TEDx Sydney to include scientists, philosophers and film makers, along with Paul Kelly and Daniel Johns

TEDx_Sydney_logoThe programme for this year’s TEDx Sydney includes singer songwriter Paul Kelly and former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns, Mumbrella can reveal.

TEDx Sydney, in its second year, takes place on May 28. The event is a spin-off from the global TED event. (TED stands for technology, entertainment and design).

The programme also includes a geneticist, a philosopher, a corporate anthropologist, a bird behaviourist, a poet, an inventor, a historian and several live performances.

The event is being curated by a team including executive producer Janne Ryan and The Chaser’s Julian Morrow.

The speakers and performers:  

Genevieve Bell Corporate Anthropologist

Recently named one of the top 50 most creative people in Business (Fast Company), Genevieve Bell is an Intel Fellow and director of the Interaction and Experience Research Group within the Intel Labs. Bell joined Intel in 1998 and has come to lead an R&D team of social scientists, interaction designers and human factors engineers to drive human-centric product innovation in Intel’s consumer electronics business. Prior to joining Intel, Bell was a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. She has written more than 30 journal articles and book chapters on a range of subjects focused on the intersection of technology and society. Her book, Divining a Digital Future, co-authored with Professor Paul Dourish, will be released by MIT Press in 2011.

Drew Berry, Biomedical Animator

Drew Berry is a biomedical animator whose scientifically accurate and aesthetically rich visualisations reveal the microscopic world inside our bodies to a wide range of audiences. His animations have exhibited at venues such as the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Royal Institute of Great Britain and the University of Geneva. In 2010 he received a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Award”. MacArthur Fellowship Video

David Chalmers, Consciousness Philosopher

David Chalmers is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University. Chalmers is interested in the relationship between mind, brain and reality. He is best known for formulating the “hard problem” of consciousness and for his arguments against materialism. His 1996 book The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory was highly successful with both popular and academic audiences. In 2010 he gave the John Locke Lectures at the University of Oxford. These will shortly be published as his book Constructing the World . He also works on language, metaphysics, and artificial intelligence.

Josh Cook, Bird Behaviourist

Josh Cook is a 34 year old self taught avian behaviourist, specialising in the art of free flight, a relatively new concept within aviculture and companion bird ownership. His work is based on the formation of a strong understanding and rapport between bird and owner and a bird’s natural ability to form a home range. Josh has kept and worked with birds since early childhood and has turned his hobby into a career through the knowledge he has acquired. Over the past five years he has worked to establish a free flying flock of exotic parrots consisting of 30 macaws, a breeding colony of 15 eclectus parrots, 8 red tail black cockatoos and several other species of parrot.

Richard Cotton, Geneticist

Richard Cotton has always been interested in the biochemical genetics of human disease and has recently focussed on mutation. He is particularly interested in improving mutation detection technologies to make them cheaper and simpler, so that they can be more widely applied, and holds several patents in the area. In June 2006, he convened a meeting, co-sponsored by WHO, which initiated the Human Variome Project. This project aims to collect worldwide genetic variation and its associated phenotype affecting human health. He is the author of over 300 scientific papers and 3 patents.

Johanna Featherstone, Poetry Advocate: Johanna established The Red Room Company in 2003. Her poetry has featured in journals such as Quadrant, and the Best Australian Poems. Her chapbook Felt was published in 2010, by Vagabond Press. Johanna is a research associate with The University of Western Sydney and an honorary associate of The University of Sydney’s School of Letters Arts and Media. Johanna received a fellowship from the St James Ethics Center in 2008. For many years Johanna wrote a horoscope column for The Chaser newspaper and continues to work as a Fortune Teller, by personal request.

FourPlay, String Quartet

FourPlay String Quartet defy convention and stereotyping. As much a band as a string quartet, they blur the boundaries between styles and genres while maintaining their own original and true sound. FourPlay perform covers by a diverse array of bands; from The Strokes and Radiohead to Charles Mingus, Robert Johnson and many, many more. They also write their own original compositions inspired by rock, pop, post-rock, neo-classical, jazz, klezmer, swing, folk-tronica, hip hop and more. No musical stone is left unturned.

