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Amal Awad is a journalist, author and screenwriter who is focused on issues of society, religion and popular culture. She is the author of four books and is involved in several screenwriting projects. Amal is also a public speaker and has produced and presented for ABC Radio National.» Read more about Amal Awad
Amanda (AJ) Betts is an award-winning author, teacher and cyclist, living in Perth. Her novel ‘Zac and Mia’ won the 2012 Text Prize for best unpublished manuscript.» Read more about Amanda Betts
Thomas Caldwell is a writer, broadcaster, film critic, public speaker and film programmer. He is a specialist in film analysis and programming films for children and teenagers, and is the author of the secondary school textbook Film Analysis Handbook, which was published in 2005 by Insight Publications, with a revised edition published in 2017.
He has been delivering film as text lectures to English and Literature students, as well as teacher workshops on film analysis, for almost two decades. He can deliver presentations on specific films on request and some of the films he has previously lectured on include Rear Window (1954), All About Eve (1950), On the Waterfront (1954), The Truman Show (1998), Batman Begins (2005), Skyfall (2012), The Player (1992), Gattaca (1997), The Dark Knight (2008), 500 Days of Summer (2009), Paradise Road (1997), Water (2005), Look Both Ways (2005) and Blade Runner (1982).
Thomas is currently the Artistic Director of the Children’s International Film Festival (Australia) and formally worked as a film programmer at the Melbourne International Film Festival, which included programming MIFF Schools (formally Next Gen) for six years.
He can be heard reviewing films on Afternoons once a fortnight on ABC Radio Melbourne, and was previously a regular guest on The Book Show (formerly Books and Arts) on ABC RN where he discussed book to film adaptations. Thomas used to also be a regular voice on Triple R (3RRR 102.7FM) as the producer and co-host of film criticism show Plato’s Cave and the film reviewer on the Breakfasters.
Thomas is experienced delivering film as text lectures and workshops to students and teachers, moderating Q&As, hosting In Conversation events and taking part in panel discussions. His film reviews, articles and interviews have appeared in The Age, Overland Literary Journal, Senses of Cinema, Metro, Screen Education and The Big Issue. He won the Ivan Hutchinson Award for Writing on Australian Film in the 2010 and 2015 Australian Film Critics Association (AFCA) Writing Awards.
Click here to read Thomas’s interview with the University of Melbourne about his career.» Read more about Thomas Caldwell
Paul Dillon has a unique investment in the wellbeing of young people. Founder of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia and a former school teacher, Paul continues to conduct drug information sessions and workshops for school students across Australia and internationally, in countries as diverse as the UK, the Phillipines, and Indonesia.» Read more about Paul Dillon (DARTA)
Jackie was the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2014/15 and the 2015 Senior Australian of the Year. She is also an historian, ecologist, dyslexic, and a passionate worker for literacy, the right of all children to be able to read, and the power of books.
Jackie’s writing career spans 25 years, 148 wombats, over 140 books, 36 languages, 3,721 bush rats, and over 60 awards in Australia and overseas.» Read more about Jackie French
Sean aims to give parents, teachers and students greater insight and the practical tools to foster health and wellbeing along with academic and sporting achievement.» Read more about Sean Fyfe
Writer and social researcher Maggie Hamilton gives frequent talks and lectures; is a regular media commentator and a keen observer of social trends. She has held a number of senior roles in publishing and at the ABC. Her professional memberships have included serving on the Executive of the Sydney Peace Foundation.
Maggie enjoys sharing her research in a lively and engaging way with community groups, and at numerous conferences across Australia and New Zealand.
Her books, have been published in over a dozen countries worldwide, and include What Men Don’t Talk About, which examines the lives of real men and boys; What’s Happening to Our Girls? and What’s Happening to Our Boys? which examines the 21st century issues boys and girls face; and now When We Become Strangers; How Loneliness Leaks Into Our Lives and What We Can Do About It. www.maggiehamilton.org» Read more about Maggie Hamilton
Lili Wilkinson is a reader and writer of YA literature. She is the author of nine books for teenagers, and has a PhD in Creative Writing.» Read more about Lili Wilkinson
Shane Horsburgh is a re-definer of masculinity, constantly challenging the accepted interpretation of what a ‘real man’ is and how this view impacts our everyday lives. From counter-terrorism operative to author, educator and sometime stage actor, Shane’s inspirational and engaging style helps young men become better students, friends, partners and husbands. He has been engaged to speak at the National Press Club and TEDx to national and international audiences.» Read more about Shane Horsburgh
Bec Kavanagh is a Melbourne-based writer and academic whose work examines the representation of women’s bodies in literature.
