Speakers

The Asian Conference on Asian Studies (ACAS) is an interdisciplinary conference held alongside The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies (ACCS). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for either conference will allow delegates to attend sessions in the other.

This page provides information about presenters. For details of presentations and other programming, please visit the Programme page.


Speakers

  • Umberto Ansaldo
    Umberto Ansaldo
    Curtin University, Australia
  • Earvin Charles Cabalquinto
    Earvin Charles Cabalquinto
    Deakin University, Australia
  • Gerard Goggin
    Gerard Goggin
    Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Pilar Kasat
    Pilar Kasat
    Curtin University, Australia
  • Laavanya Kathiravelu
    Laavanya Kathiravelu
    Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Koen Leurs
    Koen Leurs
    Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Muhammad Noor
    Muhammad Noor
    The Rohingya Project
  • Lorna Piatti-Farnell
    Lorna Piatti-Farnell
    Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
  • Seini F Taumoepeau
    Seini F Taumoepeau
    Artist, Performer, Activist & Radio Presenter
  • Marcelle Townsend-Cross
    Marcelle Townsend-Cross
    University of Sydney, Australia
  • Arnold Zable
    Arnold Zable
    Writer, Australia

Previous Speakers

View details of speakers at past ACAS conferences via the links below.

Umberto Ansaldo
Curtin University, Australia

Biography

Professor Umberto Ansaldo is Head of School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry at Curtin University, reporting to the Provost. He was previously the Head of the School of Literature, Art and Media at the University of Sydney, and the Head of the School of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong.

Professor Ansaldo’s disciplinary roots are in linguistics – most specifically in the study of language contact, linguistic typology, and language documentation. He is the author of four books to date (with CUP, OUP, Routledge, and Stockholm University Press), has edited or co-edited a further 11 volumes and journal special collections, and has authored multiple journal articles and book chapters. His most recent output is the co-editorship of The Routledge Handbook of Pidgin and Creole Languages (Routledge, 2021).

At the University of Hong Kong (HKU), Professor Ansaldo led the Humanities Area of Inquiry on the Common Core Curriculum Committee in HKU’s major revision of its curriculum (2010-2013), a time when, along with the University of Melbourne, HKU was leading in reimagining undergraduate curricula. As Chair of Linguistics, he was instrumental in establishing the Department in the top ten programs in Linguistics (QS rankings), and number one in Hong Kong. He also sat on HKU’s Senate and HKU’s Campus Development & Planning Committee. In the latter role, he was involved in the completion of the new Humanities Tower at the Centennial Campus, and the physical relocation of the Faculty from the Main Building.

At the University of Sydney, Professor Ansaldo sat on the University Executive Research Committee and led his School through a transformative period in terms of curriculum innovation and research engagement. He was in charge of overseeing the incorporation of the Sydney College of the Arts into the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. This included integrating existing and developing new curricula, forging research synergies, and leading the renovation of a purpose-built facility, with associated financial, technical, and HR responsibilities. He also piloted the first three micro-credit units in the Faculty.

Professor Ansaldo has throughout his career secured competitive research grants and leveraged industry funding for the advancement of the humanities and social sciences. One of his proudest achievements was his role in securing financial support to develop and host an exhibition on language and the brain, the “Talking Brains” exhibition that launched successfully at the CosmoCaixa in 2017. This type of engagement and championing of the Humanities is what Umberto is most passionate about.

Umberto lived and worked in Sweden, The Netherlands, Singapore, and Hong Kong, before moving to Australia. He speaks seven languages including Mandarin – he is well-acquainted with Asia and has conducted fieldwork in Muslim communities of the Indian Ocean, and has strong international networks in Southeast Asia, Japan, and Europe. One of the factors that attracted him to Curtin is the University’s Global Vision, which he believes is the future path of higher education and research.