Bryan Gaensler, Astronomer

Bryan Gaensler is an award-winning astronomer and passionate science communicator, who is internationally recognised for his groundbreaking work on dying stars, interstellar magnets and cosmic explosions. A former Young Australian of the Year, NASA Hubble Fellow and Harvard professor, Gaensler is now an Australian Laureate Fellow at The University of Sydney, and is also Director of the Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics. He gave the 2001 Australia Day Address, was named one of Sydney’s 100 most influential people for 2010, and in 2011 was awarded Australia’s Pawsey Medal for outstanding research by a physicist aged under 40.

Richard Gill, Conductor & Educator: Richard Gill has been Music Director of the Victorian Opera Company since its inception in 2006. He has also been Artistic Director of OzOpera, Artistic Director/Chief Conductor of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and Adviser for the Musica Viva in Schools Program. Currently the Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony’s Education Program, Richard has frequently conducted for Opera Australia and OzOpera, Meet the Music (SSO), Discovery concerts (Sydney Sinfonia); Ears Wide Open (MSO), and Canberra, Queensland and Tasmanian symphony orchestras. Richard’s many accolades include an Order of Australia Medal, the Bernard Heinze Award, an Honorary Doctorate from the Edith Cowan University of Western Australia, Hon. Doc. (ACU), and the Australia Council’s prestigious Don Banks Award.

Saul Griffith Inventor

Saul Griffith is the Founder / Principal Scientist at Other Lab, where he focuses his work on engineering solutions for energy production and energy efficiency. He has multiple degrees in materials science and mechanical engineering and completed his PhD in Programmable Assembly and Self Replicating machines at MIT. He is founder or co-founder of numerous companies, including Optiopia, Squid Labs, Potenco,, Howtoons and Makani Power. Saul has been awarded numerous awards for invention and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2007. Saul holds multiple patents and patents pending in textiles, optics, nanotechnology, energy production, manufacturing and smart geometry. Saul co-authors Howtoons with Nick and Ingrid Dragotta, a children’s comic book series about building your own science and engineering gadgets. Saul is a technical advisor to Make magazine and Popular Mechanics, and sits on various advisory boards including Duke Energy. He rarely wears shoes, is typically found knee-deep in machinery with fists full of tools, and has holes in most of his pockets.

Daniel Johns … in collaboration with Josh Wakely

Born in Newcastle, Australia, Daniel Johns is a vocalist, composer, guitarist, pianist and producer best known as the frontman of Silverchair, one of the most acclaimed and successful bands in Australian music history. He is also one half of The Dissociatives alongside Australian dance guru Paul Mac, and he is the only person to win APRA’s prestigious “Songwriter Of The Year” Award three times. Silverchair have won more ARIA Awards than any other artist and they have enjoyed more #1 albums than any other Australian band. During his remarkable career Daniel has continually explored new musical territories and he is currently working on a film project titled My Mind’s Own Melody which he has written with actor, writer and emerging director, Josh Wakely.
Daniel & Josh will be talking about their collaboration at TEDxSydney 2011.

Josh Wakely… in collaboration with Daniel Johns

Josh Wakely is a partner in the film and television production company, Grace Films. He’s a director, screenwriter and producer whose relentless creative energy has generated a range of different of projects from features (his feature film Draftin is being produced by Rosemary Blight of Goalpost Pictures and is in the final stages of finance); to children’s series (he was a writer on the acclaimed family series Lockie Leonard which was nominated for a BAFTA). Josh’s thriller Birthright, which he will direct, goes into production in December and features key Australian talent. His debut novel A Type of Remembering is being published by Pan Macmillan. Josh’s next production is the musical feature My Mind’s Own Melody which Josh has developed with creative collaborator Daniel Johns, front man for the Australian supergroup Silverchair.  Josh & Daniel will be talking about their collaboration at TEDxSydney 2011.

