Speaker List: Green Institute Conference 2023 – The City Transformed: urban life at the end of the world as we know it
Dr Mary Graham – Friday 9.15am, Keynote “Aboriginal relationality and the city” with Dr Michelle Maloney
Dr Mary Graham is an Adjunct Associate Professor in Political Science at the University of Queensland. She grew up in South-East Queensland, and is a Kombu-merri person through her father’s heritage and a Wakka Wakka clan member through her mother’s heritage. With a career spanning more than 30 years, Mary has worked across several government agencies, community organisations and universities. Mary has been a dedicated lecturer with the University of Queensland, teaching Aboriginal history, politics and comparative philosophy. Mary has written and published many prominent works, including – publications in the Aboriginal Encyclopaedia, training modules for Cross Cultural Awareness and a host of academic papers. Mary is a Director of Future Dreaming Australia, an Indigenous and non-indigenous partnership organisation working to increase cross-cultural ecological knowledge in Australia (www.futuredreaming.org.au)
Dr Michelle Maloney – Friday 9.15am, Keynote “Aboriginal relationality and the city” with Dr Mary Graham
Dr Michelle Maloney (BA/LLB (Hons), PhD) is the Co-founder and National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA). Michelle began her career as an environmental lawyer, and then broadened her work to include multi-disciplinary approaches to creating Earth-centred governance and systems change. She now designs and manages social change initiatives that connect law, economics, education, cross-cultural knowledge systems, community development practice, ethics and the arts. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and History) and Laws (Honours) from the Australian National University and a PhD in Law from Griffith University. She is Adjunct Senior Fellow, Law Futures Centre, Griffith University; and Director of the New Economy Network Australia (NENA) and Future Dreaming Australia. Michelle is on the Steering Group for the International Ecological Law and Governance Association (ELGA) and the Advisory Group of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN).
Professor Susan Harris Rimmer – Friday 4.30pm, Keynote “Cruel Summer: Extreme Heat and Human Rights in Australian Cities”
Professor Susan Harris Rimmer is the Director of the Griffith University Policy Innovation Hub which bring together academia with public purpose actors. Sue works at the intersection of human rights and politics and is interested in gender dynamics in transitions. She is a member of the Law Futures Centre and the Griffith Asia Institute. With Professor Sara Davies, Susan is co-convenor of the Griffith Gender Equality Research Network. Sue also leads the Climate Justice theme of the Griffith Climate Action Beacon. In 2018, she was named one of Apolitical’s 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy, globally, and one of 20 Queensland Voices Female Leaders in 2019. Sue was previously the Director of Studies at the ANU Asia Pacific College for Diplomacy. She was Advocacy lead at the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID). She has also worked for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the National Council of Churches, Attorney-General’s Department and the Parliamentary Library.
Professor David Schlosberg – Saturday 9am, Keynote “Sustainable Materialism as politics”
David Schlosberg is Director of the Sydney Environment Institute and Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of Sydney. He is known internationally for his work in environmental politics, environmental movements, and political theory – in particular the intersection of the three with his work on environmental justice. His other theoretical interests are in climate justice, climate adaptation and resilience, and environmental movements and the practices of everyday life. Professor Schlosberg’s more applied work includes justice in adaptation and resilience planning, the social impacts of climate change, and community-based food movements and policy. He is the author or co-author of Defining Environmental Justice (Oxford, 2007), Sustainable Materialism: Environmental Movements and the Politics of Everyday Life (Oxford 2019), and Climate-Challenged Society (Oxford, 2013); and co-editor of both The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society (Oxford 2011), and The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory (Oxford 2016). His articles are on the top-ten cited list of the journals Contemporary Political Theory, Environmental Politics, Ethics and International Affairs, Global Environmental Politics, and WIREs Climate Change. Professor Schlosberg has been a visiting scholar at the London School of Economics, Australian National University, Princeton University, University of Washington, and UC Santa Cruz, among others.
Plenary, Panel and Workshop Speakers
Abraham ONeill – Friday 11.15am, Panel “More than bikes: active travel reinvigorating our cities”
Abe O’Neill is a parent of two young kids living on the southside in Meanjin/Brisbane. He works in politics with the Queensland Greens. Some of his areas of interest are housing justice, public and active transport, planning and climate change.
Andrew Braddock MLA – Friday 1.30pm, Workshop “Strengthening Australian Democracy by Building Multicultural Community Resilience and Capacity”
Andrew Braddock is the ACT Greens Member for Yerrabi and spokesperson for Anti-Racism and Multicultural Affairs. Andrew was elected in 2020 to represent ACT’s most diverse electorate of Yerrabi. Since then, he has moved motions to make the ACT a more inclusive and safe community including inclusive swimming times at public pools, community language schools, improving diversity measures for ACT Public Servants, plus calling for an antiracism strategy. He has with the assistance of the Multicultural Victorian Greens run workshops for ACT Greens, supported the establishment of the ACT Greens Black and PoC Working Group, and mentored many diverse party members.
