Carly Portch 

Learning to live out loud

Carly Portch is a dynamic radio host on Hit FM based in Cairns, she is a published writer / blogger who has been published by Mamamia and She is also a speaker, MC and passionate animal advocate. Carly fully appreciates the privilege she has in having a platform to express her ideas and opinions and likes to encourage others to overcome their fears to be heard.

John Buttigieg  

Why only one guitar, when two is even better

John Butagig (Buttigieg) was raised in Cairns and has been playing the guitar since the age of 10. Discovering that guitar was his passion, he spent his time growing up constantly finding new unique ways of playing such a diverse instrument. Deciding playing one guitar wasn’t enough, he now plays two, at the same time. He writes his own music and loves to play gigs and go busking. John is also studying an IT degree and enjoys playing Tennis and Basketball.

Dr. Michelle Redman-MacLaren  

Can poetry make you healthy?

Michelle is a public health researcher with a social work background, known for her ability to facilitate action-oriented research in a culturally respectful way for positive health outcomes. She achieves this by through participatory, decolonizing public health research with Pacific Islander and Indigenous Australian peoples that is sensitive to culture, spirituality and gender. With 25 years’ experience in these settings, Michelle is now exploring how poetry can re-present research evidence for improved health outcomes.

The Hon. Stanley Jones AO QC  

The injustice of youth justice

The Hon Stanley Jones AO QC, is a retired QLD Supreme Court Judge who had an impressive legal career spanning 42 years. He was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to education and the law. He has chaired many committees including the Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse Steering Committee and the Communities for Children Cairns South Committee. He is a passionate advocate for early childhood development and supportive of a number of initiatives focused on improving the lives and outcomes for young people.

Wendy Fox 

The teacher  I wish I had

As a child educator for the past 23 years Wendy Fox’s passion has been empowering children to believe in themselves and teaching them life skills to enhance their learning journey.  Focusing on neuroscience, Wendy has successfully incorporated the scientific aspects of mindfulness into students’ learning, allowing them long-term success at school.

Wendy grew up on a farm and s from Atherton FNQ. Like her catch-cry “Smiles and Sunshine” she lights up her work and teaching environments on a daily basis with her positivity and enthusiasm.

Hurriyet Babacan 

Not leaving the last person behind: Inclusive economic development

Born in Turkey Professor Hurriyet Babacan immigrated to Australia with her family in the  early 1970s.  Hurriyet has had a varied and rich career with roles in senior roles in government, universities, private sector and not for profit organisations. 

Hurriyet has had an extensive track record of leading multidisciplinary research in Australia and the Asia Pacific. She has published widely in national and international publications relating to economic and social development including two publications for UNESCO.

Hurriyet has been recognised for her work through a number of awards including the Order of Australia 2014 (AM); Bi-Centenary Medal awarded by the Prime Minister, 2002 and the Multicultural Services Award by the Premier of Queensland. Hurriyet was the Queensland State Finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Award and has been listed in the Australian Women’s Archives as recognition of women who have contributed to Australia.

Prof. Darren Crayn

The Dark Matter of Biodiversity 

Professor Darren Crayn, is a failed engineering student, born again as a biodiversity scientist. His professional life is equal parts management, leadership and research. Darren’s research aims to find out how many plant species exist, where they occur, how they are related and how they have evolved. This means fun outdoors in interesting places, but also helps humanity understand the natural world so that we can best conserve it both for its intrinsic value and for the benefit of our descendants.

Dr. Ari Isman

Healthcare…from another point of view 

Ari Isman is currently a junior doctor working at Cairns Hospital. Since coming to FNQ for his medical training, Ari has fallen in love with the laidback outlook and outdoor lifestyle the region offers. He has also spent time working in geographically isolated hospitals both domestically and internationally which has opened his eyes to a number of unique challenges that rural communities face as a result of living away from metropolitan areas. With a keen interest in critical care medicine, public health, and aeromedical retrievals, Ari passionately believes that rural medicine needs to look out of the box and up to the sky for the next answer to improve patient care and ultimately save lives.

Dr. Hayley Letson 

10 Minutes to save a life

Hayley is a Research Fellow in the Heart, Trauma and Sepsis Research Laboratory in the College of Medicine and Dentistry, at James Cook University (JCU). After graduating with a University Medal from JCU with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Physiology and Pharmacology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, she joined the Heart and Trauma Research Laboratory in 2008 where I undertook an MSc and PhD developing a small-volume resuscitation solution comprising adenosine, lidocaine and magnesium (ALM) for the treatment of traumatic haemorrhagic shock. More recently she completed the first trials of ALM in uncontrolled haemorrhage as well as traumatic brain injury, and continue to work with the US Military to translate ALM resuscitation fluid into the field.

Sophie Barrett

Tiny houses, big solutions

Sophie has worked for over 20 years in government and private practice in the areas of urban and building design, sustainability and strategic planning. She holds qualifications in Architecture and Sustainability and is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with James Cook University and a board member of the Tropical Urban Design Lab. Her work focuses on tropical urban planning and design, coastal adaptation, sustainability, livability and innovation.

Yalanji Wulngku Badi Bama

Four Generations 

Yalanji Wulngku Badi Bama is a combination of four generations of singers and performers from Wujal Wujal. Wujal Wujal is the local Kuku-Yalanji clan name meaning ‘many falls’, highlighting the many sacred waterfalls in their landscape. It is located 30km North of Cape Tribulation. The Eastern Kuku Yalanji song group includes clans Nyungal, Jalanji and Yalanji peoples who have native title to the Wujal Wujal area. A multi-artform presentation, film expert Victor Steffensen’s footage compliment the piece. The traditional landscape awakens a spiritual connection and insight with the songs of the land.