Panel Presentation (2022) | Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Precarity and Resilience
Earvin Charles Cabalquinto
Deakin University, Australia

Biography

Dr Earvin Charles B. Cabalquinto is Lecturer in Communication at Deakin University, Australia. He is also a member of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. He is an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University. His expertise lies in the intersecting field of digital media, (im)mobilities and migration research. His research has been published in top-notch journal publications and specialised edited book collections. He is the author of the book (Im)mobile Homes: Family Life at a Distance in the Age of Mobile Media (2022), published under the Studies in Mobile Communication series of Oxford University Press (OUP). He is also the author of Philippine Digital Cultures: Brokerage Dynamics on YouTube, a forthcoming collaborative book under Amsterdam University Press (AUP). His current project interrogates the consequences of digital divide in Australia by examining the everyday digital media practices of older adults from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds during and beyond pandemic times. He sits on the editorial board of the International Journal of Cultural Studies. He is also the social media editor of the Asian Journal of Communication.

Panel Discussion (2022) | Digital Journeys: Refugees, Migration, Media
Gerard Goggin
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Biography

Gerard Goggin is the Wee Kim Wee Chair in Communication Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Goggin is an internationally renowned scholar in communication, cultural, and media studies, whose pioneering research on the cultural and social dynamics of digital technology has been widely influential.

He has made benchmark contributions to the understanding of mobile communication, international Internets and their histories, with key books such as Cell Phone Culture (2006), Global Mobile Media (2011), Routledge Companion to Mobile Media (2014), Routledge Companion to Global Internet Histories (2017) and Location Technology in International Contexts (2020). Goggin is also a world-leading researcher in the area of accessibility, digital technology, justice, and rights, especially relating to the cutting-edge area of disability. In this area, he has published a number of collaborative authored and edited books including Digital Disability (2003), Disability in Australia (2005), Disability and the Media (2015), Normality & Disability (2018), and the Routledge Companion to Disability and Media (2020).

Professor Goggin has had a longstanding engagement in communications, technology, and social policy, and was a founding board member of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN). In 2018 he was the Chair of the Humanities and Creative Arts Panel of the inaugural Australian Research Council Engagement & Impact assessment.

In recognition of his contributions to the study of communication, Professor Goggin was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities, and a Fellow of the International Communication Association. Currently he serves as Secretary-General of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).

Panel Discussion (2022) | Digital Journeys: Refugees, Migration, Media

Previous Presentations

Panel Discussion (2020) | Communication, Technology and Transparency in Times of COVID
Pilar Kasat
Curtin University, Australia

Biography

Dr Pilar Kasat is a Chilean-Australian living in the ancient country of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation (Perth, Western Australia). Dr Kasat completed her PhD, “Singing the Women Back Up: Arts for Social Change and the Empowerment of Women” in 2020 and a postdoctoral fellowship with Curtin University in December 2021. She has more than twenty years of direct involvement in participatory arts. As a practitioner and in leadership roles, Dr Kasat developed a track record of creative intercultural dialogue with First Nations and people of colour within a social justice framework. Dr Kasat is the chairwoman of Art on the Move, the inaugural chair of Women of Colour Australia, and previously the deputy chair of Diversity Arts Australia. Her writing collaborations on the role of the arts to drive social change have been published in international academic journals and national industry magazines.

Panel Presentation (2022) | Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Precarity and Resilience
Laavanya Kathiravelu
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Biography

Laavanya Kathiravelu is Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Her research sits at the intersections of international migration, race and ethnic studies and contemporary urban diversity, particularly in Asia and the Persian Gulf. Her first book was Migrant Dubai (Palgrave, 2016), which interrogated the experiences of low wage migrant workers in the emirate of Dubai. She has also published widely on issues of race, inequality and migration in Singapore. Prior to joining NTU, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. She was also a Fung Fellow at Princeton University between 2015-16. In 2019, she was recipient of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council Fellowship (SSHRF) and recognised as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) in the area of academic leadership. Laavanya is a board member of the migrant welfare organisation, HOME and comments regularly on public forums and through op-eds on issues of migration, race and diversity in Singapore. In 2022, she is a Fulbright Scholar based at the City University of New York (CUNY).