Andrew Buckwell – Friday 2.45pm, Workshop “Imagining Transformed Cities”
Andrew Buckwell is a researcher at Griffith Business School and Climate Action Beacon. He is an applied environmental and resource economist, specialising in non-market economic valuation, and social benefit cost analysis. His broader research agenda is to define the conditions and the measures that enable communities and resource users to understand the impacts and dependencies of their resource use on their environment. The aim of this is to encourage investments to flow naturally towards socially-equitable and ecologically regenerative activities and endeavours, as this is where it will find the best mix of returns.
Anna Carlson – Saturday 11am, Plenary “Democratic transformation and urban re-imagination during periods of political crisis: Experimenting with a protest “village” in Colombo (Sri Lanka)”
Anna Carlson is a white settler living and working on unceded Yuggera and Turrbal country. She is a community organiser, radio producer, illustrator and researcher, who has recently submitted a PhD at the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland. Her PhD research examined the relationship between state surveillance and liberal reform in Queensland to understand the role of this relationship in fueling settler colonial nation-building. Her broader and political and intellectual work is concerned with the entanglement of colonisation, racial capitalism, and heteropatriarchy, and the operation of changing regimes of incarceration, enclosure, and liberal “inclusion” in enabling the persistence of colonial power relations into the present.
Apsara Sabaratnam – Friday 1.30pm, Workshop “Strengthening Australian Democracy by Building Multicultural Community Resilience and Capacity”
Apsara Sabaratnam is the Secretary of Multicultural Greens Victoria. She is an academic whose work focuses on workplace diversity and inclusion. Apsara has over a decade of experience organising on a range of issues affecting migrant communities in Australia and on fast paced political campaigns. She has also been involved in union organising in her workplace and the largest modernisation of wages in the Australian horticulture industry. A long-term refugee advocate, Apsara has lobbied federal governments to introduce more humane policies and worked closely with refugees and asylum seeker communities to provide material aid, find housing and employment.
Birdy Bird – Friday 9.15am, Plenary “The Land Back”
Birdy’s cultural heritage is 5th generation Australian from both convict and settler colonist families from England. Birdy’s family on their fathers side lived and worked in Wonnarua country before buying land in Biripai Country where the family cleared land and farmed dairy cattle for 3 generations. Birdy grew up on Gadigal Country one of three children and was exposed early to the land rights movement through Aboriginal family friends. Birdy has worked in land reparations, housing and community development at federal government, state government, and as a consultant. Birdy is a co-founder and voluntary CEO of the Land Back Foundation.
Brad Pettit MLC – Friday 2.45pm, Plenary “Perth 2.0”
Dr Brad Pettitt was elected to the Legislative Council of the WA Parliament in 2021. Until taking up this role in the Upper House of the State Parliament, Brad was the Mayor of the City of Fremantle. He was first elected mayor in 2009 and re-elected in 2013 and 2017. Prior to this Brad was the Dean of the School of Sustainability at Murdoch University. His research and teaching expertise included climate change, international development policy, and sustainability planning. Brad has also previously worked with Oxfam in Cambodia and with the Australian Government Aid Program, AusAID, in Canberra. When not working he likes riding his bike, drinking coffee, and playing with his 5-year-old daughter.
Professor Brydie-Leigh Bartleet – Friday 11.15am, Plenary “Place-based Arts for more equitable cities”
Brydie-Leigh Bartleet is a Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the Creative Arts Research Institute and Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (Australia). She is a dynamic research leader, award-winning educator, respected community collaborator, and arts sector advocate. Over the past 20 years, her work has advanced our understanding of the cultural, social, economic, and educational benefits of the arts in First Nations’ Communities, prisons, war affected cities, educational and industry contexts. Her research is known for its innovation, interdisciplinarity, and cross-sector partnerships, connecting the arts with areas as diverse as social inequality, regional development, criminology and corrections, health equity, and human rights.
David Mejia-Canales – Saturday 9am, Panel “Protest and the city”
David Mejia-Canales is a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre. He focuses on protecting democratic freedoms, in particular the right to protest as well as the regulation of online misinformation and disinformation. Before this David was a policy adviser in the Commonwealth Parliament working on legal system reform and on justice issues impacting First Nations people, including, ending deaths in custody, raising the age of criminal responsibility, protecting Country and Country defenders, and the implementation of the Optional Protocol on the Convention Against Torture. In addition to his experience with legal policy and law reform, David has worked in community development and health promotion, including HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health rights with LGBTIQ+ and First Nations communities, as well as research to better meet the needs of LGBTIQ+ refugees and people seeking asylum.
