SPEAKERS 2019

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Managing Director - Fuzzy Operations

Adelle Robinson

Managing Director: Fuzzy Operations
Event Director: Listen Out, Field Day, Harbourlife, Curve Ball
Board Member and Spokesperson: Australian Festivals Association

Adelle has been running music festivals for over 20 years. Field Day, Harbourlife, Parklife and its current iteration Listen Out are some of the most prestigious and largest festivals in Australia. As the head of operations for Fuzzy events Adelle has been at the forefront of stakeholder liaison, safety planning and instrumental in the company’s harm minimization initiatives that now form a key part of the NSW Health Guidelines around music festivals.

Since the formation of the Australian Festival Association Adelle has played lead on government negotiations for the industry and been key spokesperson rallying against the rushed music festival regulation in NSW.

Adelle believes co-operation and consultation with the industry is the key to raising the bar for best practice around music festival management and harm min practices.

Founder/Creative Director - House of Ayebatonye presents

Ayebatonye Abrakasa

Ayebatonye Abrakasa is a Sydney- based Event Producer/DJ/Writer/Podcaster/Presenter/curator and community organiser.

Her prowess behind the decks has seen her play at some of Australia’s best festivals, events, parties and arts institutions alongside some of the world’s finest selectors. Some noteworthy mentions include Secret Garden Festival, Lost Paradise, Yours and Owls Festival, Art Gallery of NSW, Museum of Contemporary Art, House of Mince, A Club Called Rhonda and The Sydney Opera House.

When she’s not playing fun tunes to packed rooms, she’s providing sage social commentary through her online platforms and her podcast Don’t @ Me on FBI Radio where she has interviewed internationally acclaimed guests including Dr Robin Di Angelo, Aiyshat Akanbi and has moderated panels with guests such as Nakhane and Wesley Enoch.

As an events producer and Creative Director, Ayebatonye hosts inclusive and immersive large scale events under her company “House Of Ayebatonye ” and is the brainchild behind the newly established Irregular Fit , a collaborative interdisciplinary arts platform, led by Indigenous, Bla(c)k and POC (persons of colour) artists + collectives working towards creating a more equitable and sustainable future for marginalised folk in arts and cultural industries launching officially in September.

Ayebatonye also hosts a radio show of the same name on Nomad Radio, where listeners can expect a two hour auditory journey that reconciles the many facets of her musical identity exploring Afro rhythms from all over the continent, jazz, experimental and electronic sounds.

Ayebatonye sits on the Board of Directors for the Red Rattler Theatre, MusicNSW Levels Programming Committee and the FBI Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Outside of her work within the arts and cultural industries Ayebatonye undertakes community engagement, anti- discrimination and anti racism work as a public servant. A true champion for the diversification of Australia’s cultural landscape, Ayebatonye frequently contributes her knowledge and experience on social issues within Australia’s music community and is driven to create more opportunities for people from marginalised backgrounds.

Business Development Manager, Nightlife and Entertainment Sector, San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Ben Van Houten

In 2013, Ben Van Houten became San Francisco’s first Business Development Manager for the Nightlife & Entertainment Sector, a position created after an economic impact study identified the $6 billion generated annually by San Francisco’s nightlife and entertainment industry. Ben is involved in a wide range of business assistance and policy efforts to support the industry and its 62,000 employees, with accomplishments including: managing a groundbreaking regional initiative to improve all-night transportation; developing legislation to create San Francisco’s first new full liquor licenses in over 70 years; working to foster compatibility between entertainment venues and residential developments; and leading capacity-building efforts to support the local music industry.

Communications Manager - Kensington Street

Daria Grove

Daria Grove is the Communications Manager of Kensington Street, Chippendale, an eclectic food and lifestyle precinct including twelve restaurants, six bars, a boutique hotel and hawker institution Spice Alley.

Passionate about facilitating the arts and creating a high level of cultural and community engagement, Daria has been the driving force behind several local and international cultural partnerships, exhibitions and festivals including Fringe Festival, OBEY, Singapore Inside Out and the annual Chinese New Year celebrations.

Since joining Kensington Street in 2016, Daria has worked seamlessly with internal and external stakeholders to create a thriving, profitable business and village community, despite Sydney’s restrictive night time environment.

Daria has a strong background in film, events and corporate communications – the perfect mix to bring the Kensington Street precinct and it’s true potential to life!

Research Director - Drug Free Australia

Gary Christian

Gary Christian is Research Director for Drug Free Australia – a peak body representing organisations and individuals who promote and advocate for a healthy, drug free lifestyle for everyday Australians. As a community voice, Drug Free Australia engages with families and young people via newsletters, community forums and the media.

