Keynote Speakers


James Thurston

G3ict – Vice President for Global Strategy and Development

James is an international technology policy leader.  As G3ict’s Vice President for Global Strategy and Development, he leads the design and implementation of new worldwide advocacy strategies and programs to scale up G3ict’s global impact. He has experience applying both technology and public policy to important social and economic challenges. He has led efforts ranging from using technology to promote the inclusion and human rights of people with disabilities around the world to using technology to increase the economic competitiveness of aging industrial centers in the United States. He has broad policy and management experience in both the private and public sectors and at the federal, state, and international levels of government. Prior to joining G3ict, Mr. Thurston was Director of International Accessibility Policy at Microsoft, where he developed and executed a worldwide strategy to expand the company’s outreach on disability and technology issues to governments and NGOs around the world. He has also served as a standards leader for an international technology industry association, an economic and technology advisor to a U.S. senator and vice presidential candidate, and a senior manager for a national technology and economic development initiative of the U.S. government. James holds both a Master of Public Administration and an M.A. in East European Studies from the University of Washington, as well as a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Maine.

Philip Taylor

Head of Management and Marketing, Federation University Australia

Professor Philip Taylor has over 30 years of experience as a researcher, policy writer and advisor on workforce ageing. He presently holds Professorial positions at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and at Federation Business School in Australia. He has written over 160 books, journal articles, book chapters, reports and commentaries on issues including individual orientations to work and retirement, employer behaviour towards older workers and developments in public policy aimed at prolonging working life. He has provided advice to senior politicians and served on a number of public committees in Australia, the UK and elsewhere. He has won major competitive grants from the Australian Research Council, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Economic and Social Research Council in the United Kingdom (@$5 mill) and substantial consultancy funding from various Australian, European Union and Singaporean agencies (@$2 mill), among others. He is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and Associate Editor of the Cambridge University Press journal Ageing & Society. He was the 2018 Australian Association of Gerontology Glenda Powell Travelling Fellow on the topic of work and ageing.

Paul Harpur

Associate Professor, The University of Queensland                      

Paul Harpur is a leading international disability rights legal academic having held visiting positions with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, Institute for Lifecourse & Society, National University of Ireland, and with the Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University, New York. Following his work at Syracuse University, he was appointed an International Distinguished Fellow with the Burton Blatt Institute from 2015 onwards and a 2020 academic fellow of the Harvard Law School Project on Disabilities. He is the holder of a prestigious Fulbright Future Scholarship. Outside the law, Paul has been a professional athlete, competing in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Paralympics, the 2002 Manchester and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

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Other Speakers & Poster Presenters

Nur Amirah, Lecturer, Centre for Innovative Architecture and Built Environment (SErAMBI), Malaysia

Nur Amirah is a graduate architect who has worked in architectural practices and involved in research development related to Universal Design and accessibility previously. Graduated Master of Architecture (Part II) from Deakin University, Australia and B.Sc. in Architectural Studies (Part I) from IIUM, she is currently pursuing her PhD in Architecture at University Teknologi Malaysia. Her interest and passion are designing for the elderly, persons with disabilities and children ranging from detailed design to space requirements to legislative implementation strategies to innovative design solutions for access in the built environment. She has presented in conferences and workshops locally and abroad; also has facilitated in Access Audit simulation in buildings, conducted training for awareness and understanding of Universal Design application and organized Universal Design conferences in Malaysia.

Geoff Barker, Principal, PM&D Architects P/l

A senior professional for over thirty years on a wide range of project types and working cross-culturally. Geoff has a particular commitment to working collaboratively with like-minded people on multi-faceted projects where there might be competing objectives within their brief. He also looks for opportunities to challenge conventional project delivery praxis and to pursue projects in which there is the potential for adding value. He applies methodologies that have a people focus using; targeted community engagement strategies, the application of broad-based sustainability principles and the incorporation of Universal Design principles. His experience covers a broad spectrum of work:

  1. Housing, planning, community based pro-bono work (Australia and internationally), education and health
  2. Territory Alliance Design Manager NT, delivering a $500M housing and Infrastructure program
  3. NT/WA Manager for 10 years on “Housing for Health” projects
  4. Manager for 7 years of an Indigenous business in Darwin and Broome [NBC].


