ASA IDEA Workshop 2017

ASA IDEA Workshop 2017


IDEA Workshop 2017

Macquarie University | 28 - 29 September, 2017


Welcome to the website for the 2017 Diversity in Astronomy Workshop, to be held 28-29 September on the campus of Macquarie University in Sydney.

This year's workshop asks how we can reach those most reluctant to engage. Featuring talks and interactive sessions by veterans of the UK's flagship Athena SWAN Project, the programme aims to highlight practical and evidence-based lessons on what has worked (and what has not) in inspiring change. Addressing an issue that continues to affect the international astronomical community, the workshop will tackle the question of how we can reduce harassment in our workplaces, featuring experienced panellists who will share their learned techniques for managing bullying and harassment. Building on the IDEA Chapter's commitment to Diversity above and beyond gender equity, the workshop will also turn the spotlight on cultural awareness, highlighting the experiences of under-represented cultural backgrounds, and providing attendees with practical training on cultural sensitivity.


Day 1

09:30-09:50Welcome to country + meeting opening 
09:50-10:50Why Diversity Matters: An Evidence-Based Toolkit for Inspiring ChangeAlison Rodger/Harriet Jones
10:50-11:10Morning tea 
11:10-11:30Astronomers' stories #1Devika Kamath
11:30-12:30Inspiring institutional change: Lessons from Athena SWANAlison Rodger/Harriet Jones
13:30-14:50Change through individual action (Workshop)Alison Rodger/Harriet Jones
14:50-15:10Astronomers' stories #2Sarah Maddison
15:10-15:30Afternoon tea 
15:30-16:45Panel Discussion: Addressing Harassment in the WorkplaceNicole Gower (facilitator)
16:45-17:15Privilege Pop Quiz  


The conference dinner will be held on Thursday 28th at 7pm at Huong Lua, a Vietnamese restaurant in Chatswood ( The journey to Chatswood takes 13 minutes by train from Macquarie University Station, and the restaurant is located a short walk from the Chatswood Station. A group will depart the conference venue at 18:10 to catch the 18:30 train. Alternatively, delegates are welcome to make their own way to the restaurant.

The conference dinner is free of charge but requires sign-up.

The restaurant is fully licensed and BYO is also permitted for wine only. The cost of alcohol is not covered by the workshop, and must be paid for on an individual basis.

Day 2

09:00-10:30Building Cultural Intelligence (Workshop)Charlotta Oberg
10:30-10:50Morning tea 
10:50-12:00Building Cultural Intelligence (Workshop)Charlotta Oberg
13:00-15:00Aboriginal Engagement and Cultural AwarenessPhil Duncan
15:00-17:00Afternoon tea, wine and social mixer 

Why Diversity Matters: An Evidence-Based Toolkit for Inspiring Change

The recent media coverage of the "Google manifesto" has highlighted just how much confusion and skepticism still exists regarding the need for diversity initiatives in STEM. Our words often do not reach those who have most power to instigate change, or who may resist the idea that there is a significant problem in the first place. This year's IDEA workshop aims to break those barriers, and send attendees back out into the world as ambassadors for change, equipped with an evidence-based toolkit on the nature of the problems, and what works and what doesn't when inspiring individuals (and institutes!) to challenge their views.


Harriet Jones (SAGE Project Manager, Macquarie University):
What is the problem and why should we care? An evidence-based toolkit (Title TBC)

Alison Rodger (Head of Chemistry & Biomolecular Sciences, Macquarie University):
Inspiring Institutional Change: Lessons from Athena SWAN

Panel Discussion: Addressing Harassment in the Workplace

Many people have gained valuable experience in the workplace in how to communicate effectively what constitutes harassment, and how to manage their workplace environment to illuminate and thus reduce poor behaviour by others. This panel discussion, led by experienced panellists from industry and academia, will explore useful techniques and shared experiences for reducing bullying and harassment in the workplace.

Panel Members:

Nicole Gower, MQ (Facilitator)
Kate Gunn, CAASTRO
Clara Mazzone, IT Power
Renu Sharma, ICRAR
Michelle Storey, CSIRO
Tasso Tzioumis, CSIRO

Building Cultural Intelligence

Astronomy is a proudly international discipline, with the vast majority of research conducted as part of international collaborations and teams, often using facilities supported by public funding from multiple nations. Career paths will very often involve living and working in different countries for extended periods of time, exposing us to different languages, cultures, and values. This session will consider how we can make the most of our ‘global village’ by introducing the concepts around ‘Cultural Intelligence’, and exploring the subtle and unexpected ways in which culture can influence our personal and professional interactions.

