Sarah Webber is an interaction design researcher at the University of Melbourne who investigates how digital technologies can better respond to contemporary values in areas of human-nature relationships, social connectedness and wellbeing. Her research focuses primarily on technologies for connections with nature and wildlife, and how digital designers can respond to animal welfare and associated ethical issues. Her award-winning PhD research, conducted in collaboration with Zoos Victoria (Melbourne Zoo), examined the design of an interactive installation, and impacts on orangutan wellbeing and visitor engagement. She has a professional IT background spanning user research, UX evaluation, business analysis and project management in corporate, non-profit and governmental organisations.
Jessie L. Oliver
Jessie is a PhD student at the Queensland University of Technology studying how to design enticing technologies that support people connecting with nature. Her research at present explores, in particular, how to design enjoyable interactions with media about nature that supports people to learn about and identify wildlife vocalisations from audio recordings. Before delving into design research, Jessie studied wildlife and their habitats, as well as taught people about the natural world, in a variety of ecologist and environmental educator roles. With a passion for empowering members of the public to engage with science and conservation, Jessie has been heavily involved in the development of the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) as well. As a consultant, and in her role as ACSA International Liaison, Jessie has also contributed to diverse research and initiatives. These have explored intersections of citizen science with technology design, wildlife conservation, conservation technology, environmental health, environmental education, and sustainability policy.
Wally Smith is a member of Human-Computer Interaction group in the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. His research investigates the theory and principles of designing new digital technologies that are sympathetic to human ways of thinking, living and working across a range of settings. His recent projects investigate deceptive AI, digital emotion regulation, citizen heritage, and digital tools for smoking cessation. He is a past National Secretary of CHISIG (the Australian Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group of the Ergonomics Society of Australia), lead creator of the PastPort citizen heritage site, and co-editor on recently published Routledge International Handbook of New Digital Practices in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Heritage Sites.
Helena Bender is a behavioural ecologist who now undertakes interdisciplinary research and is a teaching specialist in the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Her research includes wildlife management with sound, the theory and practice of sustainability, practices to improve integration of social and biophysical sciences in social ecological systems work, and the many disciplinary meanings of hope and its role in the Anthropocene. Her recent interdisciplinary work has elevated consideration of the ethical ramifications of technical solutions at different scales, whether that be kangaroos on roadways, or bats in botanic gardens.
Kellie Vella (Queensland University of Technology) is a human-computer interaction researcher with an interest in the overlap between technology, sociality, wellbeing, and sustainability. She draws upon theories and methods across the humanities (in particular, social and motivational psychology, ethnography, and participatory research) to better understand how to design, apply, and evaluate technologies. Currently, she is researching ways to connect people with their local ecology through ambient technology (Ambient Nature Network); collaborating with Green Music Australia to reduce festival campsite waste; and project managing the development of an open ecoacoustics data platform.
Margot Brereton is a national and international leader in the collaborative design of new humanitarian technologies and their interfaces. She designs with real user communities whose needs are typically overlooked in technology development. She has focused on better futures for and the agency of older people, people with intellectual disabilities, connecting people to nature, and fostering use of endangered indigenous languages.
Margot works with particular communities in long term engagements over several years to ensure that designs fit into people’s lives in positive ways with people shaping their evolution. Margot’s approach, which focuses on tangibles, connected interfaces, AI and machine learning technologies, leads to innovative designs and new theoretical understandings and methods in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. Margot is Professor of Engineering and Interaction Design in QUT’s School of Computer Science and Director, Research Performance at QUT’s Institute for Future Environments. She has served on the Australian Research Council College of Experts. Margot has raised over $6 million in competitive grant funding, published more than 230 fully peer-reviewed papers and supervised 14 PhD students to completion. She began her career as an apprentice at Rolls Royce aircraft engines and holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering Design from Stanford University.
Alasdair Davies is a conservation technologist developing, designing and deploying conservation technologies globally. He is Technical Director of the Arribada Initiative, a Senior Technical Specialist and Advisor to the Zoological Society of London, and a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow, with 14 years’ experience developing, designing and deploying conservation technologies for conservation organizations globally, including the National Geographic Society and the World Wide Fund for Nature. His primary focus is the development of open source conservation technologies, with his most notable achievement the release of the first open source Argos satellite transmitter reference design for telemetry and biologging. Alasdair was awarded a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship in March 2017 and founded the Arribada Initiative to unlock access to open source conservation technologies, focusing on human-elephant conflict, low-cost telemetry, biologging, and passive acoustic monitoring technologies.
Julia Hoy is Research Manager at Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre, at the University of Queensland. Her research explores next-generation husbandry and captive management and technological advances in conservation. Current projects include microchip-automated technology in wildlife conservation, examining how such devices can be used by Australian native wildlife in reintroduction programs. In this work she explores applications of microchip-automated technologies such as tracking released animals, to enable animals to access food during reintroduction programs, or to take refuge as part of predator avoidance training programs.
Kate Judith’s recent environmental humanities PhD (UNSW), took a more-than-human perspective, exploring questions of being in-between through mangrove ecologies. Kate is interested in approaches that shift research and inquiry from anthropocentric interests. She teaches at the University of Southern Queensland.