Brave Conversations Canberra 2017

Brave Conversations Australia 2017 took place on April 10th and 11th 2017 at University Hall at the Australian National University, Canberra.

Brave Conversations Canberra 2017 followed on from the Meta conferences (2008 - 2011) and was our first event as a part of the Web Science network. These earlier events were held at the height of the Open Data and Open Gov reforms around the world, in the very early days of what became known as Web 2.0.

In the first quarter of 2017 the Australian Prime Minister was Malcolm Turnbull, who managed to be berated by Donald Trump before being rolled by Tony Abbott, there was further ministerial scandal with Health Minister Susan Ley being investigated for taxpayer funded trips to the Gold Coast, and Julie Bishop claiming expenses to attend a polo match. NSW got it’s first female Premier in Gladys Berejiklian. South Australia had massive power losses due to an unprecedented heat wave and then announced the construction of Australia's largest grid-connected battery and gas-fired power plant to provide the state with emergency back-up power and system stability.

This event saw us partners with the Ethics Centre, The AIIA and the UK’s New Philanthropy Capital.

Initial blog about the event and its objectives.

Were we Brave?

Supported By

Photography © Bel Campbell 2018



Professor of Computer Science & a Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton, UK.

One of the first computer scientists to undertake serious research in multimedia and hypermedia, she has been at its forefront ever since. The influence of her work has been significant in many areas including digital libraries, the development of the Semantic Web, and the research discipline of Web Science. She is founding Director of the Web Science Trust, which has a global mission to support the development of research, education and thought leadership in Web Science.


University of Southampton, UK.

Professor of Sociology and a Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton, UK. “My research interests range from the sociology of work and organization – with projects on the third sector, the ageing workforce and employee driven innovation – to the sociology of technology and specifically the World Wide Web. I have particular interest in the politics of data and digital artefacts, information infrastructures and digital research methods.”



An open government and open data ninja, working within the machine to enable greater transparency, democratic engagement, citizen-centric design and real, pragmatic actual innovation in the public sector and beyond. Basically she is trying to do her part in establishing greater public benefit from publicly funded data, software and research.


The Wellcome Collection

Head of Digital Engagement at Wellcome, responsible for Wellcome Collection’s ongoing digital transformation. Leading digital development across the museum and library including: digitisation, editorial content and digital storytelling, library systems, web design and platform development.


Public Purpose

Principal of Public Purpose, an advisory practice working at the intersection of policy, government, technology and innovation. Strategist, facilitator and advisor. Formerly in policy and public sector management roles, innovation group at Cisco, advisor to Deloitte public sector team. Now working with PwC on a new social impact practice.


New Philanthropy Capital, London

Director of Innovation and Development at NPC in London. Working across the social sector to accelerate the adoption of digital technology and data to maximise social impact.

Conference Resources & Media

Conference Report by Stewart-Weeks | “We need to talk about the web: a new conversation about technology and society”

Conference Report by Anni Rowland Campbell | "Were we “brave” @braveconvos #braveconversations?"

Web Science Trust PHD Students' Conference Diary | Day One Blog

Web Science Trust PHD Students' Conference Diary | Day Two Blog

Katina Michael On Talking Tech | Will robots take our jobs? Broadcast 13/03/2017

Conference Report by Tony Nolan OAM | Reflections on Brave Conversations

Conference Speaker Nicholas Gruen’s essay in The Mandarin | “The living and the dead: government’s arteries and capillaries have lost symbiosis”

Speaker Pia Waugh's Conference Presentation | Choose Your Own Adventure, Please!

Professor Dame Wendy Hall Interviewed on ABC Lateline | Broadcast 12/04/2017 with Jeremy Fernandez

Speaker Katina Michael ABC Radio Sydney | How do you rein in violent live video streaming on FB? Broadcast 19/4/2017 with Wendy Harmer

Conference Attendee, Tuggeranong College Student Matthew Torrens on Canberra 2CC Broadcast 04/04/2017 with Tim Shaw


Organising Committee

Lisa Baldwin, Fuji Xerox

Leanne Fry, AUSTRAC

Professor Susan Halford, Web Science Institute, University of Southampton

Terry Hanisch, Digital Transformation Agency

Chris Monk, Decoded

Anni Rowland-Campbell, Intersticia

Dr Ramine Tinati, New Frontiers Fellow at University of Southampton

Pia Waugh, AUSTRAC

Michele Berkhout, Corporate Solutions

Bel Campbell, Creative Director

Paul Strahl & Tech Alchemy, Technical Director