CONFERENCE 20 – SPEAKERS

Speakers

Saroo Brierley

After living on the streets of Calcutta for 3 weeks by himself, Saroo was placed in a local orphanage before being adopted by an Australian family. He grew up with his new parents in Hobart, Tasmania for the next 25 years. But he was unable, and unwilling, to forget the land of his childhood.

Determined to rediscover his past, he embarked on a virtual odyssey of his homeland and, after many hours pouring over Google Earth, armed with only the images etched into his memories as a 5 year old, he managed to recognise his home town, and track down his mother.

Their reunion in 2012 made headlines across the world, and his full story is recounted in his #1 international bestselling autobiography, A Long Way Home.

The film Lion, based on his autobiography was released in November 2016 and nominated for four Golden Globe and six Academy Awards. The film stars Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel.

Saroo’s is a remarkable and touching story of survival and sheer determination.

Saroo Brierley

Professor Peter O’Connor

Professor Peter O’Connor

Professor O’Connor is an internationally recognised expert in making and researching applied theatre and drama education. He has made theatre in prisons, psychiatric hospitals, earthquake zones and with the homeless. He was the founding director of Everyday Theatre, a national theatre in an education programme on preventing family violence and child abuse that has worked with over 60,000 children.

His work in Christchurch schools following the series of earthquakes lead to UNESCO funded research and programme development and the development of the Teaspoon of Light Theatre Company. In 2012 he was named the Griffith University  School of Education and Professional Studies Alumnus of the Year. Peter’s most recent research includes multi and interdisciplinary studies on the creative pedagogies and the arts, the nature of embodied learning and the pedagogy of surprise.

In 2019 the play he directed with the Hobson Street Theatre Company, New Zealand’s only theatre company for people who are or have been homeless, won the Arts Access Creative New Zealand Community Arts Award. He has continued his theatre making with the homeless at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles wiht the Skid Row Housing Trust.

Peter supervises Doctoral and Masters students using arts based methodologies with a social justice focus.  He is an experienced supervisor of the PhD with creative component.

Associate Professor Kelly Freebody

Kelly’s research interests draw on methodological innovation and theory development in the area of applied drama for social justice – focusing on intersections between drama, social justice, education, and qualitative research methods.

Kelly is a qualified secondary drama and English teacher, with experience teaching in Australia, the UK, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Kelly coordinates core pedagogy units in The Combined Degrees in education, with a focus on creative and critical pedagogy, school-community relationships, and pedagogies of hope.

Dr Patrick Pheasant

Dr Patrick Pheasant

As Chief Executive Officer at NEAS Australia, Patrick brings 20 years’ experience in applying drama, TESOL and teacher training methodologies across ELICOS, high school, vocational education, higher education and corporate sectors in Japan, the Netherlands, the United States and Australia to a dynamic systems perspective with a global outlook.

Patrick has held multiple senior management positions in education and has extensive experience in change management, including a graduate management qualification from the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM).

Patrick’s recent PhD research at the University of Sydney is in using process drama in TESOL. He is past Director at the University of Sydney Centre for English Teaching, past Vice-President of the University English Centres of Australia (UECA) and past Convenor of the NEAS Advisory Council.

The BlackTies is Sydney’s premier professional magician group.

Founded in 2012, the Black Ties have become the industry leader in magician performances, trusted by big name companies such as PWC, Blackmores, Samsung, NAB and major charity organisations such as Children’s Starlight Foundation and the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

Each magic performance by The BlackTies is a product of countless hours of practice, training and dedication.

Get ready to be amazed!