Dr Edward Morgan – Friday 2.45pm, Workshop “Imagining Transformed Cities”
Dr Ed Morgan is a transdisciplinary Research Fellow at the Policy Innovation Hub, Griffith University. His research focuses on policy, planning and governance for landscape and natural resource management, sustainable livelihoods, ecosystem-based climate change adaptation and environmental protection. His engagement role within the Policy Innovation Hub includes thinking about and developing new policy possibilities, building capacity for researchers to have better policy impact, and acting as a broker between government and researchers to improve policy impact. He is interested in imagining, identifying and developing opportunities in the response to climate change and its multiple cascading impacts.
Elyse Cunningham – Saturday 11am, Panel “The Better Buses Campaign”
Elyse Cunningham is the Sustainable Cities Collective Coordinator at Friends of the Earth Melbourne, who are currently running a campaign for Better Buses in Victoria. She has been organising with communities in Melbourne’s Western suburbs, who are facing the highest level of transport disadvantage as a result of the broken bus network, to advocate for their needs when it comes to public transport and enhancement of social equity. She is a passionate climate activist with an interest in how global systems of oppression show up at the local level and in our everyday lives.
Emma Bacon – Saturday 3pm, Plenary “Beating the Heat: Community action for cool cities”
Emma Bacon is a passionate organiser, campaigner and activist. Emma has worked across movements for social and environmental justice for over 10 years on campaigns including an international asbestos ban, 10 cent deposits on bottles and cans, and union campaigns with shopping centre cleaners. She has run successful political campaigns and been part of winning significant outcomes for progressive change at local to international levels. Emma founded Sweltering Cities, a new organisation that works directly with communities in our hottest suburbs to campaign and advocate for more liveable, equitable and sustainable cities. Since the beginning of 2020 Sweltering Cities has connected with thousands of people around the country who want to help create the cities, suburbs and homes of our future. Emma is committed to building a broad movement for climate justice.
Emma Davidson MLA – Saturday 11am, Plenary “Community Recovery from Covid: regenerative governing”
Emma Davidson MLA is a Member for Murrumbidgee, elected in 2020. A member of the ACT Greens, Emma is the Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Seniors and Veterans, and Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services. She has a wealth of experience, having worked in the community sector for many years. She has previously been the Convenor at Women’s Electoral Lobby, a Woden Valley Community Council committee member and Secretary at Pearce Community Centre. Emma has worked in social research and advocacy at the Women’s Centre for Health Matters and at Equality Rights Alliance, managed online communications for the Australian Medical Association, been Director of Information Management at Navy, worked in private sector software development, owned and managed a small retail business, and spent seven years working at Centrelink. She is committed to making sure we have the right infrastructure for our communities as the population grows and the climate changes.
Fiona Buining – Saturday 1.15pm, Plenary “What’s Next in Urban Farming”
Fiona Buining runs Ainslie Urban Farm where she grows microgreens for local restaurants. Her 1/4 block, developed following permaculture principles, has two greenhouses, over 50 fruit trees, nuts, berries, vegetables, beehives, chickens and working rabbits. Fiona is a passionate educator who works as a consultant and runs workshops and tours.
Fiona travelled for her Churchill Fellowship in 2022 to the USA, Canada, The UK and the Netherlands to investigate urban farm ventures that provide vocational pathways for aspiring food growers.
As the result of her Fellowship findings Fiona is working towards establishing an Urban Farm Incubator with a productive farm at the hub offering a continuum of training in urban farming including apprenticeships.
Gabriel Reese – Saturday 1.15pm, Plenary “Creating Food Resilient Neighbourhoods”
My first activism began when I found myself helping to reform the NZ/Aotearoa Green Party in 1989 as a passionate 23 year old, becoming a dedicated Green Party campaigner over the following five years. This experience and its impact on my worldview led to two decades working in the human rights, environment, animal rights and green political spheres – including being the Campaigns Manager/Director for Amnesty International, Compassion in World Farming, Greenpeace, Safe Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) and the NZ Greens National Campaign Manager for the 2008 elections. My activism also inspired me to complete a Masters degree in International Politics with a particular focus on underlying value-systems that connect transnational social movements. I have been working for two Greens Councillors (Jonno & Trina) at The Gabba Ward in Brisbane for the last six years.
Geoff Ebbs – Friday 2.45pm, Panel “The systemic challenges of urban agriculture”
Geoff sits on the Food Connect Foundation board, is author of Your Life Your Planet, and mentor for DESBT Qld. He researches urban food systems and teaches sustainable enterprise at Griffith University. He addressed the Urban Agriculture Round Table at Qld Parliament last November and appears regularly on 4ZZZ’s EcoRadio, recently interviewing Ross Garnaut on the challenges of decoupling economic growth from environmental harm.