Facilitator: Charlotta Oberg (Director & Facilitator PRISMA Cross-Cultural Consultants)

Aboriginal Engagement and Cultural Awareness

Indigenous knowledge systems have contributed significantly to research in Australia in the past and continue to do so today, however this contribution is not always acknowledged or valued appropriately by the broader scientific community. At the same time, indigenous people remain under-represented in the higher education system, particularly in the natural and physical sciences, and especially among young people. As astronomers, we share a close connection with indigenous communities through our interest in the night sky, yet translating this into meaningful science outreach and engagement with the indigenous community can be challenging. In this inclusive and participatory session, indigenous cultural trainer Phil Duncan will focus on building the confidence to engage with Aboriginal people and communities, as well as providing a process / mud map / checklist for participants to customise for their own usage.

Facilitator: Phil Duncan (Walanga Muru / Macquarie University)

Astronomers' Stories

Members of the Australian astronomical community share their personal career stories and experiences.

Confirmed speakers

Dr Devika Kamath (Lecturer, Macquarie University)
Prof Sarah Maddison (Acting Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor (FSET), Swinburne University)

Speaker/Facilitator bios


Harriet Jones (SAGE Project Manager, Macquarie University): 

Harriet has been working on Athena SWAN in the UK for the past 4 years; first working at the University of Exeter supporting the implementation of their Bronze action plan, and then at University College London. At UCL Harriet was responsible for 40+ STEMM departments applying for SWAN awards, as well as managing the successful university Silver application. She has a background in Sociology specialising in gender, sexuality and social science research methods.


Alison Rodger (Head of Chemistry & Biomolecular Sciences, Macquarie University):

Alison has just moved to Macquarie after over 20 years at the University of Warwick. She has been a champion of gender equity in STEM via her involvement in Athena SWAN and SAGE, and is also committed to supporting the career development of early career researchers. Her research focuses on understanding the structure and function of biomacromolecules and their assemblies.

clara mazzone

Clara Mazzone (Construction Projects Manager at IT Power)

Clara Mazzone is an engineer with over eight years of project management experience, she has managed the delivery of complex projects in the renewable energy industry in Australia, the Pacific Islands and India bringing her in direct contact with challenges around gender, ethnicity and ageism. Her diverse educational background holding a Bachelor of Engineering in Renewable Energy and a Bachelor of Arts brings a unique set of skills in communication and technical ability that provide the lens through which she approaches questions of diversity.

michelle storey

Dr Michelle Storey (CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science)

Michelle has held research positions in Australian astronomy for over thirty years, as well as working for several years as scientific editor of the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia. In 2012 Michelle was awarded a Commonwealth Public Service Medal for her work in establishment of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. Michelle retired in 2015, but has returned to CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science this year to lead a project to ensure best-practice policies are in place to reduce bullying and harassment. This project has involved wide consultation, both within and outside CSIRO, investigating techniques to ensure a positive workplace environment.

kate gunn

Kate Gunn (CEO, ARC Centre of Excellence in All-sky Astrophysics)

Kate is the Chief Operating Officer of the ARC Centre of Excellence in All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO). She has 25 years of business experience, and is the Founder and Director of Balance! Healthcare, a leader in multi-disciplinary integrated primary healthcare. In 2015, Kate won a scholarship from Chief Executive Women to attend the Women’s Leadership Program, Harvard Business School, and in 2012 she was named as one of the inaugural 100 Women of Influence in Australia (by Westpac and the Australian Financial Review). Previously a finalist in the Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Kate has also been recognised with a number of business entrepreneurship awards over the years. She is currently the Acting President of the National Foundation for Australian Women, and was previously the Chair of the Government funded National Women’s Alliance Economic Security4Women.

nicole gower

Nicole Gower (Director of Human Resources, Macquarie University)

Nicole Gower is the Director of Human Resources at Macquarie University. She is a member of the Macquarie University Executive Group and is the Executive Group sponsor for several strategic initiatives including the University’s Gender Equity Strategy.  Nicole holds a BA/LLB (Hons) from the University of Technology, Sydney, and prior to her current position worked in HR leadership roles at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and as an employment law specialist in private practice.  Nicole is also an accredited mediator and nationally accredited workplace trainer and assessor.

sarah maddison

Sarah Maddison (Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology and a professor of astrophysics at Swinburne University of Technology)