Grace Karskens Historian

Grace Karskens is a historian, writer and teacher. She is a leading authority on early colonial Australia and also works in environmental and urban history, historical archaeology, heritage and museums. Grace is interested in bringing good history to wide audiences, and especially in fostering historical consciousness of place. She teaches at the University of New South Wales, has worked extensively in public history, and is a Trustee of the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales and the online Dictionary of Sydney project. Her books include Inside the Rocks: The Archaeology of a Neighbourhood and the multi-award winning The Rocks: Life in Early Sydney . Her latest book The Colony: A History of Early Sydney won the 2010 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction.

Paul Kelly Singer & Songwriter

Paul Kelly is one of the most significant singer/songwriters in Australia. As well as issuing an enduring body of work with his own bands, Kelly has recorded film scores (Lantana and the Cannes 2006 highlight, Jindabyne) and written songs with and for many other artists. Songs From The South, a selection of his popular songs first assembled in 1997 and expanded to a double album in 2008, continues to have wide appeal, with many of his songs now lodged deep in the Australian psyche.

The Lost Thing Exclusive Live Performance

2010 was a bumper year for Australian cinema. Yet no Australian film performed as consistently and as spectacularly as “The Lost Thing”, winning over both audiences and juries worldwide. This 15 minute animated gem was the winner of the Annecy Cristal (France), the Yoram Gross Award (Sydney Film Festival), the Grand Prix at the Melbourne International Film Festival, Best Australian Short at Flickerfest, the IF Award and the AFI Award (as well as countless other international prizes). In February 2011, “The Lost Thing” won the Oscar® for Best Animated Short. In this exclusive performance composer Michael Yezerski (see below) and friends will perform his original score live to picture. The music has been re-imagined and re-arranged for this very special premiere event. Experience Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruheman’s masterpiece in a whole new way. With thanks to Sophie Byrne and Passion Pictures Australia.

Alexander Lotersztain Designer

Alexander Lotersztain was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1977. He graduated from Design at Griffith University QCA in 2000. He is director of Derlot Pty. Ltd., a multi-disciplinary studio focusing on projects including product, furniture, branding, hotel design, interior design and art direction with clients both nationally and internationally. Alex recently won the Inaugural Queensland Premier Smart State Designer of the Year Fellowship Award 2010, and was named one of the 100 most influential designers worldwide in “&fork” by Phaidon. Alexander is also part of the “Smart State Design Council” for the Queensland Government in Australia, drafting the Smart State design Strategy for 2020.

Julian Morrow Curator & Producer

Julian is a co-founder of The Chaser, a satirical media empire which rivals Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in all fields except power, influence, popularity and profitability. He now works as part of the Chaser creative team and, for his sins, is its Managing Director, as well as working independently in the media. Staying true to the Chaser corporate motto, “Striving for mediocrity in a world of excellence”, Julian has worked with the Chaser team on all its media projects, including the internationally popular Olympics parody site, a decade’s worth of Chaser Annuals, and various radio and stage shows. Due mainly to others’ unavailability, Julian was invited to give the 2009 Andrew Olle Media Lecture. The lecture was described as “excellent” by his mother. Julian hopes one day to leave the media to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer again. Julian was a key member of the organising team for TEDxSydney 2010, and is heavily involved again for 2011.

Craig Reucassel, TEDxSydney Forum Host

Craig Reucassel was a founding editor of The Chaser newspaper. With the Chaser he has gone on to do shows on the ABC such as The Election Chaser, CNNNN and The Chaser’s War on Everything. He also hosted the drive shift Today Today on Triple J for two years. Craig is married, has three children and plans to sleep in 2020.