Four times federal candidate for The Greens, Geoff’s experience as a journalist, broadcaster and speaker equip him to keep a diverse panel on topic, on time and on track.
Gill King – Saturday 11am, Panel “Resistance shows us how to get people out of the car and onto the street for active transport”
Gill King is a former public servant who brings together people and ideas for game-changing visions and strategies to help us survive and thrive in the face of ecological crises, particularly climate change. She focuses on integrity for flourishing in a habitable climate and specialises in framing, urban design, faith leadership, and investment. Gill has held leadership positions to increase the engagement of people of faith (especially Christians) on these matters. She is currently Convenor of Living Streets Canberra (a SEEChange group) and is helping to lead development of Transport Equity in Australia.
Helen Schwencke – Saturday 1.15pm, Panel “Inviting Nature to Dinner: the benefits of bringing biodiversity to our backyards”
Helen is passionate about Life on Earth as the truly wondrous, amazing, intricately and exquisitely complex and beautiful thing that it is, especially all the little creatures and how they live their lives and maintain a healthy environment. Receiving a list of butterfly host plants in the 1980s, she established the Butterfly & Other Invertebrates Club in 1994. She co-authored three books, and has been a frequent public speaker, and managed the Butterfly & Other Invertebrates Project at the Woodford Folk Festival for 16 years. Helen, a biologist/ecologist, is steward to 35yo butterfly and wildlife garden in West End, Brisbane.
Hira Sheikh – Saturday 1.15pm, Panel “Multi-species Justice in Brisbane”
I am an architect, artist-curator, and urban theorist. I have worked as a teaching and research assistant across the National University of Sciences and Technology (Pakistan), Utrecht University (Netherlands), and Queensland University of Technology (Australia) and as an urban planning consultant at UNDP (Pakistan). With a background in Architectural Design, I hold a Research Masters in Media, Art, and Performance Studies from Utrecht University. I am a doctoral researcher at the Queensland University of Technology. My research focuses on urban, digital, and political issues to explore multispecies justice. My work has been published in Regional Studies, Leonardo, Digital Geography and Society, and Routledge Handbook of Digital Environmental Humanities.
Hollie Cheung – Saturday 11am, Panel “The Climate Council’s Path to Better Transport”
Hollie is a researcher at the Climate Council. Her previous research has investigated climate-related financial risk for banks; and levers to transform decision making, such as defining the public interest and enabling constructive discourse at Next25. Hollie is passionate about social and climate justice, and creating a more equitable world for people and planet. At the Climate Council Hollie’s research focuses on clean transport and shifting our system toward public transport and active travel, alongside electric vehicles.
Holstein Wong – Saturday 3pm, Plenary “The Heat is Rising”
Holstein Wong is a member of the North Brisbane Greens and works in the resources sector, focusing on the energy transition for industry. As a resident and community advocate in Meanjin, Holstein is interested in how grassroots activities can shape and inform our cities in terms of planning and livability, and what actions can be taken by local residents to influence local decision-making processes to tackle urban heating.
Janet Rice – Saturday 11am, Workshop “Consensus in the city – a workshop on managing difficult politics”
Janet Rice has been a passionate campaigner for justice, people, and the planet for more than thirty years. She took her seat as a Greens Senator for Victoria in 2014. A climate scientist by training, Janet began her working life campaigning to protect our forests. She was part of the 1983 Franklin River Blockade, and a leader of the campaign that resulted in the creation of the Errinundra National Park in East Gippsland. Within a decade, she was a founding member of the Greens in Victoria. Janet is passionate about the power of facilitation and consensus decision making to help create a better world. She worked as a professional facilitator before entering parliament and believes that working collaboratively and aiming to reach consensus is the core value of the Greens that sets us apart from all other political parties. Janet keeps her facilitation skills well-honed with her roles as Federal Greens’ Party Room Chair, Chair of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee, and in multiple settings inside and outside of the Greens. Janet is the Australian Greens spokesperson for forests, older Australians, gambling, government, and social services.
Jonathan Sriranganathan – Friday 2.45pm, Workshop “Imagining Transformed Cities”
Jonathan Sriranganathan served as Councillor for the Gabba Ward of Brisbane City Council from March 2016 to April 2023, and was the first Greens city councillor elected anywhere in Queensland, representing an electorate of approximately 30 000 voters. Jonathan Sriranganathan is a writer, musician and community worker who has strongly critiqued unsustainable, profit-oriented mal-development, and believes that residents should have more say over how their city changes and evolves. Jonno currently lives with his partner Anna on a houseboat in East Brisbane, and in his limited spare time enjoys kayaking, chess, and rapping with his hip-hop band, Rivermouth.