She has appeared at the Melbourne & Sydney Writers Festivals and on Radio National’s Books and Arts Daily. Bec has judged a number of literary prizes, including the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, and her reviews can be found in The Australian, Bookseller & Publisher and Australian Book Review. She has written fiction and non-fiction for a number of publications including Westerly, Meanjin, Review of Australian Fiction and the Shuffle anthology.
Bec was the Schools Manager for the Stella Prize for five years, and is currently Schools Programmer at the Wheeler Centre and a sessional tutor and academic at LaTrobe University.
https://twitter.com/beckavanagh (@beckavanagh)» Read more about Bec Kavanagh
Claire Madden is a social researcher, media commentator and next-gen expert, fluent in social media, youth culture, and engagement styles of these global generations, and a professional in interpreting what this means for educators, managers and marketers. Claire is in demand for her skill in effectively identifying the emerging trends and assisting business leaders to strategically respond to them.
Hello Gen Z reveals the critical importance of knowing how to engage this generation of hyperconnected, agile and adaptive digital savants as employees, consumers and emerging leaders. Hello Gen Z is required reading for any organisation wanting to future-proof and unlock the potential of the Post-Millennials.» Read more about Claire Madden
Ellie Marney is a teacher and an author of fiction for Young Adults. Her YA crime trilogy, the Every series, and her YA standalone, White Night, have been critically and commercially successful in Australia and overseas – her debut, Every Breath, was shortlisted for the Gold Inky Award, the Ned Kelly Award and the Sisters in Crime Davitt Award (YA), and in 2015 was named by the Australian Library Information Association as one of the top ten most-borrowed YA books in Australian libraries.
In the last two years she has diversified by independently publishing the Every series companion novel, No Limits, as well as a new YA rom-crime series, Circus Hearts. Ellie has been involved in the creation of the national campaign called #LoveOzYA to promote and advocate for Australian YA literature. She contributed to the critically-acclaimed Begin End Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, and runs the popular #LoveOzYAbookclub online. She also co-coordinates an online info-sharing group for Australian women self-publishers.
Ellie is a regular speaker at festivals and events, teaches writing and publishing through Writers Victoria, and advocates for Australian women’s writing as a Stella Ambassador in schools. She lives in regional north-central Victoria, with her partner (also a teacher) and their four sons» Read more about Ellie Marney
Dr Michael Nagel is an Associate Professor and the Head of Education Programs in the School of Science in Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Dr Nagel teaches and researches in the areas of cognition, behaviour and learning and human development and early learning.» Read more about Dr Michael Nagel
Josh Nelson (PhD) is an academic, broadcaster and filmmaker. He worked as a lecturer at The University of Melbourne in Visual Arts for a number of years and has extensive experience presenting to secondary schools across the state on film and media-related topics.
His writing has been published in two volumes of the Directory of World Cinema (Intellect Books), and in journals such as Overland, Kill Your Darlings, Screening the Past and Senses of Cinema. In 2013 Josh received the Ivan Hutchinson Award for Writing on Australian Film by the Australian Film Critics Association (AFCA).
Josh is also the former co-host of the long-running Triple R (102.7 FM) film show Plato’s Cave, and was the resident film critic on the Drive program with Rafael Epstein on ABC Melbourne. He currently works for the Melbourne International Film Festival as an education specialist within the MIFF Schools program.» Read more about Josh Nelson
Marissa Pinkas is an experienced educator with 20 years of dedication in varied educational environments in South Africa, Western Australia and Victoria. Currently she is completing her Masters in Education at the University of Melbourne, specialising in Collaborative Learning. Marissa is an expert on the Context section of the VCE English curriculum.» Read more about Marissa Pinkas
Louise will be touring Melbourne from the 9-13 August in 2021.
