Keynote Speakers - Sydney 2017

Fragmented Regional Worlds: Inequality and Populism in a Globalising World

Keynote panel: 'Regional Fragmentation and the Changing Political Landscapes of 2016-17'

2016 witnessed the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the US. In Europe, far right parties gained ground in opinion polls. In Australia, 2017 commenced with news that Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party had surged in the polls. A common thread across all these phenomena was a discourse about regions. In the Brexit vote, London voted strongly to 'remain', but other parts of the UK, excluding Scotland and Northern Ireland, voted to 'leave'. In the US, states with traditional strong blue collar working class populations - including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin - delivered Trump the Presidency. Regions in economic distress are often the places from where far right parties emerge. Economic changes over the past few decades have appeared to have generated heightened regional differentiation and a seemingly more acute geography of winners and losers, and so it is tempting to interpret the events of 2016-17 as political reverberations from those changes.  But is it that simple, and indeed, what are the implications of seeing these events through a 'regional prism'? In this keynote panel, leading scholars from Australia, the UK and New Zealand will assess and discuss these ideas.

Closing keynote: 'Industry 4.0: the new manufacturing model, and implications for regional economic devlopment'

Professor Phillip O’Neill

Western Sydney University, Australia

Professor Phillip O’Neill is the Director of the Centre for Western Sydney at Western Sydney University. The Centre is the University’s primary driver of policy-relevant research for the Western Sydney region. Phillip is a widely published international scholar with expertise relating to economic and industrial change especially in large cities. He has held visiting research fellowships at Bristol University, The University of Massachusetts, the National University of Singapore, the University of Oxford, and recently at University College London.

Phillip has held seven prestigious Australian Research Council grants including two current grants, one which investigates the merits of private infrastructure financing and the other which seeks to understand the geography of competitive financial centres.
Phillip writes regular columns for the Fairfax regional and community press.

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Dr Mia Gray

University of Cambridge, UK

Mia Gray is an economic and social geographer at Cambridge University.  Her current research explores the politics and the distributional effects of austerity. She examines the intertwining of the economic, social and political effects on the local decisions around austerity and the shaping of the local state. This project highlights the uneven nature of the budget cuts, the political coalitions surrounding funding change, and the institutional mechanisms which promote change in policy priorities in the UK, the US, and Canada. She is also one of the editors of the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society.  

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Professor Andrew Beer

University of South Australia, Australia

Andrew Beer is Dean, Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia Business School. He previously worked at the University of Adelaide and the Flinders University of South Australia, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Adelaide and a PhD from the Australian National University.

Professor Beer has served as a Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth, a Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Ulster and a Visiting Professor at the University of North Texas. He is currently the Chair of the South Australian Government’s Homelessness Strategic Group, a Fellow of the Regional Australia Institute and has served on the College of Experts for the Australian Research Council. He is a Fellow of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences. Professor Beer is the Chair of the Regional Studies Association, a scholarly association based in England.

His research interests include the operation and functioning of Australia’s housing markets, the drivers of regional growth, economic change in major cities and the impacts of an ageing population.  He is currently undertaking research in three major areas: the changing role of Australian local governments in Australia's housing system; the cross national analysis of the leadership of places; the quality and condition of Australia's housing stock; and, the use of services and housing by Australia's ageing population.

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Professor Hugh Campbell

University of Otago, New Zealand

Hugh Campbell is currently the Chair of Sociology at the University of Otago and was Director of the Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CSAFE) from 2000-2010. His main research areas are the political economy of agriculture, the relationship between neoliberalism and sustainability, and the elaboration of food and agricultural politics. His recent book collections on these topics are: Rethinking Agricultural Policy Regimes: Food Security, Climate Change and the Future Resilience of Global Agriculture (2012, with Reidar Almas), Food Systems Failure: The Global Food Crisis and the Future of Agriculture (2012, with Chris Rosin and Paul Stock), Waste Matters: New Perspectives on Food and Society (2013, with David Evans and Anne Murcott), and Biological Economies: Experimentation and the Politics of Agri-Food Frontiers (2016, with Richard Le Heron, Michael Carolan and Nick Lewis).

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Professor David Bailey

Aston University, United Kingdom

David Bailey is a Professor of Industry Policy at the Aston University Business School and previously worked at the University of Coventry and Birmingham University.  David is an influential business expert on economic restructuring and industrial policy, and is perhaps best known for his knowledge of UK and West Midlands car manufacturing.

As an author, regular media commentator and newspaper columnist, he has provided articles and commentary on key economic and regional policy issues including the closure and eventual reopening of the MG Rover car plant in Birmingham, UK, and the Jaguar Land Rover economic success story. Most recently, David has undertaken European funded research on using foreign investment to upgrade industry clusters. He has also worked on industrial and regional policy and the rise of ‘phoenix’ industries such as the low carbon vehicles cluster here in the West Midlands. 

David served as the Chair of the Regional Studies Association for six years to 2012.  He has collaborated with academics and policy makers in Europe and Australia, and regularly advises consultants, governments and non government organisations. 

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