Kara Pulou – Friday 2.5pm, Panel “The systemic challenges of urban agriculture”
Co-Founder and Manager of Kuppibunda Kitchen, Kara Pulou is working with young people in and out of youth detention across Queensland, teaching them the knowledge of bush tucker, to learn how to cook in a modern cuisine, and relevant industry skills to provide them the opportunity for work experience. Kara has a passion and interest for environment and culture, and has nearly three decades of experience as a hospitality trainer and assessor in the state school system. Prior to Kuppibunda Kitchen, she successfully ran a bush food inspired catering company called Platters on Willow for 13 years in Ipswich.
Dr Kat Lucas-Healey – Friday 11.15am, Plenary “Transforming Energy Systems: caring beyond the local”
Dr Kat Lucas-Healey is a research fellow in the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at the Australian National University. In addition to research, she has worked in energy efficiency policy, built environment sustainability and project development for electric vehicle charging and renewable energy. She brings a multi-disciplinary perspective to her work in energy social science research, and is interested in the social dimensions of the energy transition, technology trials and care ethics.
Kelly Saunders – Friday 1.30pm, Plenary “Reimagining Care: new starting points for policy reform”
Kelly Saunders is a PhD Candidate with the Faculty of Business, Government and Law at the University of Canberra. Her research into hoped-for ‘care futures’ challenges the primacy of work to reclaim the transgressive potential of care. Kelly has an Arts/Law degree from Monash University and worked for many years in law and public policy in Australia and France. With the birth of her daughter, Kelly sought flexibility in work and care. She started a consultancy in gender, mobility and public space and consults to clients including The World Bank, Arup, SNCF Railways and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
Dr Kim Osman – Saturday 3pm, Workshop “Digital inclusion and housing justice”
Dr Kim Osman is a Senior Research Associate with the Digital Media Research Centre at the Queensland University of Technology. She explores the complex relationship between digital and social inclusion focusing on the role of social infrastructure and informal education in improving digital literacies and wellbeing. Kim is currently researching how low-income families access and use technology for education and parenting as part of their everyday lives.
Larissa Waters – Saturday 9am, Plenary “Protest and the city panel”
Larissa Waters is the first Greens Senator for Queensland and is the Greens Leader in the Senate of the Australian Greens. She took office in July 2011 and is the Federal spokesperson on Women and Democracy. Senator Waters is an environmental lawyer who worked in the community sector for 9 years advising people how to use the law to protect the environment. She was named Australian Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year 2010 by the Law Council of Australia. She is passionate about representative democracy and public participation, accountability in government, equality for women, and protecting our environment. As Leader of the Australian Greens in the Senate, she is working to improve federal laws to put an end to domestic and family violence, promote gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, transition to renewable energy sources, and clean up politics by ending corporate donations to political parties which buy favours for the big end of town. She lives in Meanjin (Brisbane) with her two young daughters, the younger of whom caused a bit of a stir when she became the first baby to be breastfed in our federal parliament.
Mandy Nolan – Friday 7pm, Social Event “Getting past NIMBY vs YIMBY”!
Mandy Nolan has been a comedian for over three decades. As a loud mouth lefty feminist she’s long used the platform not just to make jokes, but also to champion the big issues. Last Federal election as the Greens Candidate she came within a whisker of turning her regional Richmond seat in Northern NSW Green. Where she lives Mandy jokes are as much part of the vernacular as surfspeak. She’s authored The Soapbox, the most popular opinion piece in the region’s iconic Echo newspaper for 21 years. It’s seen her invited to pen pieces for the Sydney Morning Herald, Quarterly magazine Lunchlady and work as one of the most in demand writers and podcast host for Mamamia. Sydney Morning Herald’s Bruce Elder called Nolan ‘the country’s sharpest and wittiest comedic columnist’. Mandy is also the author of 5 books, the mother of 5 children and the Greens Candidate for the winnable seat of Richmond.
Marci Webster Mannison – Saturday 1.15pm, Panel “Embodied water: giving nature a voice in cities”
Marci is Head of MDS (Melbourne Design Studios) in Queensland and New South Wales. Marci’s award-winning architecture and urban design address climate change adaptation at tipping of our collective future. Amongst over twenty state, national and international awards for their architecture, Marci received a Special Jury Award (AIA), for contribution to the advancement of architecture and environmentally sensitive design, and the Australian Smart Infrastructure Research Award for Green Infrastructure: Connecting People with Landscapes through Urban Retrofitting.
Professor Marcus Foth – Saturday 3pm, Workshop “Digital inclusion and housing justice”
Marcus Foth is a Professor of Urban Informatics in the School of Design and a Chief Investigator in the QUT Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC), Faculty of Creative Industries, Education, and Social Justice, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. He is a founding member of the More-than-Human Futures research group. Marcus’ research brings together people, place, and technology.
