Speakers

The European Conference on Arts & Humanities (ECAH) is an interdisciplinary conference held alongside The European Conference on Media, Communication & Film (EuroMedia). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for either conference will allow participants to attend sessions in both.

This page provides information about presenters. For details of presentations and other programming, please visit the Programme page.


  • Anne Boddington
    Anne Boddington
    Kingston University, UK
  • Donna Lee Brien
    Donna Lee Brien
    Central Queensland University, Australia
  • Matthew Coats
    Matthew Coats
    University of Brighton, UK
  • Donald E. Hall
    Donald E. Hall
    University of Rochester, USA
  • Bel Jacobs
    Bel Jacobs
    Writer and Speaker, United Kingdom
  • Emily Kasriel
    Emily Kasriel
    BBC, UK
  • John Lau
    John Lau
    London College of Fashion, United Kingdom
  • Lorna Piatti-Farnell
    Lorna Piatti-Farnell
    Auckland University of Technology, New-Zealand
  • Sophie Skach
    Sophie Skach
    Fashion Designer and Researcher, UK
  • Gary E. Swanson
    Gary E. Swanson
    University of Northern Colorado, USA (fmr.)
  • Peter Jeun Ho Tsang
    Peter Jeun Ho Tsang
    Foundry Powered by IFA Paris, France

Previous Speakers

View details of speakers at past ECAH conferences via the links below.

Anne Boddington
Kingston University, UK

Biography

Anne Boddington is Professor of Design Innovation, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, Business and Innovation at Kingston University in the UK and recently appointed as the Sub Panel Chair for Art & Design: History, Practice & Theory for the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. Professor Boddington has extensive experience of the leadership, management and evaluation of art and design education and art and design research in higher education across the UK and internationally. She is an experienced chair and has held trustee and governance roles across the creative and cultural sector including as trustee of the Design Council, an independent Governor, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), an affiliate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), a member of the executive of the Council for Higher Education in Art & Design (CHEAD) and a member of the advisory board of the Arts & Humanities Research Council. She has an international reputation in creative education and research and has been a partner, a collaborator, a reviewer and evaluator for a wide range of international projects and reviews across different nations in Europe, the Middle East, Southern and East Asia and North America.

Keynote Presentation (2020) | Viral Lessons

Previous Presentations

Plenary Panel (2019) | Reimagining the Future
Plenary Panel Presentation (2018) | Fearful Futures
Featured Panel Presentation (2017) | The Challenges of Doing Research and Creative Activity in the Arts and Humanities Today
Donna Lee Brien
Central Queensland University, Australia

Biography

Donna Lee Brien, PhD, is Professor of Creative Industries at Central Queensland University, Australia, where she leads the Creative Arts Research Training Academy. Her research focuses on popular genres of creative writing, especially non-fiction writing, including biography, memoir and food writing. Also completing research into research higher degrees, her most recent books are The Doctoral Experience: Student Stories from the Creative Arts and Humanities, Eds., Donna Lee Brien, Craig Batty, Elizabeth Ellison & Alison Owens, 2019, and Writing the Australia Beach: Local Site, Global idea, Eds., Elizabeth Ellison & Donna Lee Brien, 2020.

Panel Presentation (2020) | The Age of the Zombie: Social Distancing without Social Media Distancing
Matthew Coats
University of Brighton, UK

Biography

Matthew Coats was educated at the London College of Fashion and, until 2017, was a fabric designer at Chanel in Paris, working for Karl Lagerfeld. After spending several years working as a fashion designer for both luxury and high-street brands, he is now lecturing in Fashion at the University of Brighton, having previously lectured in Creative Direction at Birmingham City University. Alongside his work in education, he also runs his own fashion-led interior textiles business. As a designer, his work is focused on combining modern technology with traditional fabric weaving, and is executed in a vibrant, colourful style. Having also worked as an agent at one of London’s leading model agencies, Storm, Matthew is familiar with the many sides of the fashion industry. He feels passionately about the cultural significance of the industry and the continuing importance of high-quality fashion education.

Plenary Panel (2020) | Embracing Difference: Fashion, Design and the Rhetoric of Social Change

Previous Presentations

Plenary Panel (2019) | Reimagining the Future
Donald E. Hall
University of Rochester, USA

Biography

Donald E. Hall is Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering at the University of Rochester, USA. Prior to moving to Rochester, he was Dean of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh University, USA. Dean Hall has published widely in the fields of British Studies, Gender Theory, Cultural Studies, and Professional Studies. Over the course of his career, he served as Jackson Distinguished Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English (and previously Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages) at West Virginia University. Before that, he was Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English at California State University, Northridge, where he taught for 13 years. He is a recipient of the University Distinguished Teaching Award at CSUN, was a visiting professor at the National University of Rwanda, was Lansdowne Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Victoria (Canada), was Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Cultural Studies at Karl Franzens University in Graz, Austria, and was Fulbright Specialist at the University of Helsinki. He has also taught in Sweden, Romania, Hungary, and China. He served on numerous panels and committees for the Modern Language Association (MLA), including the Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion, and the Convention Program Committee. In 2012, he served as national President of the Association of Departments of English. From 2013-2017, he served on the Executive Council of the MLA.