Jen Barling and Monique Jack, Directors, Access and Inclusion Consultants, funktion

Jen Barling is co-founder and director of funktion and an Accredited Access Consultant. Jen’s experience spans projects within service, design and construction industries. With over a decade of providing professional services her breadth of experience includes access and inclusion management at both the strategic and detailed level for projects in transport, education, urban realm, parks and open spaces, seniors living, aged care, residential and adaptable housing, museums & cultural institutions, public facilities, commercial and sporting facilities.

Monique Jack is co-founder and director of funktion, and is passionate about how inclusive design can benefit organisations. Her knowledge of person-environment interaction, functional human performance and design thinking helps organisations identify people’s real needs and deliver best fit design solutions. Monique is skilled at developing access and inclusion strategies, preparing large scale access audits, project management, community and stakeholder consultation, user-centred research and participatory design workshops.

 Cathy Basterfield, Speech Pathologist

Cathy Basterfield is an experienced Speech Pathologist, with a background of over 30 years working with people with Complex Communication Needs and Easy English. Cathy was awarded a Victorian Government Ethel Temby scholarship for an investigative study into international trends and accreditation for Easy English writing and publications in 2011. She is an acknowledged and skilled practitioner in the field of Easy English, being involved in the development of the first guidelines for writing Easy English. Cathy has a national and international reputation in the development of Easy English. She is a preferred provider for the Australian Federal Government for training in Easy English and also the development of Easy English documents for government department as they communicate with the public. Cathy owns and operates Access Easy English, working with government and non-government agencies in their implementation of Easy English.

 Georgia Burn, Communication Access Coordinator, Scope

…. coming

 Hing – Wah Chau,  Academic Teaching Scholar, Victoria University

Dr Chau is an Academic Teaching Scholar at Victoria University. He completed his doctoral research and the Graduate Certificate in University Teaching at the University of Melbourne in 2014 and 2018 respectively. He received a Teaching Excellence Award at the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne in 2018. Dr Chau received his architectural education in Hong Kong. He has more than ten years of professional practice experience in Hong Kong as a registered architect in an interdisciplinary environment. His various projects ranged from small public structures and public housing to large infrastructural projects.

Kelli Dendle

Kelli is currently a PhD candidate at the School of Design, Queensland University of Technology. She has a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with Honours, and a background in the community and volunteer sector. 

Shelly Dival, Autism Design Specialist Enabling Spaces

Shelly Dival, CF, is an autism design specialist with passion! With over 20 years of building design expertise, her grandson’s diagnosis was the catalyst for her research of our built environment and how individuals with autism relate to it. When awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship in 2017, she took that research internationally across 7 countries. Counted amongst a small number of experts worldwide, Shelly’s membership of the international Leadership Advisory Board (LAB) for “”A Place in the World”” research undertaken by Arizona State University has confirmed her global status, and as Australia’s pre-eminent conversationalist, her expertise is in increasing demand by government, industry and community alike. Shelly has a grand vision, “Imagine a world where people with neuro-diversity thrive at home, work and play. Where our built environment supports this so everyone can reach for their stars and nobody is left behind”.

Garry Ellem, Community Planner Ageing And Disability, Lake Macquarie City Council

Garry has been involved in developing Tourism for Local Governments and State Government bodies for over 20 years with a focus on holiday parks. He is passionate about developing products that merge the needs of the community with the opportunity for tourism development and building a product with a higher level of social responsibility. Most recently Garry has been involved with Lake Macquarie City Council in managing their four holiday parks with a major focus on improving the access throughout the parks for customers with mobility requirements. This has included a “ground up” complete new design of accessible cabins, redesigning traffic flows and strategic planning and messaging of the parks. Garry has a background in accounting, operational management, project management and multi-site general management. Garry has a Masters in Business Administration and has previously held membership in the Governance Institute of Australia and on several community boards.

