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2019 Speakers


Martha Lane Fox


Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, CBE. Businesswoman, philanthropist and public servant. Co-founder of LastMinute.com, and the second youngest woman to sit in the House of Lords. As the government’s UK Digital Champion, launched the charity ‘Go ON UK’ championing responsible tech, and ‘Doteveryone’ – an independent thinktank addressing the digital skills gap among British adults.

Philip Colligan


Chief Executive of Raspberry Pi Foundation. Formerly Nesta, with a background in national and local government, and a track record of setting up and growing social purpose businesses. Welsh. Father. Craft cider maker. School Governor. Scout volunteer.

Dave Tomlinson


Church of England priest. Writer. Published titles include How To Be a Bad Christian (and a better human being), and Black Sheep and Prodigals (an antidote to black and white religion). Contributes to BBC Radio 2’s ‘Pause for Thought’. Co-founded Holy Joes, a church in a pub, with his wife Pat. Aspires to make faith humane and accessible to the non-religious – and to see LFC rule the world!

Jeremiah Osei-Tutu


Currently studying Philosophy at The School of Economic Science, and also has a degree in Psychology from The OU. Uses work as a vehicle to highlight contemporary global issues. Author of ‘Reading In-between the Lines of Homophobia’, and currently working on his second book exploring the complex nature of severe mental illness. Proud Samaritans volunteer.

Dr Julie McElroy


Scottish. Completing Master of Law at The OU. Assistive Technology expert. Researches and develops advanced products, services and devices, for people with disabilities. Believes those with disabilities should lead a dynamic and independent life. Passionate about disability rights and its relationship to Law.

Hannah Sergeant


PhD student at The OU working in the field of Planetary Science. Research is focussed on water production from Moon rocks as part of the ProSPA instrument that will be flown to the Moon in 2025. Degree in Physics from the University of Sheffield and an MSc in Space Exploration Systems from the University of Leicester. Qualified Physics and Maths teacher with a passion for science communication.

Stephen Peake


Senior Lecturer in Environmental Technology at The OU and Senior Associate at CISL. Research focuses on energy and climate futures, including the role of performance in authentic leadership. An extensive body of work, including stints at the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the International Energy Agency. Fellow of the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

John Domingue


OU Professor. Director of the Knowledge Media Institute and President of STI International. Published over 270 articles in the areas of semantics, the Web, distributed ledgers and eLearning. Instrumental role in the EU-funded project, QualiChain, which aims to revolutionise public education and its relationship to policy making and the labour market. Fellow of the British Blockchain Association.

Kate Lister


MA in Educational Technology. Teaching licentiate and senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). Advance HE associate advising on inclusive teaching and learning. Prominent speaker on mental wellbeing in higher education, and currently studying for a doctorate in mental health in distance learning. Member of Student Minds’ SMARTEN network.

David Breakspear


Freelance writer, blogger and an active campaigner for prison, criminal justice and social reform. An organised crime historian and currently working on a debut novel. Having been a part of the criminal justice system for four decades, he now writes about his experiences for various publications, including online journals The Norwich Radical and National Crime Syndicate.

Victoria Williams


After completing a BSc at King’s College London, spent seven years working in the digital industry while living with the invisible condition, endometriosis. Now a PhD student at The OU researching the experience of endometriosis in the workplace and the influence of menstrual policy. Organises workshops and retreats to support people living with the condition.

Finlay Games


Passionate YouTuber, Blogger and Writer. Undergraduate at The OU and Student Ambassador. Creates educational and inspirational content on topics of recovery, drawing from both his academic studies and lived experiences of mental illness, addiction and gender transition. Through transparent sharing, aims to inspire others to recover their life and rewrite their story.

Wayne Holmes


PhD, University of Oxford. Lecturer of Learning Sciences and Innovation at The OU’s Institute of Educational Technology. Leading and speaking on Artificial intelligence in Education (AIED) and Co-author of three related books. Advises the DfE and the UK National Commission for UNESCO on the pedagogical, ethical and social implications of AI in education.

Claudia Eckert


Professor of Design at The OU’s department of engineering and innovation. Spent 10 years at the University of Cambridge as Assistant Director of the Engineering Centre. Work involves studying design processes of complex incremental products across a broad range of industries. Co-chair of the Modelling and Managing Engineering Processes special interest group and Board Member of the Design Society.

Daniel Simms


Remote Sensing Lecturer at Cranfield University. Work focuses on the models and algorithms that are used to turn images – from satellites, aircraft and drones – into information about the land's surface. Current project is sponsored by the European Space Agency, aiming to improve the agrochemical management of crops through space-enhanced machine learning.

Anite Cassidy


Writer. Polyamorous, kinky and bi. Co-founded Alethya, a community that champions conscious relationships, and juggles this with writing, coaching and speaking. Fascinated by the intersection between humans and their social and cultural environment, as well as neuroscience, philosophy and psychology. Her first novel, Appetite, was published in 2018. Lives in London with her two children.

Jayne Constantinis


Trainer, Presenter and Voice Over artist with over 25 years in communications. BAFTA-nominated for her BBC TV series on Mexico. Work with Olympic athletes prompted Jayne to confront and dispel the myths surrounding confidence in communications. Derives huge satisfaction from helping others to overcome their fears.

Yasmin Bokhair-Friberg


Born in Madrid. After finishing a MSc in Marine Geology at Lund University in Sweden, she moved to the UK to start a PhD at The OU. Work focuses on the Indian Summer Monsoon that occurred during one of Earth’s warmest periods. Hopes to continue work as a climate scientist after the PhD.

Adrian Mallory


Post-doctoral research fellow in Circular Economy at Cranfield University. Interdisciplinary researcher focused on the issue of providing sanitation and agriculture in low and middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Passionate about understanding the intersection of people and technology.

Derek Jones


Senior Lecturer in Design at The OU. Research interests are the pedagogy of design and creativity; embodied cognition in physical and virtual environments; and theories of design knowledge. Qualified architect with 15 years experience in the construction design and procurement industries. Convenor of the Design Research Society’s Pedagogy special interest group.

Prof Nick Braithwaite


Joined The OU in 1987, as lecturer in Electronic Materials and is currently acting as Executive Dean of the STEM Faculty. Responsible for conceiving The OU’s large-scale online laboratory for the teaching of practical science, technology, engineering and mathematics, namely the multi-award winning OpenSTEM Labs. Happiest working with students in the lab, figuring out what makes things work.

James Schwanethal


Space instrument developer at The OU. Background in Physics and Space Science with over 15 years’ experience in mass spectrometry. Currently working on the LUVMI-X lunar rover. Diagnosed with autism late in life, James passionately believes that any expertise is not despite their disorder but because of it. Enjoys sharing own experiences and helping others, yet terrified of public speaking!

Helen Lockett


Engineering academic at The OU. Chartered Engineer and Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and ASTM International, contributing to the development of new standards for additive manufacturing. Encourages young people to consider engineering careers. Passion began when constructing an electric bass guitar for a school technology project. STEM Ambassador.

Clara Gray


International Relations and International Law student at the University of Edinburgh. Passionate human rights defender and avid adventurer!