Panel Discussion (2022) | Digital Journeys: Refugees, Migration, Media
Koen Leurs
Utrecht University, Netherlands

Biography

Koen Leurs is Assistant Professor in Media, Gender and Postcolonial Studies at the Graduate Gender Program, Department of Media and Culture, Utrecht University, Netherlands. Leurs’ research and teaching interests include technology, migration, gender, cities and youth culture as well as research ethics, creative, participatory and digital methods. He was the chair of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), Diaspora, Migration and the Media section 2016-2021. His publications include Digital Passages: Migrant Youth 2.0 (Amsterdam University Press, 2015) and Digital Migration Studies (forthcoming with Sage, 2023). He also co-edited the Handbook of Media and Migration (Sage, 2020) and special issues “Forced migration and Digital Connectivity” for Social Media + Society and “Connected Migrants” for Popular Communication.

Panel Discussion (2022) | Digital Journeys: Refugees, Migration, Media
Muhammad Noor
The Rohingya Project

Biography

A Rohingya himself, Noor is the Founder and Managing Director of the Rohingya Project, a Blockchain-based organisation that aims to bring social and financial inclusion to stateless people. Noor is also founder and director for several institutions and organisations such as the world first Rohingya TV broadcast station, Rohingya Vision (RVISION), which is watched by millions all over the world.

He is the Founder and Chairman of the Rohingya Football Club (RFC), the Rohingya National Team to play at the CONIFA World Cup. He is also Founder of the Rohingya Archive, which preserves history and genocidal evidence. He is the Project Manager of the Rohingya Quran Translation, the first project of its kind. He is actively involved in the humanitarian field, working with various international organisations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Red Cross, the International Organization for Migration as well as several embassies. Noor Founded the Rohingya Language Council, digitised Rohingya alphabets, developed the first Rohingya font and was one of the main contributors to the Rohingya Unicode, which was released in 2018 and led to the development of a unicode font and keyboard for different devices. Noor is also the author of Born to Struggle: The Child of Rohingya Refugees and His Inspiring Journey, which was published in March 2019, based on his personal life experiences.

Noor is doing a Master's in Business Intelligence, and holds an Honours Degree in Computing from the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom. He has more than 15 years of experience as a business owner, corporate senior executive, TV station operator, news reporter, journalist, talk show anchor, corporate negotiator and project manager. He is actively involved in the the fields of blockchain, crypto, NFT, the metaverse, data science, security and privacy. Noor also trains and motivates people from all walks of life in self-development, management and technology, both locally and internationally. Mr Noor speaks five Middle and East-Asian languages fluently. One of his ambitions is to implement technology to serve humanity.

Panel Discussion (2022) | Digital Journeys: Refugees, Migration, Media
Lorna Piatti-Farnell
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Biography

Lorna Piatti-Farnell is Professor of Film and Popular Culture at Auckland University of Technology where she is also the Director of the Popular Culture Research Centre. Prior to her move to New Zealand in 2010, she held appointments at De Montfort and Bishop Grosseteste universities in the UK. She is the Founder and President of the Gothic Association of New Zealand and Australia (GANZA). She holds an international reputation for leadership in the intersecting fields of Gothic Studies, Food Cultures, Popular Media, and Cultural History, and is known for her successful interdisciplinary collaborations. Her current and forthcoming work examines the connections between popular media and cultural identities, including the multi-faceted socio-historical representation of popular icons, social media participation and digital identities, and the meaning of Gothic horror in times of crisis. She has published widely in her areas of expertise, including Gothic Afterlives: Reincarnations of Horror in Film and Popular Media (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), Consuming Gothic: Food and Horror in Film (Palgrave 2017), and The Vampire in Contemporary Popular Literature (Routledge, 2014). She is currently completing her latest monograph, entitled Poison: A Cultural History of the Mortal Arts (Reaktion, forthcoming 2021).