John Evernden, Director, Accessible Public Domain

John Evernden has degrees in Civil Engineering (1970) and Ecotourism (2050).  He holds a Local Government Engineers Certificate and is an Accredited Disability Access Consultant, managing his own Access Consultancy. John was responsible for the development of the City of Sydney Braille and tactile street name signs in 1990, and has a particular interest in applying the Principles of Universal Design to the public domain. John has been a Director of CUDA for the past two years.

Penny Galbraith, Galbraith Scott

Dr Penny Galbraith FAIB, FRICS is a project manager, builder and access consultant with a career-long interest in accessibility and universal design.  Consultancy roles have covered a range of clients and built environment forms.  Recently, Penny assisted the Australian Human Rights Commission build an evidence base in respect of housing policy and standards as well as delivering accessibility and universal design training in Sri Lanka. Penny is an Accredited ACAA Access Consultant, Director of the Centre for Universal Design Australia and Subject Matter Expert on disability for the Australian Building Codes Board.  Strategy, research and futures thinking underpin Penny’s work.

Emma Goodall, Manager Disability & Complex Needs,    Department for Education South Australia

Dr Emma Goodall works both publicly and privately to facilitate the best life outcomes possible for children and young people with complex needs. An adjunct Professor at the University of Wollongong and a member of the Australian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR) Executive Committee, she has just developed an online module on interoception for Torrens University and has been collaborating with the Australian Psychological Society to develop an autism specific course for psychologists. In her work with the Department for Education, Emma developed, trialed and is now rolling out a universal design for learning proactive and positive support for behaviour and well-being. She is writing this up as a thesis via University of Southern Queensland.

Raewyn Hailes, Access Coordinator Central Region, CCS Disability Action

Raewyn Hailes helped develop a phone app designed to make a real difference to the disabled community by actively creating social change. A passion for human rights and equity in all spaces has led to the current role primarily in influencing social change and upholding current legislation. A mum and grandmother who wants Universal Design, Accessible Journeys and Equality for all in the future landscape of our world.

Theresa Harada, Research Fellow, University of Wollongong and Thomas Birtchnell

Dr Theresa Harada is a Research Fellow at The Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space at the University of Wollongong, Australia. She is an experienced ethnographer with expertise in audio and audio-visual research methods, mobile methods and experimental research methods. Her research focus has been around everyday practices of energy use, mobility, and sustainable transport.

Rebecca Jamwal, Research Fellow, Summer Foundation Ltd

Rebecca Jamwal is a Research Fellow at Summer Foundation, and has worked with the Summer Foundation Research Unit since 2013. She leads projects that examine how built design, technology and support can be used to improve the opportunities and quality of life for people with disability and complex needs. The outcomes of her work will help to inform the development of future housing built for people with disability. Rebecca is an occupational therapist with six years of clinical experience working with people with complex care needs as a result of acquired brain injury. In addition to her work at Summer Foundation, Rebecca is the inaugural research lead in the Occupational Therapy department at Austin Health. Rebecca is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Living with Disability Research Centre at La Trobe University.

Adam Johnson, Edith Cowan University and APM

Adam completed his PhD in 2019 with a focus on universal design in local government, and the City of Bunbury’s goal to become the Most Accessible Regional City in Australia (MARCIA). Prior to this Adam was CEO of an independent disability advocacy organisation, and previously held employment in state government, local government and non-profit organisations in the areas of disability services and community development. Adam is currently employed with APM in community capacity building, and also delivers training to local governments and design firms around universal public design principles.

Ryan Loveday, Director, Fulton Trotter Architects

Established in 1937, for over 80 years the practice has thrived in the delivery of specialised community architecture and social infrastructure projects. Ryan is a working architect, running a small team to deliver a range of education, health, aged care and cultural projects, often in rural and regional Australia. His skills and background are mostly as a technical architect with a reputation for resolving complex institutional projects. But with that experience has developed a sense of the bigger human issues at stake in our communities, leading to a growing conviction as designer, teacher, writer and speaker.

