Professor Daniel Franks, Deputy Director (Research) at UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute, will share his fascinating take on why minerals are essential to our lives and to the fate of our planet. Join us to discover the hidden power of minerals in shaping our world and the crucial role they play in our lives, from toothpaste to eggshells.

Jodi Ferrari’s love of art began at a young age, but it wasn’t until a high school excursion to Queensland Art Gallery that she had her most transformative experience with art. Jodi completed a double major in Art History (Bachelor of Arts) at UQ and a Master of Education (Visual Arts) at UTS, Sydney. She has held various roles in education and public programs over the last 20+ years in regional galleries in NSW and Qld. She brings her understanding of immersive art experiences and the importance of play to her current role as Curator of HOTA’s dedicated Children’s Gallery at Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast. Jodi wants us to cherish art experiences the way she does and believes that the child’s perspective can unlock meaningful encounters with art for everyone.

Gilbert Price is a Senior Lecturer in Palaeontology at The University of Queensland. He is a vertebrate palaeoecologist and geochronologist, particularly interested in the evolution and emergence of our planet’s unique ecosystems and fauna, and their response to prehistoric climatic changes. His major research focus has been on the development of palaeoecological models for Australia’s Cenozoic, especially the Quaternary megafauna. Critically, this also involves the production of reliably-dated records for the fossils that he studies.

Dr Nancy A. Pachana is Professor of Clinical Geropsychology in the School of Psychology, and Director of the Healthy Ageing Initiatives, at The University of Queensland. She is also program lead for UQ’s Age Friendly University Initiatives. She has worked for many years to develop research, teaching, international and industry collaborations, and early career scientist-practitioner support, on mental health and wellbeing issues in later life. Nancy is an avid bird watcher and a keen traveller. In her talk, Nancy will share her passion for expanding the possibilities for positive perspectives and experiences of ageing for everyone, everywhere – and give you some simple strategies so that you too can help!

Dr Kathy Ellem, a Senior Lecturer at UQ specializing in social work practice with people with disability, and Donna Best, a leader in the Queenslanders with Disabilities Network (QDN) and a seasoned disability advocate will present together, shedding light on the remarkable progress achieved by the disability advocacy movement in Queensland since the 1980s. They will also address the work that still lies ahead, as we strive for a more inclusive and accessible future.

Dr. Chris Rinke, a brilliant mind from the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at The University of Queensland, will take the stage to reveal the mind-blowing potential of “superworms” in recycling! Join us in welcoming Chris as he unveils the revolutionary power of these unassuming creatures that could change the game in tackling our plastic waste crisis.

Dr Claudia Benham is a human geographer studying how environmental changes in marine and coastal ecosystems affect local communities who live alongside, and depend on, the ocean. The current focus of her work is on understanding how environmental changes, such as coral bleaching, affect local communities living along the Great Barrier Reef. Part of this work looks at ecological grief – a sense of distress about the loss of important species, places or ecosystems. Outside of work, Claudia loves to hang out with her dog, Jess and find new hiking spots around South-east Queensland.

Sharlene Allsopp was born and raised on unceded Bundjalung Country. She has been published in the Growing Up Indigenous in Australia anthology on BlackWords, Griffith Review, and Portside Review, among others. She is the University of QLD’s Ford Memorial Poet of 2021. As a Next Chapter recipient in 2020, she completed her novel The Great Undoing. It is due for release in 2024 with Ultimo Press.

Dr Brendan Walker-Munro is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Law at The University of Queensland. Brendan’s career before academia involved more than fifteen years conducting investigations and enforcement work in Federal and State government regulators. Since leaving the public service, Brendan’s research has been into the legality of national security and law enforcement bodies and their use of surveillance powers. His talk will examine the legal language of privacy and how this increasingly differs from how we view the idea ourselves. This, he argues, makes us believe we have more legal rights protecting our privacy than we really do.

Rainasyia (or Rainy, for short), is a third year Bachelor of Social Science student, majoring in development, here at University of Queensland. She is very passionate about youth-led development and devotes a good portion of her time outside her university studies volunteering for youth-led organisations both within Australia and back in her home country, Indonesia. Through this experience, she found that accessibility for grants and funding is extremely limited for youth-led organisations, with many facing structural barriers. This has led her to her current role as Chief International Partnerships Officer at Oaktree Australia where she manages the Oaktree Youth Solidarity Fund which funds projects from youth-led organisations across the Asia Pacific through small flexible grants. In her talk, Rainy challenges mainstream funding models and hopes to shed light on the value of participatory funding through a trust based relationship between funders and recipients.

Dr Stan Steindl is a Clinical Psychologist at Psychology Consultants Pty Ltd, and Adjunct Professor at School of Psychology, University of Queensland. He is also co-director of the UQ Compassionate Mind Research Group, and convenor of the annual UQ Compassion Symposium. Stan has over 25 years experience as a therapist, supervisor, trainer and researcher. Stan’s research interests are in the areas of compassion and compassion-based interventions, and especially the role of cultivating compassion and self-compassion in the context of trauma, shame, self-criticism and clinical disorders, as well as promoting psychological well-being. He is the author of Compassion in a T-Shirt: The First 35 Scripts (2020), The Gifts of Compassion: How to Understand and Overcome Suffering (2020), The Gifts of Compassion: Personal Practice Workbook (2021), and Compassion in a T-Shirt: Another 35 Scripts! (2023).