Associate Professor Mark Diesendorf – Saturday 11am, Plenary “Campaign Strategy for Transformative Democracy”
Dr Mark Diesendorf is Honorary Associate Professor in Environment & Society, School of Humanities & Languages at UNSW Sydney. From 1996 to 2001 he was Professor of Environmental Science and Founding Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at University of Technology Sydney. His most recent book is The Path to a Sustainable Civilisation: Technological, Socioeconomic and Political Change (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023). He enjoys bushwalking and kayaking.
Michael Berkman Greens MP for Maiwar – Friday 7pm, Social Event “Getting past NIMBY vs YIMBY”!
Michael Berkman has been the Member for Maiwar since 2017, when he became the first Greens MP elected to Queensland Parliament. As the Queensland Greens spokesperson for Local Government and Planning, Michael has a strong focus on the impact that profit-driven development has on local communities.
Michael Bromage – Friday 11.15am, Plenary “Trust Builds Better Third Spaces”
Michael Bromage is a PhD candidate with the School of Design and Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology. His research explores the power of the creative underground in regional cities to produce social and economic outcomes. He is a facilitator for creativity and innovation with an interest in creative communities and how people pursue ideas and solve problems. He has worked across local government in roles for public venues, libraries, and award-winning media, marketing, and communications teams and was an award-winning ABC Open producer for Australia’s national broadcaster.
Mitch Alexander – Friday 1.30pm, Panel “Paved Paradise and Put Up Apartment Blocks – music venues and housing”
Mitch is a 34yr old metalhead, comedian, socialist, utilitarian, environmentalist, unionist who hates labels. He has a Masters in Philosophy from Monash University that is endlessly useful and practical, 20 years of live performance experience as a vocalist and stand-up comic, and he currently works as an Electorate Officer for Victorian Greens State MP Kat Copsey.
Mundanara Bayles – Friday 9.15am, Plenary “The Land Back”
Mundanara’s cultural heritage is connected to the Wonnarua and Bunjalung people on her mother’s side and the Birri-Gubba and Gungalu on her father’s side. Mundanara grew up in Redfern NSW with her 8 sisters and moved to her father’s country in the early 90’s. Mundanara is the Managing Director and co-founder of the BlackCard Pty Ltd, which is a 100% Aboriginal owned business certified with Supply Nation. Mundanara co-founded BlackCard with Dr Lilla Watson, who is a respected Aboriginal elder, artist, educator and academic. Mundanara has been recognised internationally for her teaching & learning skills as an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA) in the United Kingdom. Mundanara is a co-founder and Director of the Land Back Foundation.
Dr Natalie Osborne – Friday 2.45pm, Workshop “Imagining Transformed Cities”
Dr Natalie Osborne is a critical urban geographer and Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and Built Environment, Griffith University. She is interested in feminist, queer, anti-colonial and crip practices of thinking and organising around urban and climate justice, and how we can resist alt-right and eco-fascist responses to social and environmental crises. She is a co-producer of Radio Reversal, a critical theory and politics program broadcast on 4ZZZ 102.1FM, and an organiser with the Brisbane Free University.
Nina Ginsberg – Friday 11.15am, Plenary “More than bikes: active travel reinvigorating our cities”
Nina Ginsberg is an avid bicycle researcher, writer, teacher, creative and blogger. She produces award-winning programs and has been the driving force behind the blog Bicycles Create Change since 2015. Nina’s research uses emerging post-qualitative research methodologies to unpack social justice issues relating to community development, gender, movement and education. Her current project explores how bikes feature for girls’ access to secondary education in Sierra Leone. Nina lives, loves, learns and rides on the Narlang lands of the Quandamooka peoples (Bayside, Brisbane).
Dr Rajni Gamage – Saturday 11am, Plenary “Democratic transformation and urban re-imagination during periods of political crisis: Experimenting with a protest “village” in Colombo (Sri Lanka)”
Dr Rajni Gamage is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore since July 2022. Her research focus is on elite politics and the politics of development in Sri Lanka. Previously, she worked as a researcher in Sri Lanka and in Singapore. She graduated with a PhD in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Queensland, Ausralia, in 2022. She holds a MSc in International Relations from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Relations, NTU, Singapore and a B.Soc.Sc. in Political Science from the National University of Singapore.
Rebecca Vassarotti MLA – Friday 7pm, Social Event “Getting past NIMBY vs YIMBY”!
Rebecca Vassarotti is a Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly and the first Greens Environment Minister in Australia.
Rebecca has extensive experience in the community sector, having previously been the head of local feminist organisation, YWCA Canberra for over 10 years.
