Chelsea Watego (formerly Bond) is a Munanjahli and South Sea Islander woman with over 20 years of experience working within Indigenous health as a health worker and researcher. She is currently Professor of Indigenous Health at QUT’s School of Public Health and Social Work. Her scholarship has drawn attention to the role of race in the production of health inequalities and her current ARC Discovery Grant seeks to build an Indigenist Health Humanities as a new field of research; one that is committed to the survival of Indigenous peoples locally and globally, and foregrounds Indigenous intellectual sovereignty.
She is a prolific writer and public intellectual, having written for IndigenousX, NITV, The Guardian, and The Conversation. She is a founding board member of Inala Wangarra, an Indigenous community development association within her community, a Director of the Institute for Collaborative Race Research, and was one half of the Wild Black Women radio/podcast show, but most importantly, she is also a proud mum to five beautiful children.
Her debut book Another Day in the Colony, published by UQ Press, was released in November 2021 and met with critical acclaim.
Mariam Veiszadeh is an award-winning human rights advocate, lawyer, diversity and inclusion practitioner, contributing author and media commentator.
Mariam was recently appointed as inaugural CEO of Media Diversity Australia. She has also founded the Islamophobia Register Australia, and has held multiple board positions including formerly as Co-Chair of Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights and Our Watch.
Mariam has worked as radio commentator for the ABC radio and as a columnist for Fairfax media.
With many accolades to her name including the Fairfax Daily Life 2016 Woman of the year, the 2015 Westpac Woman of Influence and Welcoming Australia Life Member Award in 2021, Mariam is renowned for influencing positive change both in the workplace and in society more broadly.
Mariam was born in Afghanistan and came to Australia in 1990 with her family as a refugee and has long been a vocal champion of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. When Kabul fell in August last year, Mariam was at the forefront of advocating for Australia to increase its humanitarian intake.
Corey Tutt is a Kamilaroi man from Nowra on the New South Wales south coast. As a kid, he dreamed of becoming a zookeeper and in high school he developed a love of STEM subjects. But unlike the arts and sport, he found there was little encouragement for Aboriginal people to pursue careers in STEM.
In 2018, while working as a research assistant for the University of Sydney, Corey founded DeadlyScience, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to provide science books and telescopes to remote schools in Australia, and connects young Indigenous people with mentors to encourage their participation in STEM subjects.
In 2020, Corey was named the NSW Young Australian of the Year, and a Human Rights Hero by the Australian Human Rights Commission. He continues to work tirelessly to send STEM resources to Indigenous communities, and show First Nations kids that STEM is for them. The organisation has even attracted international attention, with Corey presenting at Harvard and Oxford universities.
Corey’s bestselling book The First Scientists was published in 2021 and has been shortlisted for a CBCA award and longlisted for an ABIA award.
Christos Tsiolkas is the author of five novels: Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. He won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and won the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal for his novel, The Slap, which was also announced as the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne.
Steve Toltz was born in Sydney. A Fraction of the Whole, his first novel, was published in 2008 to widespread critical acclaim. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award. His equally acclaimed second novel Quicksand was published by Hamish Hamilton in 2015 and won the 2017 Russell Prize for Humour. Shortly after its publication Steve relocated to Los Angeles to work as a screenwriter. He has writing credits on major Hollywood productions such as No Activity and Guilty Party. Steve is one of Australia’s finest comic writing exports. Here Goes Nothing is his latest book.
Jeanti St Clair tells stories through audio, both as documentaries and audio walks, and describes herself as a story-catcher. She lives in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales and is a lecturer at Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia, where she teaches media and journalism. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong researching immersive audio walk sound design and is also an associate producer with audio walk company, Soundtrails.
Jeanti created the Lismore Flood Stories project, originally to document the 2017 flood. However, in light of events this year, she has now opened the website to become a portal for all Lismore flood documentation projects with the aim that community, researchers, media and policymakers can better understand the impact of climate disasters on regional communities. She is currently also collaborating with photographer Raimond De Weerdt, documenting the stories of civilian rescuers who saved so many lives during the 2022 flood on February 28.