Sarah Maddison is currently the acting Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology and a professor of astrophysics at Swinburne University of Technology. After postdocs overseas, Sarah returned to Australia in late 1999 to help run the newly established Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing at Swinburne. She has held numerous leadership roles both within the university and the astronomy community. A passionate advocate for women in STEM, Sarah was founder and chair of both the International Astronomical Union Working Group for Women in Astronomy and the Women in Astronomy Chapter of the Astronomical Society of Australia - now IDEA! She is currently a member of the Women in Physics Committee of the Australian Institute of Physics and Swinburne lead for the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot.

phil duncan

Phil Duncan (Aboriginal Cultural Training Coordinator at Walanga Muru)

Phil Duncan is from Moree New South Wales and is a member of the Gomeroi Nation and is an elected leader of the Gomeroi Nation Native Title Claimant Group: his homelands are Moree and Terry Hie Hie. Phil has over 39 years experience working with Aboriginal people and Government to improve the lives of Aboriginal people through recognition of our rich cultural history, the return of our lands, the improvement of our living conditions and education of our next generation both through my employment and volunteer community work. Phil provides high level policy and strategic advice to key Indigenous Representative Organisations, State and Federal Government Agencies as well as key external stakeholder groups. The strategic advice regards issues of culture and heritage significance, community engagement in onground projects. Phil is currently a member of the CSIRO National Strategic Indigenous Advisory Council, Australian Society of Limnology’s Indigenous Executive, AustralianProductivity Commission – National Inquiry into Australia’s Water Resources

charlotta oberg

Charlotta Oberg (Cross-cultural training consultant, Prisma Cross-Cultural Consulting)

Charlotta Oberg is a cross-cultural training consultant with Prisma Cross-Cultural Consulting - a boutique training consultancy focusing on multicultural societies. Charlotta has lived and worked in 15 countries on three continents. Over the past two decades, she has resourced thousands of leaders around the world, from Australia to China to Sweden, with Cultural Intelligence. Her vision is for people to connect, succeed and thrive in their global village. Charlotta has extensive experience consulting across many sectors, from large and small private enterprise, through government and non-governmental public sector agencies (including the International Criminal Court). She contributes regularly to cultural publications, and speaks at a wide variety of events, from the Australia-China Business Week in Shanghai, Sydney and Melbourne, to Early Childhood Education Conferences around Australia. Charlotta holds a Masters Degree in Social Science with a focus on intercultural communication, and is a certified coach. She grew up in Sweden, has lived and worked around the world, including Malaysia, China and the US, and now enjoys living in Sydney with her trilingual family.


Dr Renu Sharma PhD, GAICD, FLWA (Associate Director and Chief Operating Officer, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR))

Renu has over 30 years of international experience in Australia and India in the areas of capability and capacity building, administration of research and development and joint venture creation and management. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and a Fellow of Leadership WA. Renu firmly believes in transparency and good governance and is passionate about creating and supporting enabling and inclusive cultures at organisations where dignity of every individual is respected and valued. She has worked at UWA since 2002 and was a member of the Vice Chancellors Equity and Diversity Committee and one of the Equity and Diversity Advisors at UWA. Before coming to Australia in 2000, Renu worked for Government of India as Assistant Director. She actively engages with community through her poetry on migration and family values, and advocates these through multicultural radio programs. She was recognised for her personal excellence by a multicultural community organisation in 2017.

Tasso Tzioumis

Tasso Tzioumis (Program Director - Technologies CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science)

Tasso has worked as a Research Scientist at CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) for 27 years, and is currently the Program Director for Technologies in radio astronomy. He has maintained a keen interest in people issues, first as workplace union delegate and then as workplace Ombudsman for 17 years. He is on the CASS diversity committee and has participated in many previous women-in-astronomy workshops. Tasso comes from a mediterranean cultural background and he is very interested in cross-cultural issues in diversity, inclusion and equity.

devika kamath

Dr. Devika Kamath (Lecturer in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Macquarie University & ITSO/Australian Astronomical Observatory)

Dr. Devika Kamath is a Stellar Astrophysicist. She obtained her Ph.D in Astrophysics from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA), ANU, Canberra. Her Ph.D thesis revolves around understanding the late stages of stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis in the most ideal cosmological nuclear reactors: low- and intermediate-mass stars. Subsequently, she was awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven, Belgium. Currently, she holds a joint faculty position as a Lecturer in Astrophysics at the Research Centre for Astronomy, Astrophysics & Astrophotonics, Macquarie University and the Australian Astronomical Observatory.