Guy Luscombe, Principal, System Architects

Architect and advocate for better design for older people, Guy Luscombe has designed a multitude of projects at all levels of care, has written extensively and is a regular commentator on the design of age friendly environments. He was co-editor of the book ‘Beyond Beige: Improving architecture for older people and people with disabilities’ and his Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship project, ‘The NANA Project – New architecture for the New Aged’ has received good coverage and resonance with architects, operators, government and older people alike. He is currently a Director of SYSTEM Architects, a New York based architectural studio; a Director of the AGEncy Project, a community based organisation looking at new ways to age in place; consulting on age friendly design and teaching at university on new ways to house older people.

Linda Martin-Chew and Rosie Beaumont,  Senior Strategic Policy Planner, City Of Whittlesea

Linda Martin-Chew Linda has worked as an urban, rural and health planner since 2008, both as a consultant and employed in local government.  At City of Whittlesea, Linda was involved in the implementation of the Housing Diversity Strategy including strengthening Council’s planning policy on the delivery of accessible housing.

Rosie Beaumont has more than twenty years’ experience in social research. Between 2018 – 2019 she held the role of Metro Access Officer at the City of Whittlesea. In this role she established the City of Whittlesea Disability Housing Project to collect local level data on the supply and demand for accessible and supported accommodation. Rosie is currently working with The Summer Foundation, a national advocacy organisation focussed on removing young people from residential and aged care, where she is supporting Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) providers to comply with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Framework.

Tina Merk, Engineer, Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, UAE

Tina’s primary role in the organisation is to provide consultation services in universal design, particularly relating to the built environment. Her educational background is in architecture and she specialises in accessible design. Tina attained her Masters qualification from Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany in 2009 and has worked exclusively in this field ever since. Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination was established in 2004 and is the government entity charged with the provision of rehabilitation, care and comprehensive support services to people of determination in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The organization also serves as an umbrella organization, overseeing all private rehabilitation centers across the Emirate, while working closely with a wide range of both government and private entities toward comprehensive inclusion of people of determination in all aspects of life. Zayed Higher Organization has 18 centers across the Emirate providing therapeutic, educational and social supports for people of determination.

Jenna Mikus,  PhD Candidate, Queensland University of Technology

Jenna Mikus has an educational background in mechanical engineering, business, and sustainable environmental design and a professional background in digital transformation, change management, and most recently tech-enabled smart building strategy. Over the years, her experience has evolved from generalized consulting in the 2000s to more creative, building-focused strategy work in the 2010s. 18 months ago, she founded a consultancy that leverages her international educational and professional experience to focus on developing a more human-centered design approach to the built environment. She named the company the Eudae Group, referring to Aristotle’s concept of eudaemonia or human flourishing, thus encouraging design that prompts a symbiotic human-to-environment eudaemonia. A year later, she decided to ground her work in academic theory by accepting a scholarship invitation to pursue a PhD in Queensland University of Technology’s Faculty of Creative Industries in Brisbane to study with top Urban Informatics experts who specialize in meaningful design across people, place, and technology. She now focuses both her consulting work and academic research on how best to design for optimal human health and wellness, wellbeing, and experience—thus paralleling the conference’s focus on thriving—for all.

Fiona Morrison, Director Open Space, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Fiona Morrison is leading more than $160 million in State Government Open Space Programs. This includes developing the Everyone Can Play program and the Strategic Open Space program. Fiona has over 20 years of experience and expertise in landscape and open space, including within the development industry at Lendlease, State Government and local government including Ryde, Newcastle and Woollahra. During her time with local government she delivered many award-winning projects and programs including inclusive playspaces and strategic planning for open space. Notable industry successes include the Everyone Can Play program and contributing towards the creation of a 900 hectare Regional Park in Western Sydney as a part of the delivery of new master planned communities.

Jack Mulholland, MetroAccess Officer, Maroondah City Council

Jack Mulholland has an extensive background in project management with a particular focus on addressing gaps in the community and reducing social isolation of people with a disability and their carers. This includes award winning projects such as the Stroke a Chord Choir, Pathways for Carers and Changing Places Facilities.