Professor Mary Spongberg is the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Academic Capability) at Southern Cross University, where she has strategic responsibility for all research functions, including government and industry partnerships and research training. She was Head of Modern History at Macquarie University between 2008 and 2010 and Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Arts 2010-2013.
She was Dean of Arts at the University of Technology Sydney, 2013-2018. During her tenure in this position, she oversaw the establishment of the Centre for the Advancement of Indigenous Knowledges, the Centre for Climate Justice, the Centre for STEM education Futures and the History Lab.
She is author of Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (2002) and the principal editor of the Companion to Women’s Historical Writing (2005).
Her most recent book is Empathetic Histories: Women Writers and the Nation’s Past was published by Bloomsbury in 2019. She is currently working on an ARC funded project on Jane Austen and her maternal kin.
Inga Simpson is the author of The Last Woman in the World (Hachette, Nov 2021), Mr Wigg, Nest, Where the Trees Were, Understory: my life with trees and, for children, The Book of Australian Trees, illustrated by Alicia Rogerson. Inga’s novels have been short and longlisted for numerous awards, including the Miles Franklin and Stella Prize, while Understory was shortlisted for the Adelaide Writers Week award for nonfiction. Inga was also the winner of the Eric Rolls nature writing prize for her essay “Triangulation.”
Inga has PhDs in creative writing and English literature, with her most recent thesis exploring the history of Australian nature writing. Her short stories and essays have been published in Wonderground, Chicago Quarterly Review, Review of Australian Fiction, Griffith Review, Clues, Writing Queensland, and The Dictionary of Literary Biography.
Her first career was as a professional writer and researcher, including for federal Parliament and the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Inga grew up in central west NSW, and has lived in Canberra, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast hinterland. She has now settled on the far south coast of NSW.
Her next novel, Willowman, will be published in early November 2022.
I am a writer, performing poet and arts consultant based in Zimbabwe, concerned with the human challenges in the journey of life. My work touches on the inner individual battles, facing harsh realities of failure or victorious pride, and dealing with issues such as the loneliness of heart, rush of fear, calmness of spirituality and violence of uncertainty. I am a social commentator using deep imagery in my work, I am engaged with audiences from both local and international in context, impacting my creative skills in the addressing of a cocktail of political, economic and social ills bedevilling our society. My positive message has been heard through performance by diverse audiences in places like Australia, South Africa, Bali Indonesia and the French-administered island of Reunion.
Tricia Shantz is a social geographer and research consultant who works in the fields of journalism, urban planning, social planning and community development. She lives in Byron Bay, Australia and is committed to knowing the environmental and social construct of her community.
Tricia co-wrote and published her first two books with Rusty Miller: Turning Point Surf Portraits and Stories from Bells to Byron 1970 – 1971 in 2012 and Turning Point II Surf Portraits and Stories Hawaii: Oahu-Kauai-Maui 1968-1972 in 2014. A third book, No Fixed Abode; Stories from the streets around Byron Bay in 2017, was in association with the Byron Bay Community Centre and Byron Writers Festival. She co-publishes and edits, the Byron Guide magazine about people, politics and culture.
Tricia lectured in the School of Social Science at Southern Cross University for twenty two years and worked in Local Government for fifteen years.
James Schloeffel is founder and head writer at The Shovel, a satirical website he created in 2012 in response to the growing need for a serious, dedicated space to make fun of Tony Abbott. The Shovel has since grown to become one of Australia’s most popular comedy websites.
James has co-created and performed in a number of sold-out national comedy tours including The War on 2018, The War on 2019, The War on The Fu*#cking Election and The War on History (he really likes wars).
In 2020 he co-wrote and performed the sold-out Adelaide Fringe show The Anti-Experts Guide to Everything, a journey through the world of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists. The national tour was cancelled due to a coronavirus pandemic created by Bill Gates. He is currently touring his latest show Spin, co-performed with Charles Firth
James has written or co-written a number of books including The Shovel Annual (2016-2019), The Complete True History of Australia, The Anti Experts Guide To Everything and The Official Guide To Election 2019.