Veena Sahajwalla Sustainability Scientist

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla is the leader of research into Sustainable Materials as the Director of Sustainable Materials Research & Technology (SMaRT@UNSW) at the University of New South Wales. She holds an ARC Future Fellowship. Veena is an international award winning scientist and engineer who has presented on her research and experiences throughout the world. In 2005, she received the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research. She also received the 2006 Environmental Technology Award from the Association of Iron & Steel Technology in the United States for her research into recycling waste plastics in steelmaking. Veena is also one of the judges on the ABC TV show, “The New Inventors”. UNSW Leaders in Science

Katharine Samaras Endocrinologist

Katherine Samaras is a senior staff specialist in endocrinology and metabolism at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and group leader in Clinical Diabetes and Obesity at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Katherine’s everyday clinical medicine and research revolves around diabetes and obesity. In her clinical role, she actively engages obese patients with major illness in weight reduction, as a core means of achieving better health. Katherine’s research is helping to unravel the mysteries of fat tissue and how it affects our health, particularly how inflammation promotes different diseases, including diabetes, heart failure, cognition and dementia. A major project is focused on reversing diabetes through diet change and weight loss.

Simon Stone Writer, Director & Actor

Simon is a writer, director and actor. After graduating from The Victorian College of the Arts, he acted in the films Jindabyne, Kokoda, Balibo, Blame and Eye of the Storm, and on stage in Benedict Andrews’ Belvoir production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. In 2007 Simon founded the independent theatre ensemble The Hayloft Project. For Hayloft he wrote and directed Thyestes and The Only Child; adapted and directed The Suicide, Spring Awakening, Platonov, and one third of the multi-director project 3xSisters; and directed B.C.. In 2009 he directed his first main stage production for Belvoir, The Promise. In 2010 he was invited by newly-appointed Artistic Director Ralph Myers to become Belvoir’s Resident Director. His first production in this position was the 2011 production of The Wild Duck, which he wrote and directed after Ibsen’s play of the same name. This year he will also direct Neighbourhood Watch for Belvoir and Baal, co-translated with Tom Wright, for Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre.

Synergy Percussion Ensemble

Synergy is a world of sound with percussion at its heart. The group continues a journey which began 35 years ago, touching audiences with the beauty and expressive diversity of percussion today. With an enviable international reputation as one of Australia’s finest and most versatile music projects, Synergy has performed at festivals throughout Europe, Asia and the United States, as well as most of Australia’s main stage recital and performance venues. Core members: Timothy Constable, Alison Pratt, and Bree van Reyk, are all award-winning and internationally acclaimed exponents of new music in their own right.

Tjupurru One Man Band

Tjupurru is a proud descendant of the Djabera Djabera tribe of the West Australia Kimberleys. Tjupurru plays a unique slide Didjeridu; named ‘The Didjeribone’ because it can slide through different notes and tones – a cross between a didj and a trombone. He picks up his sound through a device called the ‘Face Bass’, a seismic microphone implanted inside his mouth. With the addition of sampling and electronic effects, Tjupurru has enabled himself to perform as a “one man band” … creating live samples and looping them to create songs and soundscapes that criss-cross many musical genres.

Ben Walsh Percussionist

Ben Walsh is a driving force in the Australian music scene, and his trademark high energy drumming is currently featured in numerous acts including Tom Tom Club, The Bird, Crusty Suitcase Band and Circle of Rhythm. He has also been a member of TaikOz, Dha, Pablo Percusso, Taal Vadya and more. His composition work has been commissioned for everything from dance works to theatre works to film scores and more.

Michael Yezerski Composer

Michael Yezerski is a multi-award winning composer, music producer and songwriter. He is widely recognised for his scores to the acclaimed Australian films The Black Balloon (Crystal Bear Berlinale, AFI Best Picture) and The Waiting City, the concert piece The Red Tree (with Richard Tognetti) and the Academy Award winning short, The Lost Thing. Michael studied musical composition under renowned composers Peter Sculthorpe and Ross Edwards at the University of Sydney graduating with first class honours. Michael then graduated with distinction in audio technology from the Australian Institute of Music and completed film music studies at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. He has written for some of Australia’s finest musicians. His regular collaborators include Richard Tognetti from the ACO and the artist Shaun Tan.

Applications to be in the audience for the free event can be made on the TEDx Sydney website. Applications close at the end of next week.


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