Meet our Keynote Speakers

Professor Jean Burgess

Jean Burgess is a Professor of Digital Media and founding Director of the Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Her research focuses on the uses, cultures and politics of digital media platforms, as well as new and innovative digital methods for studying them. In addition to more than 100 other scholarly and creative outputs, her co-authored and edited books include YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture (Polity Press, 2009), Studying Mobile Media: Cultural Technologies, Mobile Communication, and the iPhone (Routledge, 2012), A Companion to New Media Dynamics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), and Twitter and Society (Peter Lang, 2014). Her two latest books are the revised and updated second edition of YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture (Polity Press, 2018) and the SAGE Handbook of Social Media (2017). In progress is Twitter: A Platform Biography (NYU Press), in which Burgess and co-author Nancy Baym model an entirely new approach to understanding how the digital media environment has changed over time. She has worked successfully with a range of government, industry and not-for-profit organisations to address the practical challenges and opportunities posed by digital and social media; as well as to deploy advanced social media analytics and qualitative digital methods to understand and engage with the concerns of their communities. She collaborates widely with colleagues across QUT and around Australia, as well as with leading researchers in Germany, Brazil, the UK, Canada, the USA, and Taiwan.

She tweets at @jeanburgess

Dr Kristin Alford

Dr Kristin Alford is a futurist and the Director of MOD. at the University of South Australia. MOD. is an immersive museum of discovery, a place to be and be inspired. Kristin leads a team dedicated to creating dynamic, changing exhibitions showcasing the edge of knowledge and emerging technologies. MOD. opened in May 2018 to surprise and delight young adults, opening new possibilities and pathways so that we can all live prosperously and sustainably. 

Prior to this role, Kristin was the founding director of foresight agency Bridge8, facilitating futures and engagement on water sustainability, nanotechnology, health, advanced manufacturing, clean technologies and climate futures for government, corporates and not-for-profits.

She is a member of the Study Adelaide Board and the Inspiring South Australia Steering Group. She was the inaugural licensee and host of TEDxAdelaide.

Kristin has had various careers in engineering, human resources, strategy and product development for companies including BHP Billiton, Ansett-Air New Zealand, the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria and Nanotechnology Victoria. She holds a PhD in process engineering and a Masters of Management in Strategic Foresight. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a Fellow of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation.

She tweets at @kristinalford

Professor Dennis del Favero

Scientia Professor Dennis Del Favero is Chair Professor of Digital Innovation, Director of the iCinema Research Centre and Expanded Perception and Interaction Centre at the University of New South Wales. He is also Visiting Professorial Fellow at ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, and at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Visiting Professor at IUAV University of Venice, member of the Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research and editorial board of Studio Corpi (Rome). Previously he was Executive Director of the Australian Research Council | Humanities and Creative Arts.

Del Favero's collaborative research program comprises work across the fields of art, humanities, engineering and science, exploring the theorisation of interactive aesthetics and its application in intelligent visualisation systems.

Professor Julian Thomas

Professor Julian Thomas is Director of RMIT's Social Change Enabling Capability Platform, and Director of the Technology, Communications and Policy Lab in the University’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre. He works on new media, information policy and the evolution of communications technologies. He is the lead author of the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (Telstra, 2016-18), and has published widely on privacy, communications policy and regulation. 

He tweets at @juliant09.

Mahendra Mahey

Mahendra Mahey has been the manager of British Library Labs (BL Labs) for over five years, an Andrew W. Mellon foundation and BL funded initiative supporting and inspiring the use of the BL’s data in innovative ways. BL Labs encourages and helps scholars, artists, entrepreneurs, educators and innovators to work with the BL’s digital collections through competitions, awards and other engagement activities. Mahendra is currently working on developing an international support network with colleagues to bring national, state, university and public libraries together that either had, are planning and already have digital experimental ‘Library Labs’ to share expertise, knowledge and experience in order to build better ‘Library Labs’ for their organisations and users.

He has a strong background of working with digital technology as a manager, educator, adviser and community builder in Further and Higher Education for researchers, educators, librarians and businesses both in the UK and internationally. He worked for 8 years at the University of Bath on a number of collaborative projects within UKOLN (a former centre of expertise for information management) including; the pioneering Jisc-funded UK academic software Developer Community Supporting Innovation (DevCSI) network initiative built from the innovative and very well received annual ‘Developer Happiness’ events he helped organise (similar to; CERIFy, implementing a European data model for managing research information; the Digital Repositories Research Team (RRT) which supported projects around digital repositories for scholarly outputs such as academic papers, data, educational materials, multimedia and incubated new project ideas etc.

Mahendra was an e-resources and technology adviser for over 4 years building supportive communities for teachers, librarians and managers working in Further and Higher Education colleges through the Jisc Regional Support Centres (in England at the University of Wolverhampton and Scotland at Edinburgh Telford College now Edinburgh College).

Finally, he has over 10 years experience in Further/Higher education in the UK and Poland, working as a lecturer and manager in Psychology (specialising in Child Development), Computing, Multimedia, and English for Speakers of Other Languages, developing open flexible learning materials in print and online and managing flexible learning centres.

He tweets at @BL_Labs and @mahendra_mahey

Rachel Neaman

Rachel is a renowned digital leader based in the UK. Passionate about harnessing technology for positive social outcomes, she has held CEO positions in the not-for-profit sector, and was Head of Profession for Digital at the UK Department of Health. She has a strong track record of leading successful multidisciplinary programmes to deliver digital transformation, improve digital inclusion and skills, and ensure technology works for everyone in society.

Rachel holds a number of non-executive roles. From 2013–16, she was Chair of the Digital Leaders network, and is now a non-executive member of the Digital Leaders, DigitalHealth.London and UKCloud Health Advisory Boards. In February 2018 she was appointed to the Board of the Campaign for Social Science. A strong advocate of the importance of diversity and gender equality, she mentors and supports girls and women interested in a career in technology.

Rachel has extensive senior leadership experience in the public, private and not-for- profit sectors in the UK and internationally. She speaks regularly at conferences, is a frequent judge of digital awards, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). Rachel has featured in Computer Weekly’s list of Most Influential Women in IT in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

She tweets at @RCNeaman.

In addition to the above, we're excited to provide you with an assortment of national and local speakers from university, industry and government sectors! 

You can view the full list of who's speaking here.