James also works as a copywriter, has a degree in Economics and was once an extra in a direct-to-DVD movie starring Kylie Minogue. Although the less said about that the better.
Mykaela Saunders is a Koori and Lebanese writer, teacher, community researcher and the editor of This All Come Back Now, the world’s first anthology of blackfella speculative fiction (UQP, 2022).
Mykaela’s fiction, poetry, life writing, critique and research have been widely published, and her work has won the Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Indigenous Poetry Prize, the National Indigenous Story Award, the Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Prize for Nonfiction and the University of Sydney’s Sister Alison Bush Graduate Medal for Indigenous research. Mykaela is a 2021 Next Chapter recipient for her unpublished manuscript Last Rites of Spring, a psychedelic nightmare in novel form which was also shortlisted for the David Unaipon Award.
Mykaela was born on her Dharug ancestors’ lands in Western Sydney, and grew up between there and in Tweed Heads, in Bundjalung country, community and culture. She belongs to the Tweed Goori community through family and other relationships. Mykaela has worked in Aboriginal education in various capacities since 2003, and at the tertiary level since 2012. Her research explores her community’s past, present and future. Mykaela is working-class and queer, and she writes for and about the communities she belongs to.
Gina Rushton is a journalist, editor and author. She has written mostly about reproductive healthcare and gendered violence for many publications including The Guardian, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, The Monthly, The Australian, The Saturday Paper, BuzzFeed News and Australian Associated Press. Her first book The Most Important Job in the World is out now.
Dr Yves Rees (they/them) is a writer and historian based on unceded Wurundjeri land. They are a Lecturer in History at La Trobe University, the co-host of Archive Fever history podcast, and the author of All About Yves: Notes from a Transition (Allen & Unwin, 2021). They are also co-editor of Nothing to Hide: Voices of Trans and Gender Diverse Australia, forthcoming with Allen & Unwin in September 2022. Rees was awarded the 2020 ABR Calibre Essay Prize and a 2021 Varuna Residential Fellowship. Their writing has featured in the Guardian, The Age, Sydney Review of Books, Australian Book Review, Meanjin and Overland, among other publications.
Ben Quilty (b.1973) lives and works in Australia. Widely known for his thick, gestural oil paintings, Quilty has worked across a range of media including drawing, photography, film, sculpture and installation. His works often serve as a reflection of social and political events; from the current global refugee crisis to the complex social history of our country, he is constantly critiquing notions of identity, patriotism and belonging.
Quilty’s work has been exhibited in a number of significant national and international exhibitions including ‘Show Me Your Sexy Urbanity Fotos’, Hohenstrausenstr, Frankfurt, Germany (2004); ‘Truth and Likeness’ National Portrait Gallery, Canberra (2006); ‘Together in Harmony for 50 Years: Linking Australian and Korean Arts’, Korea Cultural Exchange Centre, Seoul, Korea (2011); ‘Trigger-Happy: Ben Quilty’s Brave New World’, Drill Hall Gallery Australian National University (2013); ‘Dark Heart’ Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia (2014); ‘Panorama’ Tarrawarra Art Museum (2016); ‘Painting. More Painting’ Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (2016); ‘When Silence Falls’, Art Gallery of NSW (2016); ‘Charles’ Insitu, Kurfurstenstrasse, Berlin (2016); ‘Mad Love’ at Arndt Art Agency (A3), Berlin (2017) and the’ NGV Triennial’ (2017); ‘Quilty’ Art Gallery of South Australia, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Art Gallery of NSW (2019).
In 2011 the Australian War Memorial commissioned Quilty to travel to Afghanistan as Australia’s official war artist. The resulting body of work exhibited at the National Art School Gallery in 2013 received critical acclaim and went on to tour art galleries across Australia up until 2016. In 2014 he was selected as the overall winner of the Prudential Eye Award, Singapore and invited to become the first Australian to hold a solo exhibition at Saatchi Gallery in London (2014). He is represented by Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne and Arndt Art Agency, Berlin.