Previous to his role at Drug Free Australia, Gary has been Director of National Program, ADRA Australia; President of Hassela Australia – Drug Rehab Centre; and an Australian Representative to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (Vienna) – International Drug Conventions,

Gary holds a BA in Theology and a MA in Philosophy.

Professor of Cultural Theory and Cultural Practice, Vice President Research, HafenCity University of Hamburg

Gesa Ziemer

Gesa Ziemer (Prof. Dr. phil.) is a professor for cultural theory and vice president research at HafenCity University Hamburg. She is the director of the City Science Lab, cooperation with MIT Media Lab (research group City Science). Her research focusses on digitalisation of cities, new forms of collaboration and the interface between artistic practice and society. She is a member of the Scientific Council of Germany, reviewer for different foundations and academic research funds and a regular guest lecturer at Lucerne School of Art and Design.

President and Co-Founder - Harm Reduction Australia

Gino Vumbaca

Gino Vumbaca is President and Co-Founder of Harm Reduction Australia

Mr Vumbaca has extensive experience in the HIV/ AIDS and drug and alcohol fields both in Australia and internationally. He is a Churchill Fellow, has completed a Social Work degree and a Master of Business Administration at the University of Sydney and is a qualified Company Director.

Mr Vumbaca is the former Executive Director of the Australian National Council on Drugs – a position he held for over 15 years – and which provided advice directly to the offices of the previous 4 Australian Prime Ministers (The Hon John Howard, The Hon Kevin Rudd, The Hon Julia Gillard and The Hon Tony Abbott) as well as numerous Ministers and senior officials. Previously Mr Vumbaca worked as the Manager of HIV/AIDS and related services with the NSW Department of Corrective Services, in a variety of drug and alcohol centres as a counsellor and was responsible for coordinating the establishment of the NSW network of needle and syringe exchange programs for the NSW Health Department.

Mr Vumbaca also continues to provide advice on prisons, HIV and drug issues for international organisations such as the United Nations & World Health Organisation.

He is also a Director of Justice Reinvestment NSW and President of the largest non-government drug and alcohol organisation in Macau SAR – ARTM.

City Data Scientist, HafenCity University of Hamburg

Holger Prang

Holger Prang graduated with an engineering degree in Media Technology. He is part of the CityScope team involved in the development of data-driven negotiation themes and knowledge management to support participation and collaboration throughout disciplines. His PhD studies focus on semantic data analytics and knowledge mapping in spatial and social phenomena. Since 2019 he is developing the MusicCityScope a tool to show and discuss the interdependences between Music and the City in consideration of an integrated approach: Looking at economic, demographic, structural and ecological indicators, gaining insights from spatial and historical event data as well as matters of cultural identity. The aim is to develop positively both the diversity of the city and the diversity of the music scenes.

Marketing & Cultural Director, House of Yes

Jacqui Rabkin

Jacqui Rabkin is the Marketing and Cultural Director at House of Yes, a theatre infused nightclub and creative collective based in Brooklyn, NYC. Before working for House of Yes, Jacqui was a behavioral neuroscientist with a secret love for the underground music & arts scene. She made the switch to full time nightlife in 2016 and never looked back. Since joining the House of Yes team she has pioneered the creation of a nationally-recognized Consent Program, and has been featured on NPR, BBC, The New Yorker, NBC, Vice Media, and more. Jacqui is passionate about creating inclusive, safer spaces in nightlife and fostering community-driven approaches to nightlife development.

Senior Prevention Worker, Jellinek

Judith Noijen

Judith Noijen is a senior staff member of the prevention department of Jellinek in Amsterdam. Jellinek Prevention responds to developments in the field of alcohol and drug-related issues, education, policy and research.
Since 2005 Judith’s focus has been on promoting the role of health, education and science-based policy and interventions in preventing nightlife related risks. She has done so through research, drug checking, staff training and managing a specific nightlife outreach program: ‘Unity’ which has been operating in the Dutch Dance scene since 1996.

By implementing the Celebrate Safe platform and campaign on a national level through public-private cooperation, a strong network has been set up. Within this network, community projects focusing on safer and healthy nightlife, event medical services, event security companies, clubs, music venues, event organisers, local and regional authorities and scientists work together to create a safer and healthy nightlife in the Netherlands.

Judith co-curated the 11th edition of the international Club Health conference on Nightlife, Substance Use and related health issues. The conference that took place in Amsterdam, May 2019, brought together a range of experts from 25 countries on protecting and promoting health in nightlife settings.

As a board member of the European Nightlife Empowerment & Wellbeing Network (NEW Net), she’s working, in close collaboration with safer nightlife stakeholders on improving nightlife empowerment and wellbeing on a European level.

