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The Conference Committee have developed a programme that features a range of engaging keynote and invited speakers.

The Committee are delighted to announce the following keynote speakers:

Dr Helen Pearson, Chief Magazine Editor, Nature

As Chief Magazine Editor for the world’s leading science journal, Nature, Dr Helen Pearson oversees all its journalism and opinion content. Her own stories have won accolades including the 2010 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award and two best feature awards from the Association of British Science Writers.

Helen Pearson's book, "The Life Project," tells the extraordinary story of the longest-running study of human development in the world.

Professor Marion Thain, King’s College London

Marion Thain is Professor of Literature and Culture at King’s College London, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. She began her career as a Junior Research Fellow at Cambridge University, and worked in English departments at Russell Group universities before moving to New York University as a professor of Arts and Literature in the school of the interdisciplinary global liberal arts (Liberal Studies) and as Director of Digital Humanities for NYU. She returned to the UK in 2018. She publishes primarily on: aestheticism; poetry and poetics; technology and the arts.  Book publications include: The Lyric Poem and Aestheticism: Forms of Modernity (2016); The Lyric Poem: Formations and Transformations (2013); Michael Field: Poetry, Aestheticism, and the Fin de Siècle (2007); Poetry of the 1890s (1998).

Megan Potiki, University of Otago

Megan Potiki hails from Ōtākou and is of Kāi Tahu and Te Ātiawa descent. She teaches at Te Tumu: School of Māori, Indigenous and Pacific Studies at the University of Otago. Her research interests are focused on the loss of te reo Māori at Ōtākou, traditional mōteatea and new waiata composition, takiaue (death and māori customs pertaining to the dead), and the written Māori archives of the past that have a particular geographical focus on her tribal region of Kāi Tahu.

Tilly Boleyn, Science Gallery Melbourne

Basically, Tilly is a massive nerd who is curious about the world and everything in it. She studied microbiology at university and looked forward to a glittering career in bossing around lab rats. It hasn’t quite turned out that way. After uni, a love/hate relationship with pipettes and RNA extractions drove her from the lab and into the arms of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). There, she discovered a natural talent for science gossip – she liked talking about other people’s science more than doing her own. At the ABC, she talked about science on the radio, coordinated and hosted live science stage shows for young people, researched for science TV shows like Sleek Geeks and managed a science festival. Tilly then morphed into a curator at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney, developing exhibitions about health, medicine, engineering, experimentation and the human voice. And there’s no stopping her now. As the Curator at Science Gallery Melbourne, Tilly will be busy delivering the DISPOSABLE season in 2019 and developing the opening show – MENTAL – in 2020.

Invited Speakers

Catherine Smith

Dr Catherine Smith is a Senior Lecturer in the Archaeology Department, University of Otago. Catherine has research interests in material culture, in particular analysis of early Māori textiles, as well as developing innovation in provenancing, materials investigation, and textiles preservation. Through exploring textiles, Catherine aims to illuminate the relationships among people, plants and culture in New Zealand. She is co-PI (with Dr Donna Campbell and Mrs Ranui Ngarimu) of ‘Whakaarahia anō te rā kaihau! Raise up again the billowing sail! Revitalising cultural knowledge through analysis of Te Rā, the Māori sail’ (Te Apārangi Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund 2018-2020). This project will recover knowledge about Te Rā, the sole remaining Māori sail, by bringing together Māori weaving practitioners and materials science approaches to explore the intersections between Mātauranga Māori and Western science.

Liam McIlvanney

Liam McIlvanney is the inaugural Stuart Professor of Scottish Studies and head of programme at the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Otago. His second novel, Where the Dead Men Go, won the 2014 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best New Zealand Crime Novel. His most recent novel, The Quaker, won the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award in 2018.

Lisa Chatfield

Wellington-born Lisa Chatfield grew up in Auckland, trained in Christchurch, and in 1999 produced definitive Dunedin movie Scarfies, before time in Sydney and a return to Wellington to work at the NZ Film Commission. Telling the story of a group of students who run into trouble when the owner of their squat shows up, Scarfies was chosen for Sundance, and became NZ’s third highest grossing Kiwi movie of the 90s (behind Once Were Warriors and its sequel). The NZ Herald's Russell Baillie called it “the most outlandishly entertaining New Zealand film in years”. The Dominion declared it “a bona fide Kiwi classic”.

More recently, Lisa is the producer of the BBC-adaptation of The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton's Booker Prize-winning novel. The series is due to air on BBC and TVNZ in late 2019.

Tina Makereti

Tina Makereti writes essays, novels and short fiction. Her latest novel, The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke (Vintage 2018), tells the story of a young Māori man who is exhibited in Victorian London.  She is co-editor of Black Marks on the White Page (2017), an anthology that celebrates Māori and Pasifika fiction. In 2016 her story Black Milk won the Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize, Pacific region. Her first novel Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings won the 2014 Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Award for Fiction, also won by her short story collection, Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa (2010). In 2009 she was the recipient of the RSNZ Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing and the Pikihuia Award for Best Short Story in English. Tina teaches creative writing and Oceanic literatures at Massey University. Her collection of personal essays, This Compulsion in Us, will be published early 2020.


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