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WOW Keynote Speakers

Paola Balla

Paola Balla is a Wemba-Wemba and Gunditjmara sovereign woman, of Calabrese and Chinese heritage, and is currently a PhD researcher based at Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit at Victoria University. Her curation, artwork, writing and research centres around raising awareness of Aboriginal women’s status as matriarchs, artists and healers, and focuses on addressing impacts of trans generational colonial trauma for women and children.

Day 1 Keynote, Thursday 23 March, 10am – 11am, Performance Space

Day 3 Keynote, Saturday 25 March, 10am – 11am, Basement Theatre

Day 3 Conversation: Radical Self-Care, Saturday 25 March, 11:30am – 12:30pm, Basement Theatre

Elaine Brown

Elaine Brown is a former leader of the Black Panther Party. She is now CEO of Oakland & the World Enterprises, Inc., dedicated to launching and sustaining for-profit businesses for cooperative-ownership by formerly incarcerated and other people facing monumental social barriers to economic survival. Brown is the author of several books, and has recorded two albums of original songs.

Day 1 Keynote, Thursday 23 March, 10am – 11am, Performance Space
This keynote is supported by cohealth.

Day 2 Keynote, Friday 24 March, 10am – 11am, Basement Theatre (In conversation with Alia Gabres)

Day 3 Conversation: Revolution, Saturday 25 March, 1pm – 2pm, Performance Space

Day 3 Conversation: Yours Truly, 2030, Saturday 25 March, 2:30pm – 3:30pm, Performance Space

Arweet Carolyn Briggs

Arweet Carolyn Briggs is a Boonwurrung Elder who is recognised as a keeper of the history and genealogies of her people. She has been active in community development, Native Title, cultural preservation and cultural promotion, and is a member of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

Day 1 Keynote, Thursday 23 March, 10am – 11am, Basement Theatre

Day 2 Keynote, Friday 24 March, 10am – 11am, Performance Space

Nayuka Gorrie

Nayuka Gorrie is a Kurnai/Gunai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman. She is passionate about climate justice, the rights of women, self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and culture. She has written incisively on topics such as her evolving views about constitutional recognition, performed her work at Women of Letters, and works in the youth not-for-profit sector as a program manager, facilitator and consultant.

Day 1 Keynote, Thursday 23 March, 10am – 11am, Basement Theatre

Day 1 Conversation: Feminism… Well This Is Awkward
Thursday 23 March, 11:30am – 12:30am, Performance Space

Day 3 Keynote, Saturday 25 March, 4:15pm – 5:15pm, Riverside Lawn

Maria Katsonis

Maria Katsonis is a senior executive in the Department of Premier and Cabinet in Victoria, where she leads projects in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. She is an Ambassador for beyondblue, and has written about her mental illness and recovery for newspapers, as well as in her memoir The Good Greek Girl.

Day 1 Keynote, Thursday 23 March, 4pm – 5:15pm, Performance Space

Tania Cañas

Tania Cañas is a member of and previous Director at RISE, the first and only refugee and asylum seeker welfare and advocacy organisation in Australia that is entirely governed by refugees, asylum seekers, and ex-detainees. She recently completed a research assistant internship at New York University’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics as well as from a research graduate school in the Netherlands.

Day 1 Keynote, Thursday 23 March, 4pm – 5:15pm, Performance Space

Day 2 Conversation: Moving. People. Politics. Friday 24 March, 11:30am – 12:30pm, Performance Space

Day 2 Keynote, Friday 24 March, 4:15pm – 5:30pm, Basement Theatre

Margaret Harvey


Margaret Harvey works across the medium of live performance and film, creating and re-creating stories as a performer, writer, director and producer. She is of Saibai Island heritage in the Torres Strait — Ait Koedal and Samu clans — as well as English heritage. Harvey has directed and produced many documentaries for NITV, from Central Desert to Arnhem Land, down to Melbourne and up to the Torres Straits.