Co Founder/Creative Director, House of Yes

Kae Burke

Kae Burke is a co-founder and creative director of House of Yes, a theatre infused nightclub and creative collective based in Brooklyn. Since 2008, Kae has been dedicated her life to developing collaborative projects, creative spaces, and events that bring together audiences and artists of every genre through performance and nightlife. She has been featured in Forbes, The New Yorker, Culture Trip, Cosmopolitan and the New York Times and recognized for her work with House of Yes in holding the culture of nightlife to a higher standard with a commitment to consent culture, community inclusivity, fostering self-expression and nurturing emerging talent.

Recently named the #2 Best Thing To Do in the World by Time Out New York, House of Yes has been expanding outside of its Brooklyn home to places and projects such as 29 Rooms in Los Angeles, Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee, Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, Envision Festival in Costa Rica, Art Basel in Miami, Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and Blunderland Variety Show in London. Most recently, House of Yes has collaborated with Ian Schrager as the creative developers of Paradise Club at the Times Square Edition in New York City.

Booker/Marketing Manager/Head of Artist Logistics - Division Agency

Kiran De Silva

Kiran has been running events and working in the electronic music industry for the better part of the last decade. Starting off with warehouse parties as a teenager he then moved into running club nights, most notably World Bars infamous Wednesday night event, The Wall. In 2014, when Sydney was first feeling the heat of the Lockout Laws, Kiran launched the weekly Friday party, “Meanwhile” at The Imperial Hotel in Erskineville. The event successfully demonstrated that nightlife didn’t need to be city-centric and that even with lockouts and a market feeling a lot of negative sentiment, nightlife could still well and truly exist in Sydney. It was also around that time he took his first step into working on festivals, joining the team at Future Music Group full time.

In 2016, Kiran moved over to London to expand his knowledge and skill set, landing a role as a Bookings & Promotions Manager for The Columbo Group (XOYO, Phonox, The Camden Assembly) as well as working part time as a tour manager.

Since moving back to Sydney in January 2017, Kiran has been working across numerous projects under the Division Agency umbrella including, Days Like This Festival, The Warehouse Collective and Oxford Street nightclub, Goodbar.

Night Time City Manager, City Business and Safety - City of Sydney

Libby Harris

Libby Harris is a night time economy expert with a background in economic development, placemaking, regulatory policy, law enforcement and security risk management. Currently she leads the Night Time Economy team at the City of Sydney, driving change to create a more vibrant, diverse and safe nightlife for Sydney.

Libby has been responsible for the provision of over $1million in grant funding for businesses to trial new programming at night, planning reforms that incentivise diversity and make it easier for business to trade at night, as well as setting up the City’s first ever night-time advisory panel to ensure local government policy is informed by industry specialists.

Libby is a regular presenter and contributor at industry conferences both in Australia and overseas and was instrumental in setting up the first ever global night-time economy network forum; Global Cities After Dark which brings together government and industry thought leaders from across the world to exchange knowledge and best practices in night-time economy policy.

As founding member and Chair of the NSW Councils’ Night Time Economy Committee, she is committed to developing and sharing knowledge that supports creation of vibrant, diverse and sustainable local night time economies across NSW.
Libby holds a Masters of Security and Risk Management from the University of Leicester, UK.

CEO/Founder/Licensee - Oxford Art Factory

Mark Gerber

Mark Gerber ‘The Boss’ & Founder of the OAF. Born in Holland. Came to Australia in 1970. Mark’s musical career started with teaching himself to play the guitar at the age of 14 and culminated with him forming the post punk band JMM/Scapa Flow in the late 70’s. It lasted long enough to see them play on the same bill as such illustrious stars as The Birthday Party, Laughing Clowns, Echo & The Bunnymen, Hunters and Collectors and Mark E Smith & the Fall to name but a few.
Having lived in the inner city suburbs of Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Kings Cross in the past and by way of his band having played the infamous French’s Wine Bar, Mark has had a connection with Oxford Street, Darlinghurst for what is now going on 40 years. In more recent years Mark was the main driving force behind the creation of venues such as Spectrum, 34B Burlesque and The Vegas Lounge as part of the Q Bar and Exchange Hotel enterprise on Oxford Street.

Mark conceived and founded the Oxford Art Factory in 2005, which opened its doors in 2007 and is now one of the premiere multi functional venues in Sydney if not Australia.

Mark’s love of culture, music and all things art stems from being raised in a family who’s own connection to the arts goes back centuries in Europe. From an early age his parents taught him that creativity and individuality are things to be proud of and supported not scorned or suppressed. Mark’s aim with the OAF is to connect as many people as possible with live music and the arts, as he firmly believes that this kind of exposure has both far-reaching social and personal benefits for anyone who comes in contact with them.