His current and forthcoming work examines issues such as professional responsibility and academic community-building, the dialogics of social change and activist intellectualism, and the Victorian (and our continuing) interest in the deployment of instrumental agency over our social, vocational, and sexual selves. Among his many books and editions are the influential faculty development guides, The Academic Self and The Academic Community, both published by Ohio State University Press. Subjectivities and Reading Sexualities: Hermeneutic Theory and the Future of Queer Studies were both published by Routledge Press. Most recently he and Annamarie Jagose, of the University of Auckland, co-edited a volume titled The Routledge Queer Studies Reader. Though he is a full-time administrator, he continues to lecture worldwide on the value of a liberal arts education and the need for nurturing global competencies in students and interdisciplinary dialogue in and beyond the classroom.

Professor Donald E. Hall is a Vice-President of IAFOR. He is Chair of the Arts, Humanities, Media & Culture division of the International Academic Advisory Board.

Keynote Presentation (2020) | Dislocation/Invitation

Previous Presentations

Keynote Presentation (2019) | Resisting the Cynical Turn: Projections of a Desirably Queer Future
Plenary Panel (2019) | Reimagining the Future
Featured Panel Presentation (2017) | The Challenges of Doing Research and Creative Activity in the Arts and Humanities Today
Bel Jacobs
Writer and Speaker, United Kingdom

Biography

Between 1999 and 2013, Bel Jacobs was Style Editor for Metro, building the paper's reputation for fashion content with a focus on ethical alternatives. The fall of Rana Plaza in 2013 forced a re-assessment. Bel is a writer, speaker and activist with a focus on animal rights, the climate emergency and alternatives to the toxic fashion system. She is one of the coordinators for Extinction Rebellion's Fashion Action team.

Plenary Panel (2020) | Embracing Difference: Fashion, Design and the Rhetoric of Social Change
Emily Kasriel
BBC, UK

Biography

As Head of Editorial Partnerships & Special Projects at the BBC World Service Group, Emily has set up and directs a number of high profile projects. During the last two years she’s been leading the BBC Crossing Divides season, bringing people together in a fragmented world. Through this work she’s been developing work on Deep Listening, drawing on her experience as an Executive Coach, training with conflict mediators, and drawing on a range of expertise. She has also trained over 200 members of the UK public in this skill at a BBC Crossing Divides Live Festival, and is now a Practitioner in Residence working on Deep Listening at the LSE’s Marshall Institute.

Emily’s Crossing Divides season was born out of the Solutions-Focused Journalism project, kick-starting a culture change across the BBC. To this end she ran the SoICanBreathe season looking at ways to cut air pollution. Emily also directs the BBC World News Komla Dumor Award, finding and supporting top journalism talent in Africa.

Previously she was a Senior Advisor to the Skoll Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, creating partnerships to source more diverse Social Entrepreneur awardees and a Visiting Fellow at Said Business School, University of Oxford. She is also on the board of the grant-giving HH Wingate Foundation.

Emily has written for the BBC website, The Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Prospect and the Financial Times, plus hosts panels and events globally.

In her award winning BBC career, Emily previously founded, edited and occasionally presented The Forum, the flagship weekly interdisciplinary radio discussion show after running the Arts and Religion departments of the BBC World Service, and has reported and produced for the BBC across five continents.

Keynote Presentation (2020) | Crossing Divides and Embracing Difference
John Lau
London College of Fashion, United Kingdom

Biography

John Lau is the Associate Dean of the School of Design and Technology at London College of Fashion. With a broad background within the fashion industry he was a womenswear designer in London, progressing his career in fashion magazines as a fashion editor in New York, and latterly a creative director of a diffusion line for a luxury brand before moving on to production management in Hong Kong.

John has been in academia for over a decade and as an executive academic, leads a world-leading portfolio of programmes across clothing, textiles, accessories, footwear and jewellery. He is regularly called upon for expert opinion, most recently by BBC, South China Morning Post, and i-D.

Plenary Panel (2020) | Embracing Difference: Fashion, Design and the Rhetoric of Social Change
Lorna Piatti-Farnell
Auckland University of Technology, New-Zealand

Biography

Lorna Piatti-Farnell is Professor of Film and Popular Culture at Auckland University of Technology where she is also the Director of the Popular Culture Research Centre. Prior to her move to New Zealand in 2010, she held appointments at De Montfort and Bishop Grosseteste Universities in the UK. She is the Founder and President of the Gothic Association of New Zealand and Australia (GANZA). She holds an international reputation for leadership in the intersecting fields of Gothic studies, food cultures, popular media, and cultural history, and is known for her successful interdisciplinary collaborations. She is a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and serves on the advisory boards for several research entities in the UK, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. Her current and forthcoming work examines the connections between popular media and cultural identities, including the multi-faceted socio-historical representation of popular icons, social media participation and digital identities, and the meaning of Gothic horror in times of crisis. She has published widely in her areas of expertise, including Gothic Afterlives: Reincarnations of Horror in Film and Popular Media (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), Consuming Gothic: Food and Horror in Film (Palgrave 2017), and The Vampire in Contemporary Popular Literature (Routledge, 2014). She is currently completing her latest monograph, entitled Poison: A Cultural History of the Mortal Arts (Reaktion, forthcoming 2021).