Louise writes books for children under her own name as well as several secret identities including H. I. Larry, Mac Park and Poppy Rose. She loves writing books with action and grand adventures and is the author of the best-selling series Zac Power Test Drive, Bella Dancerella and Star Girl—soon to be a television series. She is also the co-author of Boy vs Beast.
Louise loves nothing better than taking students on huge adventures and helping them to craft action-packed stories of their own. Learn more about her at her website.» Read more about Louise Park
Daniel Witthaus has spent the past two decades challenging homophobia one cuppa at a time in schools, rural communities and, occasionally, developing countries like Sri Lanka, Poland and Indonesia. He is the author of Beyond Priscilla: one gay man, one gay truck, one big idea… (2014), Beyond ‘That’s So Gay!’: Challenging homophobia in Australian schools (2010) and the Pride & Prejudice educational package (2002, 2012) – which won three Tasmanian schools Human Rights Week awards.
In 2013 Daniel founded the National Institute for Challenging Homophobia Education (NICHE), which focuses on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in regional, rural and remote Australia. NICHE has had success with both the YourStory cartoon series and the oi! challenging rural homophobia campaign.» Read more about Daniel Witthaus
Maxine Mckewʼs background is in journalism and politics. For many years she was a familiar face to ABC TV viewers and was anchor of prestigious programmes such as Lateline and 7.30 Report. Her work has been recognised by her peers and she is a recipient of both Logie and Walkely awards. When she left broadcasting and made the switch to politics, she wrote herself into the Australian history books by defeating Prime Minister John Howard in the Sydney seat of Bennelong. In government she was both parliamentary secretary for early childhood, and later for infrastructure and local government.
Following the success of her political memoir, Tales from the Political Trenches, published in 2012, Maxine McKewʼs new book Class Act looks at some of the most important questions in Australian education. Maxine has been a Vice Chancellorʼs Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Located in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education she has drawn on the expertise and substantial research of the school to inform her stories of success and challenge in Australian education.
Maxine now lives in Melbourne where she continues to work on a range of activities at the University of Melbourne. She is a director of three boards, Per Capita, the John Cain Foundation and the State Library of Victoria.» Read more about Maxine McKew
Author, educator, actor and broadcaster, David has over a quarter of a century of experience in education, having headed English departments and run workshops for students and professional development for teachers. He has authored novels and developed curriculum resources that are sold nationally and internationally. He has an engaging presentation style encouraging active participation where possible.» Read more about David McLean
Nicholas Jones is a contemporary visual artist specialising in book sculpture. Nicholas is available for different kinds of events including workshops, literary festivals and artist residencies.» Read more about Nicholas Jones
Damon Young combines a love of ideas and language with a fun, entertaining style. And lots of superhero t-shirts.» Read more about Damon Young
Aviva Reed is a visual ecologist, illustrator and collaborator on the Small Friends book project; a series of science-adventure storybooks created by artists, writers, scientists and educators that explores symbiotic relationships between microbes and larger forms of life.» Read more about Aviva Reed
Ron is a much loved and highly respected Victorian Indigenous educator, storyteller and musician. He is in demand as a speaker, sharing his knowledge of Indigenous culture with passion, honesty and humour.» Read more about Ron Murray
Industrial designer, hack engineer, DIY aquaculturalist and illustrator Stephen Mushin collaborates with scientists, and engineers in underground workshops to solve ‘elephant in the room’ scale ecological problems.» Read more about Stephen Mushin
Jacqueline will be touring Melbourne from the 16-20 August in 2021.