Andrew Quilty’s photography career began in Sydney, in the year 2000, on the day his application to a university photo elective was rejected. He quit, and set off around Australia with a surfboard and a Nikon F3 that his uncle—also a photographer—had passed down.
Fate further intervened a week into the trip when his van was broken into. Everything but his well-hidden camera, and surfboard, which he was riding at the time, was stolen.
30,000KM later, he enrolled in the Sydney Institute of TAFE’s Photography program, finishing at the top of his class in 2004.
He was given an informal internship at Fairfax Media which evolved into full-time employment. There, Quilty found himself surrounded by some of Australia’s most outstanding photographers. They reshaped his worldview and set him on a course that continues to inspire his work today.
He left Fairfax in 2010 and freelanced from Sydney before relocating to New York City in 2012. But it was during a trip to Afghanistan and the Middle East, in 2013, that he first discovered bonafide purpose and fulfilment in his photography.
He has been based in Kabul, Afghanistan ever since.
His photography in Afghanistan has been published worldwide and garnered accolades including, in 2019, a World Press Photo, a Picture of the Year International award of excellence in the category of Photographer of the Year (POYI), and prior to that, a George Polk Award, three POYI awards, a Sony World Photography award and six Walkley Awards, including the Gold Walkley, the highest honour in Australian journalism. In 2016, a selection of his work from Afghanistan was exhibited at the Visa pour L’Image Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, France.
He has travelled to two thirds of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and continues to document the country through pictures and more recently the written word, for which he has been awarded three Walkley awards and an Overseas Press Club of America award for an investigation into CIA-led Afghan militias.
Rhianna Patrick is a freelance Torres Strait Islander journalist and broadcaster with over 25 years’ experience. She spent nearly two decades at the ABC working across news, tv documentaries and national radio programming. Rhianna recently co-curated the young adult programme, LoveYA at the Brisbane Writers Festival (2022) and was co-curator of a major Torres Strait Islander exhibition, Island Futures: What Lies Ahead for Zenadth Kes for the Queensland Museum (2021). She also curates Spotify’s Original Storytellers playlist.
Steven Oliver is a descendant of the Kuku-Yalanji, Waanyi, Gangalidda, Woppaburra, Bundjalung and Biripi peoples. He was born in Cloncurry in North West Queensland and grew up in Townsville before moving to Perth to study. He has worked with numerous theatre companies, festivals and arts organisations across Australia but became notorious with ABC’s Logie/AACTA nominated sketch comedy show Black Comedy as a writer/actor/associate producer.
Other ABC Film/TV roles include Tiger Cops for Iview and A Very Sexy Xmas. He is co-creator/writer/presenter for Indigenous Arts Quiz Show Faboriginal as well as the documentary Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky (SBS/NITV). He was a recipient of Screen Australia’s Blackspace Initiative for his premiere web series A Chance Affair, that was nominated for best web series at both the 2018 LGBTIQ Australian Awards and Screen Producers Australia Awards. He has done voice work on Australians first Indigenous Superhero animation, Zero Point and cameoed as Cousin Carlo in Marvel Studio’s Thor; Ragnarok under the direction of Taika Waititi.
His poetry is published in both national and international poetry journals such as Ora Nui, Australian Poetry Journal, Solid Air and Firefront. His plays Proppa Solid (Jute Theatre) and From Darkness (La Boite Theatre) are also published (Playlab) with both plays receiving audience and critical acclaim. His poetry videos and comedic work has millions of views online.
His one man cabaret show Bigger & Blacker. Premiering at the 2019 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, was listed as an AdCabFave and has since played La Boite Theatre Brisbane, Sydney Opera House, Perth International Cabaret Festival, Melbourne Comedy Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival, A 19 town Queensland Regional Tour with more shows planned for Canberra, Darwin and the Sunshine Coast.