CEO - NSW Users and AIDS Association

Mary Harrod

Mary Ellen Harrod is the CEO of the NSW Users and AIDS Association (NUAA) and brought the well-established Harm Reduction Victoria DanceWize model to NSW in November 2017. DanceWize NSW – like all NUAA programs – has a focus on harm reduction, community development and empowerment while pushing back against the flawed model of prohibition and working to support the health, human rights and dignity of people who use drugs.

Retired Commissioner of Police

Mick Palmer

Michael John (Mick) Palmer is a barrister and 33 year career police officer with extensive experience in police leadership, corporate governance resilience and integrity, and reform in community, national and international law enforcement and security. He has had an active interest in human rights and illicit drug reform for many years.

Mick joined the Northern Territory Police in 1963 and having progressed through the ranks, was appointed Commissioner of the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services agency in 1988. He served in that position until 1994 when he was appointed Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), a position he held for 7 years until his retirement in March 2001.

In 1982 and 1983, during a five years break in his police service, Mick graduated with honors from the Queensland Barristers Board and practiced as a barrister at law on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Between 1997 and 2000 he was a member of the Executive Committee of Interpol having become the first Australian elected to the position. He was also the inaugural Deputy Chair of the National Council against Drugs (NCAD) a position he occupied until his retirement from policing in 2001.

Since retiring from policing Mick has conducted a range of inquiries and reviews for the Australian Federal and State Governments.

In 2004/5 he conducted the Inquiry into the Circumstances of the Immigration Detention of Cornelia RAU and more recently conducted a prison-related inquiry for the Tasmanian Government into conditions in the maximum-security prison at Risdon in Hobart, Tasmania and a benchmark review of Victoria’s corrections system for the Victorian Government, following the death of Carl Williams at Barwon Prison on 19 April 2010.

From 2004 until 2012 Mick was the Federal Government’s Inspector of Transport Security, with a brief to review air, sea and land transport and offshore critical infrastructure and directly advise the government on the efficiency and effectiveness of existing security arrangements.

In 2009 Mick was appointed as a member of the National Human Rights Consultation team of four people headed by Father Frank Brennan, to conduct public meetings across Australia on the issue of human rights and report to Government.

Mick is a recipient of the Australian Police Medal and in 1998 was admitted to the Order of Australia (AO) for his work in “advancing the professionalization of policing through the introduction of far-reaching anti-corruption processes and management practice reform”.

In 1999 the Board of Governors of Charles Sturt University conferred upon him the award of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) for his contribution to advancing policing in Australia.

He is a Director Emeritus and a former Deputy Chair of Australia 21.

Global Night Mayor Advocate & Co Founder, VibeLab

Mirik Milan

Mirik Milan is former Night Mayor of Amsterdam, and longtime creative director of some of the Dutch capital’s most celebrated events.

Since 2012, he has played an instrumental role in the reshaping of Amsterdam’s nightlife scene into one of the most vibrant and economically robust in the world, and his innovative position is fast becoming replicated in major nightlife-focused cities around the world, like New York, Paris and London.

Mirik’s start in nightlife came in 2003 as the promoter of electro night Rauw. Along with DJ Joost van Bellen, Mirik introduced artists like Erol Alkan, Boys Noize, Justice, Busy P, Crookers, Brodinski and Gesaffelstein to the Dutch dance scene, and lead to him producing events for Stedelijk Museum, Spotify, DIESEL, PAX, Aids Foundation, Amnesty International and the City of Amsterdam.

His vast experience and familiarity with the Amsterdam scene made him the perfect candidate to head the city’s new nightlife office (2012 – 2018). As the inaugural Nachtburgemeester, Mirik was the figurehead and spokesperson for all things concerning nightlife in the Dutch capital. His team’s major achievements include working with the hotel and catering industry to introduce of 24-hour venue permits and bringing innovative approaches to dramatically reducing crime in the city’s once troubled Rembrandtplein district.

Mirik also launched the Nacht voor de Nacht, a citywide, multi-venue club festival where partygoers can go between 20 different nightclubs with just one ticket. The event was a huge success, and as well as bringing valuable revenue to the clubs, Nacht voor de Nacht encouraged healthy discourse between clubbers, promoters and local residents, something which has become a hallmark of Mirik’s work in Amsterdam.

In 2017, Mirik gave over 25 international talks to city governments and planners, advising them on how to better deal with their Night Time Economy; and came a partner for the Creative Footprint—a global civic initiative that measures and indexes creative space. Founded by his Berlin counterpart Lutz Leichsenring, the Creative Footprint sees Mirik work more intimately with major global cities looking to monitor and stimulate their creative and nightlife economies.