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 is the manager of British Library Labs, an Andrew W. Mellon foundation and British Library funded initiative which has supported and inspired the use of the British Library’s data in exciting and innovative ways for over 4 years. BL Labs encourages and helps scholars and innovators to work with the British Library and its digital collections through competitions, awards and other engagement activities.

He has a strong background of working with digital technology as a manager, educator and adviser in Further and Higher Education for researchers, educators, librarians and businesses both in the UK and internationally. Previously he worked on a number of collaborative projects with UKOLN (University of Bath) including; the Jisc-funded UK academic software Developer Community Supporting Innovation (DevCSI) initiative and ground breaking ‘Developer Happiness’ events; CERIFy (Implementing a European Data Model for Managing Research Information); the Digital Repositories Research Team (RRT) which supported a range of projects around digital repositories for scholarly outputs such as academic papers, data, educational materials, multimedia etc. Mahendra was an electronic resources and technology adviser for Further and Higher Education colleges through the Jisc Regional Support Centres (in England and Scotland). Finally, he has more than a decade’s experience of working as a further and higher education lecturer in Social Sciences (specialising in Child Development), Computing, Multimedia, and English for Speakers of Other Languages.

He tweets at @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.