Panel Presentation (2020) | The Age of the Zombie: Social Distancing without Social Media Distancing
Sophie Skach
Fashion Designer and Researcher, UK

Biography

Sophie Skach is a fashion designer and researcher based in London. Having studied menswear and knitwear design technology, as well as mathematics in Austria (Modeschule Wien Hetzendorf, TU Wien, Kunstuniversitaet Linz) and the UK (London College of Fashion), she has presented her collections on international catwalks and has closely collaborated with the textile industry. As a designer and consultant, she worked with large companies (e.g Swarovski), as well as for fashion start-ups around Europe (e.g. Son Of A Tailor, aéthérée).

Since 2015, Sophie has been pursuing a PhD at Queen Mary University of London as part of the Media & Arts Technology Centre for Doctoral Training. Her interdisciplinary research combines her experience in fashion, textiles and tailoring with digital media, wearable technology and behavioural studies.

Working in a Cognitive Science research group, her research investigates how embedded textile sensors can be used to pick up nonverbal behaviour during social interaction. Integrated in garments as a body-centric sensing system, fabrics can be used to track body movement and touch interactions. As an example, Sophie has developed trousers with integrated textile pressure sensors that are able to identify a variety of postures, as well as conversational cues.

Both, in the academic environment and public platforms in design and fashion, Sophie showcases her works to engage and stimulate a discourse about the role and potential of fashion in wearable technology, establishing e-textiles as a new modality for social computing.

Plenary Panel (2020) | Embracing Difference: Fashion, Design and the Rhetoric of Social Change
Gary E. Swanson
University of Northern Colorado, USA (fmr.)

Biography

Gary E. Swanson is currently the Mildred S. Hansen Endowed Chair and Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence at the University of Northern Colorado, USA. From 2005-2007 Professor Swanson was a Fulbright scholar to China and lectured at Tsinghua University and the Communication University of China. In summer 2008 he was Commentator for China Central Television International (CCTV-9) and their live coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games. Swanson repeated his assignment covering the London Olympics for CCTV-4 in the summer of 2012. Previously, he was professor and director of television for nine years at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University where he taught mostly graduate broadcast students. He has been an educator for 26 years; 20 years spent teaching at the university level. Swanson is an internationally recognized and highly acclaimed documentary producer, director, editor, photojournalist, consultant and educator. He has given keynote speeches, presented workshopsretd and lectured at embassies, conferences, festivals, and universities throughout China, South Africa, India, Papua New Guinea, Japan, The Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Greece, Germany, Jordan, Spain, Portugal, Peru, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Swanson has compiled a distinguished professional broadcast career spanning 13 years: From 1978 to 1991, Swanson worked for the National Broadcasting Company where he was honored with national EMMY's for producing and editing: 'The Silent Shame,' a prime-time investigative documentary; 'Military Medicine,' a two-part investigative series on NBC News; and 'Hotel Crime,' an investigative news magazine piece. Swanson was an editor for 'breaking news' and features for NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, the Today Show, Sunrise, Sunday Today, NBC Overnight, A Closer Look, Monitor, and other prime time news magazines. Swanson covered 'breaking news' in 26 states and Canada for the network including trips and campaigns of presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Bill Clinton. Swanson was the Fulbright distinguished lecturer and consultant in television news to the government of Portugal in 1989. In 1992, he covered the XXV Olympics in Barcelona, Spain for NBC News as field producer and cameraman. Swanson has earned more than 75 awards for broadcast excellence and photojournalism including three national EMMY's, the duPont Columbia Award, two CINE 'Golden Eagles,' 16 TELLY's, the Monte Carlo International Award, the Hamburg International Media Festival's Globe Award, the Videographer Award, The Communicator Award, the Ohio State Award, the CINDY Award, the 2011 Communitas Outstanding Professor and Educator award, the 2013 Professor of the Year award, and many others. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana with a Bachelor's degree in Education in 1974, and a Master's degree in Journalism in 1993.

Peter Jeun Ho Tsang
Foundry Powered by IFA Paris, France

Biography

Peter Jeun Ho is pioneering the fields of fashion tech and innovation, with his second fashion tech lab, Foundry Powered by IFA Paris, recently opened its doors in the 19th district of Paris. Peter holds an MA in Digital Fashion from London College of Fashion and has worked with technology companies large and small to conceptualise, execute and deploy various fashion tech solutions through his venture studio, Beyond Form. His previous lab, The Dandy Lab, was nominated for several awards including 'Best New Retail Concept' WGSN Futures 2016 and was commended by Internet Retailing 2015 for 'The Digital Store Award'.

Plenary Panel (2020) | Embracing Difference: Fashion, Design and the Rhetoric of Social Change