writing. Her novels include Flashpoint (aka A Certain Malice UK) An Easeful Death, Harum Scarum and Take Out (all published with Fremantle Press).
Her last five novels - A Dissection of Murder, Antidote to Murder, The Scent of Murder, The Insanity of Murder, A Donation of Murder and Flare-up (Harper Collins Australia and Penguin US) - feature the UK's (fictitious) first female autopsy surgeon, Doctor Dody McCleland. These books, among other things, explore the fascinating early days of forensic science.