HomeKeynote Addresses

Idiom Vol 53 No1

Ian Maxwell Keynote Address - Holly Ransom

Small Holly Ransom Headshot 1Holly Ransom is the CEO of Emergent, a company specializing in the development of high performing intergenerational workforces, leadership and public policy outcomes. She is currently Co-chair of the UN’s Global Coalition of Young Women Entrepreneurs.

In her address, Holly examined the social and economic landscapes facing young Australians and what this means for the role, function and responsibilities of our education system.

Conference delegates found Holly an entertaining, powerful and provocative speaker, even those who disagreed with her. As one said: ‘She gave us an interesting context to consider even though I personally disagree with the vision of education she promoted, i.e. as a project that is first and foremost directed towards employment and the work force.’ Another commented: ‘A terrific presenter, I just don’t agree with her sentiments about hitching education to the business wagon. It’s putting the cart before the horse.’

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Keynote Address - Benjamin Law

Small law 018 3403Benjamin Law is a TV screenwriter, journalist and newspaper columnist with a PhD in screenwriting and cultural studies from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He is the author of two books—the black comedy memoir The Family Law and travel journalism anthology Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East. He is co-author with his sister Michelle and illustrator Oslo Davis of Shit Asian Mothers Say.

In his address, Benjamin discussed the stories he grew up with – and what it meant to navigate an Australian childhood where your family, your culture, and your face were largely absent from the bigger cultural picture. He asked: why is diversity important? What happens when it’s missing? And what do we need to do to get there?

Delegates universally responded to Benjamin as an engaging and entertaining speaker though some questioned the educational relevance of his address. Others made the connection. As one said: ‘Totally engaging and relevant to our teaching today—particularly in my school which has such a huge representation of students from other (mainly Asian) countries whose experiences of living in more than one culture and often with multiple identities, we tend not to draw on much in the curriculum. Thought provoking and entertaining. Perfectly pitched!’ Another gave in to his ‘inner groupie’ in the presence of star power! ‘He was awesome. Purchased his book afterwards, got him to sign it and a selfie with him and went home and watched all of The Family Law.’

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