Jacqueline Harvey is the author of 40 novels for younger readers and a Children’s Book Council of Australia, award winning picture book. Her bestselling Alice-Miranda, Clementine Rose and Kensy and Max series are all published internationally and have garnered various short listings and awards. Jacqueline travels widely, speaking and teaching in Australia and overseas.» Read more about Jacqueline Harvey
Jake Wilson is a freelance writer whose film reviews appear weekly in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and other Fairfax Media publications. His book Mad Dog Morgan, a critical study of the film of the same name, was published in 2015 as part of the Australian Screen Classics series.» Read more about Jake Wilson
Kate Mildenhall is a writer and educator who has worked in schools, at the State Library of Victoria and has volunteered with Teachers Across Borders in Cambodia. Her debut novel, Skylarking, based on the true story of best friends growing up on a remote Cape in 1880s Australia, was published in 2016.» Read more about Kate Mildenhall
Tasneem is a whole lot of parts, symbolising the hybrid identity of today’s global citizen, which she speaks to with sheer wit. She is an East African born, Indian origin, Bendigo raised, Melbourne loving, daughter, mother, middle-child, karaoke swooning, sleep deprived, vertically challenged, feminist, Muslim, exhausted, activist – and she won’t compromise on any of those titles.» Read more about Tasneem Chopra
Nevo is a young, passionate activist and writer. They also happen to be transgender and identify as non-binary. Releasing their memoir, Finding Nevo, on gender and sexuality at the age of 21, Nevo is unafraid to delve into difficult and often taboo topics while remaining relatable and engaging.» Read more about Nevo Zisin
Kay Perry is a teacher and examiner with decades of experience in the teaching of Literature and English at tertiary and senior secondary levels. She is the author of several study guides and is yet to respond to the advice to “put down that book and go outside”.» Read more about Kay Perry
Nathan’s unique blend of humour and sincerity is unanimously well received. He gains an immediate rapport with audiences via his dynamic storytelling and his work as a sports presenter on Channel 9 and Fox Sports having covered NBL & WNBL basketball, AFL footy, Big Bash Cricket, A-League Soccer, Super Rugby and Super Netball.
He retains ongoing engagement and captivation with laughter and entertaining interaction being underpinned by his raw authenticity and integrity. Nathan’s honesty in recounting stories of failure, rejection and grief from his own journey strike a chord with any audience.
15 years of experience as a speaker and working with youth equip Nathan with the ability to tailor the ideal presentation for your group. His current position as a Boarding Duty Master and Director of Basketball at St Ignatius College Riverview ensures he is on point with teen culture and trends.» Read more about Nathan Strempel
No one defies the computer science stereotype quite like Ally Watson with her charming Scottish accent, disarming wit and colourfully tattooed skin. Her unique and refreshing insights into the life of a female developer in a male-dominated industry allow for the delivery of thought-provoking and action-inspiring presentations that are deemed to spark positive change in the technology industry.» Read more about Ally Watson
Leonie Smith (aka The Cyber Safety Lady) is one of Australia’s leading Cyber Safety experts. She is passionate about empowering children, teens and adults to take positive, preemptive steps to stay safer online. She’s done the hard yards as a mum of 4. Leonie has spoken to thousands of students, teachers, parents, seniors and business, Australia wide. Her practical and sometimes technical solutions for online safety have been called life changing!
Cyber Safety is more important now than ever with the numbers of students online increasing significantly due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Large meetings and school assemblies are now not possible and students are using remote learning tools in a whole new way!
Leonie is now taking webinar and video presentation bookings for 2021 to assist your school or business in navigating the increase in online exposure during the current climate. We have interactive sessions developed to provide specific content to each of the following audiences:
» Read more about The Cyber Safety Lady
Sophie Jamieson is a qualified Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist specialising in food systems, nutrition and sustainability. Sophie is passionate about creating a healthy, fair and sustainable food system where people enjoy good food that makes people feel good, learn well, grow strong and succeed in sport.
Drawing on her vast experience in food, nutrition and sustainability, Sophie cuts through the noise to revel the key information and strategies her audience needs to make informed decision about what they grow and eat.» Read more about Sophie Jamieson
Ingrid Laguna is a dynamic and engaging author, educator, musician and inspirational speaker. She is the author of junior fiction novel Songbird, a story about a young Iraqi, Muslim girl struggling to fit into her new life in an outer suburb of Melbourne. Drawing on over five years of experience working with school-aged new arrivals to Australia, many from refugee backgrounds, Ingrid uses a range of strategies to support students to tell their stories in a way that is engaging and alive, with strong characters and effective language choices.» Read more about Ingrid Laguna
Dr Jared Thomas is a Nukunu person of the Southern Flinders Ranges and the Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Material Cultural at the South Australian Museum and an international award-winning author.» Read more about Jared Thomas
Erin Rhoads talks and writes about the difference we can make by reducing our waste.