IMPORTANT: Registration will close at 23:59 on Thursday 21st September.

To register to participate in the Workshop please click on the following link:

Students can apply for travel support and should contact us if interested

Remote Participation

Live streaming and remote participation info coming soon.


Free on-site childcare will be provided by Faeriestorm Nanny Service (

Brenda and her nannies provide a wide variety of activities to keep kids entertained, including music, books, games and puzzles.

Parents must provide their own food (feeding kids on the conference food is fine!), and may provide additional toys if desired.

The nanny service is booked through the workshop registration page.

Registered Participants

Registered Participant list for 2017 IDEA workshop.

Participant NameCompany/Institution
Balu Moothedath 
Jimi GreenCSIRO
Yeshe FennerSwinburne University of Technology
Andrew HopkinsAustralian Astronomical Observatory (AAO)
Sarah MartellUniversity of New South Wales (UNSW)
John O'ByrnePhysics - SIfA University of Sydney
Travis StenborgAstronomy Australia Ltd. (AAL)
Angel Lopez-SanchezAAO / MQU
Michelle StoreyCSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS)
Caroline FosterUniversity of Sydney
Henry ZovaroAustralian National University
Sarah BroughUNSW
Joanne DawsonMacquarie University
Renu SharmaICRAR UWA
Clara MazzoneITP Renewables
Shari BreenThe University of Sydney
Mia WalkerCurtin Institute of Radio Astronomy
Wilfred GeeMacquarie University
Adriano PociMacquarie University
Micharl BrownMonash University
Jane KaczmarekMacquarie University
Roberta PalfreemanMacquarie University
Tiffany DayMacquarie University
Adam BattenMacquarie Universtiy
Catherine BraidingUNSW
Kate ChowCASS
Christina BaldwinMacquarie University
Mireia MontesUNSW
Tasso TzioumisCSIRO
Douglas BockCASS
Daniel CottonUNSW Physics
Hayley MacphersonMonash University
Richard McDermidMacquarie University
Ellen HoustonMacquarie University
Rosemary SquireMacquarie University
Van Hiep NguyenMacquarie University
Anita PetzlerMacquarie University
Ryan ShannonCSIRO and ICRAR-Curtin
Andy GreenAAO
Elizabeth MahonyUSYD
Margaret SharpeUNE
Lee SpitlerMacquarie University
Anne GreenUSYD
Lucyna Kedziora-ChudczerUNSW
Tim BeddingUSYD
Annie FenwickeSAGE Project Manager - USYD
Richard ScalzoUniversity of Sydney
Devika KamathMQ / AAO
Harriet JonesMacquarie University
Sarah MaddisonSwinburne University of Technology
Max Maddison Mills 
Annemarie NadortMacquarie University
Matt OwersMacquarie University
Mike ChapmanSydney Outdoor Lighting Improvement Society
Clara JavaherianMacquarie University
Mikolaj SchmidtMacquarie University
Judith DawesMacquarie University
Erik KoolMacquarie University
Alison RodgerMacquarie University
Kristina KopychynskiMacquarie University
Sophia GoodchildMacquarie University

Getting Here

Workshop Location: Building C5C Forum, 17 Wally's Walk, Macquarie University, NSW 2109

Public Transport

Getting to and from Macquarie University is easy. We have our own Train Station on campus, and it is a short walk to the host building for IDEA2017.

More information on Sydney's Transport system can be found here:

Along with a handy website on how to get to Macquarie University:


Parking on campus will be free in designated areas due to the Graduation taking place on campus during the workshop.


Macquarie University has many Accommodation options available.

Travelodge (

Temporary accommodation options range from on-campus residential colleges, off-campus student accommodation, serviced apartments to hotels and youth hostels/backpackers. Suburbs close to Macquarie University include North Ryde (the area of Macquarie University), Marsfield, Epping, Macquarie Park, Lane Cove, and Chatswood.

Please see the following website for the options available.

Contact Us

IDEA is the Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Astronomy Chapter of The Astronomical Society of Australia.

The LOC can be contacted at

Local Organising Committee:

Dan Zucker (MQ)

Joanne Dawson (MQ)

Wilfred Gee (MQ)

Richard McDermid (MQ)

Campus Map

The Campus Map can be found here.

The Workshop will be held in the C5C Forum, located on the map below:


Thanks to the following sponsors, and the Dick Hunstead Fund for Astrophysics, for supporting the ASA IDEA 2017 workshop:










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