Rebecca has been a long-term advocate for social justice and equality. Throughout her career, she has taken a keen focus to addressing issues like gender equity, homelessness, affordable housing, gambling reform and drug harm reduction.
Rebecca is a passionate and driven person who has dedicated her life to advocating for the issues that matter most Australians in need. She firmly believes that local decisions can have a profound impact on the future of our city and is committed to ensuring that Canberra remains a liveable and sustainable place for generations to come.
Robert Pekin – Friday 2.45pm, Plenary “The systemic challenges of urban agriculture”
Over the past two decades, Robert and co-founder Emma-Kate Rose have successfully worked with communities to initiate, support and inspire ethical food distribution enterprises across Australia. The Food Connect business model is trail-blazing a path towards re-localised and seasonal eating, thereby creating a more resilient food system. Food Connect works to connect a community that values a fair, healthy and flourishing food culture, where food and the work of those who grow, produce, process, transport and distribute it are recognised and rewarded fairly.
Ryan McNeilly Smith – Saturday 3pm, Panel “Beating the Heat: Community action for cool cities”
Ryan McNeilly Smith is a town planner and urban climate specialist. Ryan draws upon his research as PhD Candidate to investigate, analyse and develop evidence-based responses to heat hazards. Ryan is passionate about using his practice to create and sustain just and equitable settlements.
Dr Samid Suliman – Friday 2.45pm, Workshop “Imagining Transformed Cities”
Dr Samid Suliman is Lecturer, Migration and Security in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Griffith University and a member of the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research. His research is interested in mobilities, development and protest.
Dr Simon Copland – Friday 2.5pm, Plenary “The Suburb and the Far Right”
Dr Simon Copland is the Executive Director of Pedal Power ACT, Canberra’s oldest and largest cycling organisation. In his role Copland is advocating for a mass increase in investment in cycling infrastructure in the ACT. Simon completed his PhD in Sociology at the Australian National University (ANU), studying online men’s rights groups and communities ‘manosphere’. He has research expertise in masculinity, the far-right, online hate, and digital media platforms. He has a Masters in Science Communication.
Stephen Bates – Friday 7pm, Social Event “Getting past NIMBY vs YIMBY”!
Stephen Bates was elected as the first Greens MP for the federal electorate of Brisbane in the 2022 Australian federal election. He holds a Bachelor of Social Science with a major in social and public policy, and worked as a retail employee prior to his election. He is proudly gay, a staunch unionist, and holds the Australian Greens portfolios for Youth and LGBTIQA+.
Clr Sylvie Ellsmore, Deputy Mayor of Sydney – Friday 1.30pm, Panel “How Cities Can Radically Increase Public And Affordable Housing”
Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore is the Deputy Mayor of the City of Sydney Council (2022-2023), and a former Councillor on Marrickville Council (in Sydney’s inner west). She was elected as a Greens Councillor to the City of Sydney Council in 2021.
Councillor Ellsmore is a founding member and Chair of the City of Sydney’s Housing for All Working Group, and Deputy Chair of the City’s Housing for All Committee.
During her time as a City of Sydney Councillor, Councillor Ellsmore has helped stop the sell-off of public housing, secured free community space hire for community groups, increased developer contributions for affordable housing, campaigned against anti-protest laws and police intimidation, pushed the city to ban fossil fuel advertising, exposed special deals made to benefit the Star Casino, organised for the first Trans and Gender Diverse Swim Day in the city (the first of many), protected public parks and made it easier to reclaim the streets for community street parties.
As a Marrickville Councillor she led the Council’s affordable housing work including establishing the Council’s first affordable housing officer and securing Council owned public housing (adjoining in the award winning Marrickville Library site).
She is a volunteer karate teacher at Jin Sei Ryu Karate Do (Darlington) and a founding member of the Redfern, Eveleigh, Darlington, Waterloo Watch (REDWatch) residents’ action groups. She lives in the inner city with her partner and two dogs.
Terry Leahy – Friday 2.45pm, Plenary “Are Large Cities Viable Without Fossil Fuels: an alternative urbanism”
Terry Leahy is now living in Melbourne, Australia, having retired from his academic position at University of Newcastle at the end of 2016. Between 1974 and 1988 he worked at the University of NSW in Sociology and from 1990 to 2016 at the University of Newcastle. Terry Leahy’s current writing and research investigates three related topics. Sustainable agriculture and food security. The global environmental crisis. The philosophy of the social sciences. His work is framed by a critique of capitalism and patriarchy. His most recent publications include a study of permaculture as a social movement The Politics of Permaculture, a sociological analysis of food insecurity in Africa Food Security for Rural Africa: Feeding the Farmers First, a documentary on a permaculture project in Zimbabwe – The Chikukwa Project – and a book on social theory – Humanist Realism for Sociologists.