Kieran O’Donnell, Senior Project Officer, Australian Building Codes Board

Kieran O’Donnell is a senior project officer at the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) in Canberra. Kieran is the project manager for the ABCB’s regulation impact assessment on the possible inclusion of accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code, along with other key ABCB projects. Kieran holds a Bachelor of Australian Politics and Public Policy and a Diploma of Building Design and Technology. Prior to this, he worked in the building industry, starting out as an apprentice carpenter in 2005.

Geoff Penrose, General Manager, Lifemark

Geoff is the General Manager of Lifemark, a division of CCS Disability Action. Lifemark provides universal design housing certification and advisory services across New Zealand. Geoff was also the CEO of Qualmark New Zealand, a tourism certification organisation and has worked internationally developing environmental certification and quality improvement systems.

Hana Phillips, Occupational Therapist – Swinburne University

Hana’s background is occupational therapy, with an interest in adults and disability. With broad experience within the public and private health sectors, her interests include adaptive technology and environments. This lead to a PhD in understanding how design principles may improve the utility of aids and improve personal independence.

Terri Preece and Shelly Dival

Terri has a health and aged care background spanning 20 plus years. For the last 7 years she has been in the role of Environmental Design Consultant with the Dementia Training Australia (DTA) Designing for People with Dementia (DPD) Service. Terri has carried out international research on dementia environments, and translated design principles into a number of audit tools and guidelines, such as the DTA dementia-friendly community assessment tool.

Shelly is an autism design specialist. With over 20 years of building design expertise, her grandson’s diagnosis was the catalyst for her research of our built environment and how individuals with autism relate to it. Awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2017, she has researched internationally across seven countries.  Shelly is a member of the international Leadership Advisory Board (LAB) for “”A Place in the World”” research undertaken by Arizona University USA.

Bec Renton, Health Science Research Student, Deakin University

Bec Renton is currently completing her Health Science Honours research project at Deakin University under the supervision of Dr Kevin Murfitt and Dr Kate Anderson. She has worked in the disability sector for over 15 years in various roles and capacities, and also undertaken community development projects to enhance social participation. Bec is a strong advocate for universal design in the built environment and finding ways we can best ensure a universally designed world becomes an actuality.

Dr. Janice Rieger, Senior Lecturer, Queensland University of Technology

Dr Janice Rieger is an award-winning researcher, educator, curator and designer with expertise in inclusive design and disability research. She has been advocating for people with disabilities for over twenty years and has been awarded a Mayor’s Access Recognition Award and a state level disability award for her leadership in promoting access and inclusion.  Prior to her academic appointment at QUT in Australia, Dr Rieger spent ten years in Canada, where she taught one of the only Universal Design courses in Canada and was also co-founder of a national certificate program in accessible design, CSAHD. She has also spent time overseas as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Hasselt (Belgium) and as an international member of the European Society for Disability Research and the European Institute for Design & Disability, Design for All.  Dr Rieger is currently a Chief Investigator in the Centre for Justice and Design Lab, QUT.

Katerina Sparti, Natalie Spratt and Gemma Bradley, Alzheimer’s Queensland

Katerina Sparti is the Design Manager at Alzheimer’s Queensland with 14 years’ experience delivering projects in the residential, commercial, age care and lifestyle sector.  With 5 years’ experience working in Age Care design, she draws on her diverse project experience, bringing a domestic approach to age care.  Katherina has a great passion for design and specifically how the built environment impacts the way we live and feel in a space.

Natalie Spratt is an Interior Designer for Alzheimer’s Queensland having worked for the association for two years. She brings experience from retail, residential and commercial design sectors and applies them to her current role with a contemporary and practical approach.

Gemma Bradley is the newest Interior Designer to the Association, whilst running her own successful design business. With 8 years’ experience, she brings a strong residential focus and additional skill sets from working on commercial and hospitality projects.

Emily Steel

Emily is an occupational therapist, manager, and academic. Her research is focused on assistive technology policy and practice, to enable people with disability to lead successful and productive lives. She is also involved in the drafting of new international standards on cognitive accessibility, to make products and systems easier to understand and use.