Keynote Presentation (2022) | Narratives of Fear, Scarcity, and Resistance: Eco-Anxieties and the End of the World in Contemporary Horror Film and Media
Seini F Taumoepeau
Artist, Performer, Activist & Radio Presenter

Biography

(She/Her) is Orator and Songwoman with an intersectional Oceania–Pacific lens and First Nations focus. She practises Faivā (performance of space). An Indigenous woman of the Mōana, direct descendant of ancient Polynesian celestial navigators and chiefly lineage. Analogue to digital interdisciplinary artist and coach/mentor from Sydney’s early hip hop generation, Sēini continues navigational principles with leadership: Founder of OceaniaX and LELEI Wellness. She works with the invisible and intangible, carrying medicine in presence, hands and voice, commanding her aesthetic in harmony and rhythm. Sēini is known by names: SistaNative, Napangardi (Skin-name) and Cantora (Capoeira Name). From Kingdom of Tonga origins and an Australian veteran with a career spanning more than 30 years as performance artist, presenter/broadcaster and creative industries professional. Sēini extends the narratives of Indigenous Oceania in the arts, media, culture, education and personal development sectors. Her storytelling praxis occupies the outskirts, fringe or margins – exploring connectivity, hōhoko (genealogy), ritual, ceremony, communication, relational intersectionality and displacement across Tā Vā (time–space) reality. Emerging Elder and lifelong scholar, Sēini brings Oceanic wisdom and indigenous science to the forefront, as an extension of the emergent Indigenous cultures of her people of the Mōana. Wayfinding the horizon.

Panel Presentation (2022) | Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Precarity and Resilience
Marcelle Townsend-Cross
University of Sydney, Australia

Biography

Marcelle is a mixed heritage First Nations woman of Biripi, Worimi and Irish descent. Marcelle is an educator and researcher who currently teaches Aboriginal Studies at the University Centre for Rural Health in Lismore for the University of Sydney, Australia. For over twenty years she has worked in higher education developing and delivering Indigenous Australian Studies subjects and degree courses at Southern Cross University’s Gnibi College (1999 – 2010); Griffith University’s School of Human Services and Social Work (2011 – 2013) and Long Island University’s Global College (2012 – 2021). Marcelle holds a PhD (2018) and a Master of Education (2009) from the University of Technology Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Music and Indigenous Studies from Southern Cross University (1995).

Marcelle’s Indigenous Australian heritage inspires her dual research focus on the history and contemporary manifestations and impacts of colonialism in Australia and on teaching and learning for social justice and social change.

Panel Presentation (2022) | Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Precarity and Resilience
Arnold Zable
Writer, Australia

Biography

Arnold Zable is an acclaimed Australian writer, novelist, storyteller, and human rights activist. His books include Jewels and Ashes, Café Scheherazade, Scraps of Heaven, Sea of Many Returns, The Fig Tree, Violin Lessons, The Fighter, and most recently, The Watermill. He has published numerous stories, features, essays, columns, in a range of literary journals and papers, and works for theatre. He has a doctorate from the School of Creative Arts, Melbourne University, titled ‘The Immigrant Experience’, and for the past two decades he has written widely on the journeys, and the detention of refugees, and people seeking asylum in Australia. Zable has lectured widely on the art of story, literature, and human rights issues and was appointed a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne from 2012 to 2014. He has conducted numerous workshops for refugees, bushfire survivors, the deaf, the homeless, problem gamblers, and other groups focusing on story as a means of self-understanding. His awards include the 2013 Voltaire, and the 2017 Australia Council Fellowship for Literature, and The 2021 Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. He is the immediate past president and current patron of PEN International, Melbourne.

Keynote Presentation (2022) | The Agony of Limbo and the Imprisonment of the Innocent: Tales from the Frontline, The Ongoing Saga of Australia’s 'Pacific Solution'
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