Tharini Apolline Rouwette – Friday 1.30pm, Workshop “Strengthening Australian Democracy by Building Multicultural Community Resilience and Capacity”
Tharini Rouwette is the founder and CEO of Allies in Colour and The Centre of Multicultural Political Engagement, Literacy, and Leadership (COMPELL). A seasoned political campaigner and organiser across Singapore, USA, and Australia. Having worked in media and technology for over 15 years, Tharini combines this knowledge to her political campaigning. Her most notable campaign efforts were for Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign in 2020. Recently, she was recognised for her data collection efforts in the Australian Federal election focusing on ethnically diverse candidates. Tharini works closely with multicultural grassroots community groups and builds their capacity to self-advocate and teaches them how to run for office.
Thiago Barbosa is an agroforestry pioneer in Australia who for the past 10 years has been spreading the knowledge of this unique food production and land management technique. Driven by a deep respect for the natural world, Thiago has helped countless individuals, from backyard gardeners to farmers to transition from conventional to more ecologically sound practices. Beyond his practical expertise, Thiago is also a gifted teacher and communicator. His engaging workshops and talks have inspired audiences across Australia and around the world. His enthusiasm is contagious, and he encourages everyone around him to take action toward a better future.
Tim Hollo – Friday 9.15am, Plenary “Opening address”
A highly regarded environmentalist, community builder and musician, Tim Hollo is Executive Director of the Green Institute, where he leads research and discussions around issues such as ecological politics, deep democracy, rights of nature, and Universal Basic Income. He is the founder of Green Music Australia, has been a visiting fellow at the ANU’s RegNet, was previously Communications Director for Greens Leader Christine Milne, and has been a board member and campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific. He is a Visiting Fellow at Sydney University’s Sydney Environment Institute. With his band, FourPlay String Quartet, he has recorded 7 albums and toured nationally and globally, from Woodford Folk Festival to New York’s Carnegie Hall. Living in Canberra with his partner and two kids, Tim established the city’s flourishing Buy Nothing Groups, set up a little library, and spearheaded a campaign to keep billboard advertising out of Canberra. He has run for election as the Greens candidate for Canberra. Tim’s writing has been widely published, including in The Griffith Review, Meanjin, ABC, Crikey, The Canberra Times and The Age. Living Democracy: an ecological manifesto for the end of the world as we know it is Tim’s first book.
Trina Massey – Friday 11.15am, Panel “More than bikes: active travel reinvigorating our cities”
Trina Massey, the Greens’ local Councillor for the Gabba Ward, is an Arts and Creative Industries administrator, DJ, renter, Political Science and History major, and a proud queer woman and immigrant of Filipino and African American ethnicity. The Gabba Ward is where Trina has lived, worked, and built relationships – and as its local Councillor, her priorities are on transportation connectivity, housing affordability, green spaces, and the Arts. She sees this issues as interwoven and to be considered alongside the others. Trina uses her platform to amplify the voices of the diverse intersections of communities she belongs to, making sure these local issues are viewed and advocated for through a lens of social justice and collective struggle.
Violet Coco – Saturday 9am, Plenary “Protest and the city panel”
Violet was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison for blocking the harbour bridge under the banner Fireproof Australia, a campaign supporting firefighters. Her sentence was dropped on appeal. She feels this repression should not waver our commitment to defend our liveable planet. Violet has been arrested 32 times, and imprisoned four times. Most notably, for burning a pram outside parliament house, the same day the IPCC released a code red for humanity due to climate breakdown. Violet Coco describes herself as a conscientious objector to the murder of our planet. She has been apart of organising major disruptive festivals with Extinction Rebellion, supported First Nations and the decolonization of so called ‘Australia’, while also advocating for justice for women, refugees, and queer communities.
Wendy Aghdam – Friday 1.30pm, Plenary “Engaging youth as community partners, not community’s problem”.
Wendy Aghdam (she/her) is a young person’s mental health nurse with nearly 20 years experience working and volunteering with children, adolescents, families and the community. As a program coordinator she has worked with thousands of school staff to enhance their capacity to prevent and respond to mental health concerns within their communities. Currently, as the Greens candidate for Central Ward in the upcoming local government elections, set for March 2024, Wendy hopes to bring her knowledge of population health promotion to help promote inclusion and engagement in local decision making and sustainable care for community and country.
Dr Wendy Russell – Friday 11.15am, Plenary “Transforming Energy Systems: caring beyond the local”
Dr A. Wendy Russell is a research fellow in the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program, Australian National University, an associate of the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, ANU and an associate of the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra. She is an engagement practitioner and Director of Double Arrow Consulting, a business specialising in deliberative engagement. She has previously worked in government and as an academic at the University of Wollongong. Wendy identifies as a transdisciplinary pracademic and lacks respect for boundaries.