Day 1 Keynote, Thursday 23 March, 4pm – 5:15pm, Basement Theatre

Day 2 Keynote, Friday 24 March, 4:15pm – 5:30pm, Performance Space

Hana Assafiri


Over the last seventeen years Hana Assafiri’s Moroccan Soup Bar has become a much-loved Melbourne institution. Founded on principles of equality and generosity, its spoken-out-loud menu, delicious food and unique ambience have become legendary. Every fortnight Assafiri invites generous and brilliant Muslim women to her Moroccan deli for anybody who wants to ‘ask a Muslim anything’, in a bid to create a more cohesive society, one conversation at a time.

Day 1 Keynote, Thursday 23 March, 4pm – 5:15pm, Basement Theatre

Day 2 Conversation: Money. Power. Women. Friday 24 March, 11:30am – 12:30pm, Basement Theatre
Presented in partnership with Victoria University.

Day 3 Keynote, Saturday 25 March, 10am – 11am, Performance Space

Jude Kelly

Jude Kelly is the Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London, where she created the WOW: Women of the World Festival in 2011, now in its sixth year at Southbank Centre as well as taking place in other parts of the UK and all over the world. She founded Solent People’s Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, and was the founding director of West Yorkshire Playhouse. In 1997 Jude was awarded an OBE for services to theatre and in 2015 she was made a CBE for services to the Arts.

WOW Breakfast, Friday 24 March, 8am – 9:30am
Victoria Room, Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, 210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Presented in partnership with the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre.

Day 2 Keynote, Friday 24 March, 4:15pm – 5:30pm, Basement Theatre

Day 3 Conversation: Wave After Wave, Saturday 25 March, 11:30am – 12:30pm, Performance Space

Day 3 Conversation: Yours Truly, 2030, Saturday 25 March, 2:30pm – 3:30pm, Performance Space

Jax Jacki Brown

Jax Jacki Brown is a disability and LGBTI consultant, writer, spoken word performer, public speaker, disability sexuality educator and workshop designer and facilitator. Through her presentations at conferences and universities, and her extensive publications, she provides a powerful insight into the reasons why society needs to change, rather than people with disabilities.

Day 1 Conversation: The Dependency Myth, Thursday 23 March, 2:30pm – 3:30pm, Performance Space

Day 2 Keynote, Friday 24 March, 4:15pm – 5:30pm, Performance Space

Day 3 Keynote, Saturday 25 March, 10am – 11am, Basement Theatre

Jerril Rechter

Jerril Rechter is the CEO of VicHealth. She is a World Health Organization Advisor and is Chair of the International Network of Health Promotion Foundations. Her current Ministerial appointments include being Chair of Victoria’s Justice Health Ministerial Advisory Council, membership of the Liquor Control Advisory Council and of the Work Health Advisory Group.

Day 2 Keynote, Friday 24 March, 10am – 11am, Performance Space
This keynote is supported by Vic Health.

Simona Castricum


Simona Castricum’s musical, spatial and activist practice articulates gender non-conforming experiences in architectural and emotional space — their relationships to power, sexuality, violence and the body. Simona is an educator and PhD candidate in architecture at the University of Melbourne School of Design. As a musician she is represented by LISTEN Records. Her culture and music writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vice, i-D and Archer.

Day 2 Conversation: A Gender Queer Agenda, Friday 24 March, 1pm – 2pm, Basement Theatre

Day 3 Keynote, Saturday 25 March, 4:15pm – 5:15pm, Riverside Lawn

Zenith Virago


A local Deathwalker, Zenith Virago is a respected pioneer and acknowledged expert in the fields of holistic death and dying. She provides comfort, information and guidance through the natural and the sacred, and the inner and outer journeying, for those coming to the end of life. Virago is the founding member of the not-for-profit Natural Death Care Centre, co-author of The Intimacy of Death and Dying, and subject of the international documentary, Zen & the Art of Dying.

Listening Workshop: Stepping into Elderhood, Friday 24 March, 1pm – 2:30pm, Visual Arts Studio

Day 3 Keynote, Saturday 25 March, 10am – 11am, Performance Space

Day 3 Conversation: Radical Self-Care, Saturday 25 March, 11:30am – 12:30pm, Basement Theatre

 


Download the WOW Melbourne festival schedule:

WOW MELBOURNE SCHEDULE PDF
WOW MELBOURNE SCHEDULE EXCEL


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