With only a few more sleeps in 2014 and the world winding down for a well deserved break, the team thought it would be a nice treat to share some more brilliant confirmed speakers for Do Australia (aka The Thunder Down Under) 2015….. some remarkable people with inspiring stories to share:

Sarah Jane Pell - Human Performance Exploration from Sea, to Summit, to Space

Uniquely engaged in art and science research intersecting the performing arts, human movement, and underwater diving, Dr Sarah Jane Pell’s work parallels human spaceflight and exploration. She performs expressively – mostly underwater – and builds novel prototype apparatus to test and communicate extreme performance. Artifacts include sculptural, technical, poetic and media events. These build an arc of imagination to contribute new insights to further technology transfer and the human experience of discovery.

A Freedman Foundation Travelling Art Scholar, Pell was the first artist to graduate from the International Space University and NASA Ames Singularity University. She led the NASA-sponsored Luna Gaia project, has flown artworks in space, participated and led EVA Simulation (spacewalk training underwater) workshops with astronauts, and designed interactive aquatic-robotic systems. She also contributes to futurist think tanks, interaction design, film and cinematic world building and early start-ups.

Dr. Pell currently serves as Co-Chair of the European Space Agency (ESA) Topical Team Arts & Science [ETTAS]: developing an ESA Arts Initiative, and Senior Space Art Consultant to Icarus Interstellar: an organisation dedicated to interstellar flight by 2100.

Dennis McIntosh - Shearer, Tunneller, Swimming Coach, Teacher, Writer, Doctor of Philosophy

Dennis is the author of Beaten by a Blow, Penguin (2008) and The Tunnel, Penguin (2014).  By the age of 27 Dennis had finished his life as a shearer and was working shift work digging a sewage tunnel. One particular night shift he had an epiphany that set him on the course that has shaped the rest of his life. A failed education, teenage marriage, sick child, alcoholism and meaningless work were the circumstances that confronted Dennis that night.

His oldest daughter who had an acquired brain injury had recovered through brain patterning. Why couldn’t he do the same? That was in 1987. In 2014 he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Adelaide.  Dennis will talk about what he did to change the circumstances of his life then, and how he put himself on a course of continual renewal.   

Emilie Zoey Baker - award-winning Australian poet and spoken-word performer

Emilie Zoey Baker has toured North America, Europe and Asia as a guest of international festivals. She was also the winner of the 2010 Berlin International Literature Festival’s poetry slam Slam!Review.

At home, she performs regularly at arts and literature festivals, and has appeared at the Sydney Opera House. In 2013 she toured Indonesia with the renowned Woman Of Letters storytelling series, performing in Jakarta and Jogjakarta, as well as a guest on their US tour performing in NYC.

Emilie is a 2014 Fellow at the State Library of Victoria. She has been poet-in-residence for Museums Victoria and coordinator for the National Australian Poetry Slam. She teaches poetry and slam in schools and in April 2014, she was core faculty at Canada's Banff Centre.

Emilie is also the author of fourteen children’s books and has published several poetry collections. 

Rachael Beesley - renowned Australian violinist, concertmaster and educator 

Graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne - Bachelor of Arts in Music (1989), Graduate Diploma of Arts in Music (1991) studying with Spiros Rantos, and from The Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, The Netherlands - Master of Music (1999) studying with Sigiswald Kuijken, Elizabeth Wallfisch and Vera Beths, Rachael was based in Europe for 14 years, performing as guest concertmaster with Europe’s most distinguished ensembles including La Petite Bande, Il Complesso Barocco, Bach Concentus, the Restoration Company and New Dutch Academy as well as performing regularly with Anima Eterna Brugge and Les Arts Florissants.

Rachael has performed on over 50 CD recordings and for broadcasts on radio and television and now based in Australia, she is guest concertmaster for the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Pinchgut Opera, Opera Australia, Victorian Opera and orchestraseventeen88 - an orchestra she has recently co-launched in Australia, specialising in Classical and Romantic repertoire on period instruments. Rachael is the Kate Buchdahl Distinguished Artist in Residence at the ANU School of Music, Canberra and a lecturer at the Sydney and Melbourne Conservatoriums and the School of Music, Monash University and guest director at the Australian National Academy of Music. In the field of Historical Performance Practice and the unique area of Practising in Flow, she has been invited to speak at conferences in Australia, New Zealand and The Netherlands where she has taught at Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, The Netherlands since 2000.  

Rachael has been awarded an Ian Potter Cultural Trust grant and is listed in the Who’s Who of Australian Women.

Sandra Mahlberg - Humanitarian and volunteer

Opening her heart and her home to sick children, Sandra Mahlberg is the ACT coordinator for Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC), a volunteer organisation that helps children from developing countries afflicted with severe medical conditions. 

Sandra sources funding for accommodation and transport to and from Australia, draws on her wide network to seek voluntary contributions from surgeons and hospitals and coordinates the post-operative, pastoral care and selection of children who need corrective surgery for life-threatening but treatable conditions.  She works tirelessly through the National ROMAC committee and with the ACT Government to bring children to Australia from countries including China, East Timor, Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands – and she does this while maintaining her full time nursing job at Calvary Hospital. 

Since 2006, Sandra has hosted 15 children and their guardians in her home, supporting them for up to a year at a time.  Putting service before self, Sandra’s commitment to humanitarian endeavour is changing lives and is reinforcing Australia’s reputation as a caring society.

Sandra is also a National Finalist for Senior Australian of the Year 2015.

Excited? We are!

The Do Croo here in Oz want to wish all of our community an incredibly fun, food-fuelled, fantastic and unforgettable Christmas and New Year.

Stay safe, stay fabulous. See you in 2015!

The Do Croo Australia xxx