Erin has been sharing her zero-waste and plastic-free lifestyle on Australia’s popular eco lifestyle blog therogueginger.com since 2013. She was a consultant on ABCs War on Waste; is a regular contributor on ABC Radio, and has shared her tips for a zero-waste life with thousands at workshops, talks and forums around Australia.
Her first book Waste Not: Make a big difference by throwing away less was released July 2018, followed with Waste Not Everyday. She is currently writing her first Children’s book.» Read more about Erin Rhoads
Cofounders of PROJECT ROCKIT, Lucy and Rosie Thomas have dedicated their lives to making the world better for young people. The pair launched PROJECT ROCKIT when they were fresh out of school and restless for change on issues of bullying, hate and prejudice. Over a decade later, PROJECT ROCKIT is a thriving social enterprise, reaching hundreds of thousands of students and serving as a cyber safety partner to major social media platforms. Rosie and Lucy regularly appear in the media and have received numerous awards honouring their work.
Although three years apart, the Thomas sisters hold a shared vision that has translated into a strong social impact. They have both received Order of Australia medals, been named by UNICEF among 12 Digital Champions for Children’s Rights in the Digital Age and are recipients of the global Family Online Safety Institute’s award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Online Safety.’ Together the duo sit on a range of boards including Facebook’s Global Safety Board, Twitter’s Global Trust and Safety Council and the Australian Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s Online Safety Consultative Working Group.
Rosie and Lucy are able to offer online sessions during Term 2 due to the coronavirus disrupting learning in many states. Please contact us for more information.» Read more about Lucy and Rosie Thomas: PROJECT ROCKIT
Lucy Thomas is the cofounder and CEO of PROJECT ROCKIT, Australia’s youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice, Lucy has dedicated her whole life to empowering school students to improve the world around them. She has personally worked with thousands of young people all over the world, from Wangaratta to Texas, Wollongong to Auckland, Atherton to Perth.
Hear the story of how a simple idea grew into an enduring social movement and leave the session with simple, safe and socially credible strategies for challenging (cyber)bullying. As a keynote speaker, social entrepreneur and facilitator, Lucy is a mighty force of kindness, equipped with the precious ability to creatively engage young people to generate positive social change.» Read more about Lucy Thomas OAM
Rosie Thomas OAM has been hungry for creating positive change ever since she can remember. She launched PROJECT ROCKIT with her sister when she was fresh out of high school, and 15 years on it has grown into Australia’s youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice, impacting half a million young Australians. In her role as CEO, Rosie serves on the Global Safety Advisory Boards of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and is passionate about engineering a kinder digital world. Rosie is a highly experienced and passionate (brace yourselves) speaker and is committed to helping her audience realise their own unique purpose and ability to change the world for good.» Read more about Rosie Thomas OAM
Nikki is known as Australia’s most honest author. Whether it’s her provocative novel The Bride Stripped Bare; After, her non fiction book about the euthanasia death of her mother, or her highly popular column in the Weekend Australian magazine (which tackles many issues pertinent to educators and students,) she gets the nation thinking. She’s also written two series of books for primary aged school children.» Read more about Nikki Gemmell
Astrid Edwards is an interviewer, podcaster and advocate.
She is a bibliophile and hosts two bookish podcasts – The Garret: Writers on Writing and Anonymous Was A Woman. She serves as the Deputy Chair of Melbourne Writers Festival and teaches professional writing at RMIT University.
Astrid has Multiple Sclerosis and is a Member of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council advising the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers.» Read more about Astrid Edwards
Dr Jodi Richardson is dedicated to elevating the mental health and wellbeing of others. She empowers parents, educators and other professionals with practical skills and techniques for maximising wellbeing and overcoming the inattention, overwhelm and avoidance that come with anxiety.» Read more about Dr Jodi Richardson
Dip Tch, BA, BSW, MAPP, FACEL
Chris is a trained teacher and social worker who has also completed the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology. She has over three decades of experience supporting organisations in the public and private sector to enhance functioning and develop wellbeing. Her work was recognized by the Australian Council for Educational Leaders for which she was awarded a fellowship.» Read more about Chris Daicos