Panel Discussion

What's the future for disability research?

In the afternoon of Friday 5 February we are pleased to be hosting this panel discussion exploring the future of disability research.

View the Provisional Program

Prof Anne Kavanagh (Chair)

Anne Kavanagh
Anne Kavanagh

Professor Kavanagh is the Director of the Centre for Women's Health, Gender and Society, Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne. Her research on health inequalities focusses on the importance of gender and social and economic disadvantage in relation to a range of health behaviours such as physical activity and diet and outcomes including diabetes, heart disease and mental health and wellbeing. Her work concentrates on the effects a range of social determinants of health including disability, the built environment, and housing.

As someone diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and a parent of a child with a severe disability, Anne knows how difficult life can be for people with disabilities. She aims to bring the terrible 'facts' about the health and living circumstances of people with disabilities to public attention and to contribute to the development of solutions that achieve her grand vision – to be part of world where 'disabilism' is non-existent, where people with disabilities are valued members of community and are fully able to participate socially and economically in society.

Katharine Annear

Katharine Annear
Katharine Annear

Katharine is a passionate disability and community development worker. Through her work she attempts deep engagement with communities and works with populations from the ground up. She has invested time in formal study in disability, critical disability studies, organisational change, gender and policy analysis. She has a Master of Disability Studies. Within the Gender Consortium at Flinders University Katharine is currently developing a Disability Analysis Tool for policy, planning, projects and activities in international development.

Katharine has history of delivering arts and writing workshops to a variety of groups including same sex attracted women, CANTEEN, youth workers, people with disability and has recorded the stories of refugees through an oral history/theatre project.

Katharine has a personal involvement in the Autistic Rights Movement and in building cross disability alliances. She has a 20 year history of systemic advocacy in the areas of disability and disadvantage and is currently the Chair of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network of Australia and New Zealand.

John Berrill

John Berrill
John Berrill

John Berrill is a superannuation & insurance lawyer.

He was the head of the superannuation department at Maurice Blackburn until May 2015 & now runs his own firm Berrill Legal.

John is on the boards of the Consumer Action Law Centre & the Chronic Illness Alliance & is on the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal Advisory Council.

He was a member of the Financial Industry Complaints Service Board & Panel, the Superstream Advisory Council & the Stronger Super Implementation Committee.

John has worked in the areas of superannuation & insurance for 23 years, providing advocacy & advice to consumers, workers, community groups & disability groups.

Leonard Clarke

As a young man Leonard would hitch all around Australia to attend conferences, seminars and demonstration, with an insatiable appetite to make a change for the betterment of his people.

Leonard was reared on the Framlingham Aboriginal Mission in the South west of Victoria, an area that is steeped in violent history. The location where white occupation first settled and had their first clashes with the native people. Leonard’s people staged a 21 year guerrilla warfare against the white settlers and successfully held back the white colonisation of the rich Western districts of Victoria.

Later in life, Leonard was appointed to Victoria Police as the Aboriginal Advisor to the Chief Commissioner of police. This was the first such position in Australia. In this position, Leonard served under four Chiefs of Police.

Cath Roper

Cath Roper
Cath Roper

Cath has a BA, a DipEd and a Masters in Social Health. She held one of four pioneering staff-consumer consultant positions in mental health services in Victoria between 1995 and 1999 and later became the first consumer Academic in Australia, at the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing, University of Melbourne. In this role, Cath teaches mental health nurses, provides industry training and is involved in research, collaborating with consumers, clinicians and academics.

Cath experienced annual involuntary admissions to mental health services over a thirteen year period, underpinning her commitment to supported decision-making and reducing restrictive interventions in legislated environments. Cath is a passionate advocate for adopting attitudes of curiosity and understanding about how people make sense and meaning of their experiences.

Contact Us

Contact us for questions regarding registration and sponsorship.

Cover photo attribution

Leslie Holding – Checkered Flowers, 2010 – acrylic on paper, 42 x 59 cm
The Cunningham Dax Collection

The Cunningham Dax Collection, which is part of The Dax Centre, consists of over 15,000 artworks created by people who have an experience of mental illness and/or psychological trauma.