Gunawan Tanuwidjaja, Queensland University of Technology and Petra Christian University

Gunawan Tanuwidjaja is a PhD Candidate in Creative Industries Faculty, School of Design Office, QUT and a Lecturer at Petra Christian University, Architecture Program in Indonesia. He has taught Inclusive Design with Service – Learning Methods involving People with Disabilities, since 2013. His course is always in collaboration with international partners such as UBCHEA, JICA and UN-Habitat.

Several Service Learning programs executed are:

  1. Improving Accessibility of All Users in Petra Christian University Library (with UBCHEA, Aug 2016 – July 2017)
  2. Service Learning of Inclusive Design for Homes and Schools in Surabaya and Bandung, Participatory Design and Campaign (with UBCHEA, Aug 2015 – July 2016,
  3. Data collection survey on disability and development in Indonesia collaborating with Japan International Cooperation Agency (with JICA, June 2015 – Sept 2015

Michael Walker,  Principal Advisor Universal Design, Victorian Health nd Human Services Building Authority

Michael Walker leads DHHS (Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority) in the introduction of Universal Design principles. He is a strong advocate for embedding the principles of Universal Design in relevant DHHS policy and across projects relating to the environment (physical and programmatic). Michael has provided input into policy and projects ranging from health infrastructure, aquatic centres, play spaces, and multi-sensory environments to significant state and national level projects such as the Melbourne Park Redevelopment, Skilled Stadium and major hospital redevelopments. Michael ensures that method of practice is adopted by VHHSBA and is recognised that the creation of social and economic value by connecting people in the environment is more efficiently and effectively achieved using Universal Design principles. In addition, Michael has gained much knowledge and expertise in overseas trends through his working in different countries (international award winner) and is a member of the Victorian Design Review Panel with the Office of the Victorian Government Architect. He is a triple paralympian in wheelchair basketball.

Margaret Ward, Co-convenor, Australian Network for Universal Housing Design

Originally an architect, Dr Margaret Ward PSM has been an advocate, public servant and service provider in the areas of housing and disability. Margaret has spent much of her career working towards the adoption of housing design which includes everyone regardless of age and ability. Her thesis explored the notions of voluntariness and responsibility in providing inclusive housing within a framework of distributive justice. Margaret Ward co-convenes Australian Network for Universal Housing Design, which seeks regulation of access features in all new housing construction through the National Construction Code. She has followed the machinations of industry, government and human rights advocates on this issue since 2002.

Valerie Watchorn,  Lecturer, Deakin University

Valerie Watchorn is a lecturer in occupational therapy at Deakin University. She has a strong research interest in universal design of built environments, its application and evaluation. Most recently Valerie has begun investigating how users, particularly people with lived experience of disability, can be involved in the universal design process.

Katherine Webber,  Independent Consultant

Katherine Webber is a practitioner in social planning and community development working to address inequality and social injustice. She has worked with a range of government and non-government programs to address social issues and achieve results, including in local and state government social planning and community development in Australia and the Pacific. Katherine has led city wide-planning initiatives and the development and implementation of responsive community plans, programs and activities to improve social inclusion and community safety. She has on-the-ground experience supporting diverse organisations and communities in community research and participatory stakeholder consultation, with a particular commitment to women’s rights and gender equality. Katherine was the recipient of the 2018 Rodney Warmington Churchill Fellowship to increase inclusion and accessibility in public toilets by researching taboos, design, policy and legal barriers. She travelled to USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, The Netherlands and Germany talking toilets.

Evan Wilkinson, Regional Coordinator, Sport and Recreation Victoria

Evan Wilkinson is based in Geelong and works in partnership with councils across the Barwon and Great South Coast regions. One component of Evan’s role is to work with Councils by providing design advice and support during the development across a range of sport and active recreation projects. Covering a range of facility types including aquatic centres, sporting pavilions, play spaces and skate parks, Evan works closely with council to apply a consistent Universal Design overlay to these projects to ensure that they can cater to a broad range of users and consider innovation.  Evan’s understanding of community sporting facilities and major projects has been enhanced in previous roles working in the Metropolitan Community Infrastructure and State Facilities team, working on projects including the Craigieburn Leisure and Aquatic Centre, Lakeside Stadium redevelopment and the Essendon Football Club’s Tullamarine Training Facility.