COVID-19 update: All of New Zealand is now at Red. More information.

Keynote Speakers:

Substantia Jones

Substantia Jones lives in New York City, where she has spoken about her photo-activism at colleges and universities, on NPR, Sirius/XM, and The Pacifica Radio Network (including  producing and hosting the four-part radio series, PolitiSIZE, which aired on WBAI 99.5fm in 2014), as well as on radio stations in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. She’s contributed to books by Random House, Seal Press, Ten Speed Press, and Vignette, and her work has appeared internationally in and on such outlets as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Jezebel, The Feminist Press, Bust Magazine, The Daily Mail,, VICE News, Bustle, Feministing, Columbia Spectator, AOL News, Time Out New York, The Utne Reader, Volup2 Magazine, Sociological Images, Viz, Alila Magazine, iVillage, The Wall Street Journal, Diva Magazine, The Huffington Post, Telemundo, and CNN. She’s been biographied in Who’s Who in America, and appears in the upcoming documentary film, Fattitude, discussing problematic pop culture representations of fat people. She also curates the Body Image Video Channel at Substantia’s award-winning photography has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the US Mid-Atlantic region, and her project was recently profiled in a video piece by TIME Magazine. 

Kathleen LeBesco

Kathleen LeBesco, Ph.D., is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.  She is author of Revolting Bodies:  The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity, co-author of Culinary Capital, and co-editor of Bodies Out of Bounds:  Fatness and Transgression, Edible Ideologies:  Representing Food and Meaning, The Drag King Anthology, and several journal special issues. Her work concerns food and popular culture, fat activism, disability and representation, working-class identity, and queer politics.




Patricia Cain 

Patricia Cain is an Associate Unit Coordinator and PhD candidate in psychology at Murdoch University in Western Australia. Her research is informed by both qualitative and quantitative methodology  with  a  focus  on  critical  health  psychology,  specifically  weight  stigma  and   the quantification of discourses around ‘obesity’ and fatness.

Erin Cameron

Erin Cameron is an Assistant Professor in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. As a retired professional athlete and public speaker on health and wellness, her research interests are interdisciplinary and span across the fields of sport development, health and physical education, health promotion, and critical pedagogy. Dr. Cameron’s most recent research examines strategies to reduce weight bias and discrimination and promote positive body image in diverse settings such as sport, education, and health care. Relevant publications include “Toward a Fat Pedagogy: A Study of Pedagogical Approaches Aimed at Challenging Obesity Discourse in Post-Secondary Education” and “Teaching Resources for Post-Secondary Educators Who Challenge Dominant Obesity Discourse” both published in Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society.

Charlotte Cooper

Charlotte Cooper is a psychotherapist, cultural worker and para-academic living and working in London. Find out more about her at 

Andrew Dickson

Dr Andrew Dickson is Organisational Sociologist and Senior Lecturer at Massey University, New Zealand. He is a graduate of biochemistry and business. His research expertise is in critical health studies, autoethnography, and Lacanian psychoanalysis. His research focuses mainly on the wider weight-loss industry, but also applies a psycho-sociological lens to other health industry topics including: the impact of managerial ideology, gender relations, and embodied alienation.

Amy Erdman Farrell

Amy Erdman Farrell is Professor of American Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies and the Executive Director of the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.  She is the author of Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture (2011, New York University Press) and Yours in Sisterhood: Ms. Magazine and the Promise of Popular Feminism (1998, University of North Carolina Press.)

Jeannine A. Gailey

Jeannine A. Gailey is Associate Professor of Sociology at Texas Christian University, USA. She is the author of The Hyper(in)visible Fat Woman: Weight and Gender Discourse in Contemporary Society, published by Palgrave Macmillan. Her work has also appeared in journals such as Social Psychology Quarterly, Fat Studies Journal, Deviant Behavior, Critical Criminology, Qualitative Research, and Journal of Gender Studies.

Hannele Harjunen

Hannele Harjunen is a Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies at Jyväskylä University, Finland. Her PhD thesis Women and Fat: Approaches to Social Study of Fatness came out in 2009. She is the author of forthcoming (2016) book Neoliberal Bodies and the Gendered Fat Body and she has published in Finnish and in English in journals, anthologies and co-edited the first Finnish Fat Studies anthology Koolla on väliä: lihavuus, sukupuoli ja ruumisnormit (Size Matters: Fatness, Gender and Body Norms, 2007).

Deborah Jean Harding

Deborah Jean Harding, Ph.D., LPC is a social psychologist, researcher, counselor, author and feminist who has worked for over thirty years in the field of behavioral studies.  She earned her PHD from Texas Tech University at the age of 54 in experimental psychology with a focus on social psychology, child development, and a minor in sociology, criminology and deviance.  As a licensed professional counselor in the state of Texas, Dr. Harding has worked with child abuse and trauma survivors, AIDS and hospice patients,  families in crisis and addicted and criminal populations.  Dr. Harding helped to start the Panhandle Aids Support Organization, as well as helped to found and train staff for the Amarillo Rape Crisis/Domestic Violence Shelter. At present, Deborah is an associate professor at Amarillo College, teaching psychology, sociology, criminology and mortuary science courses, and loves teaching minority and 1st generation college students that make up the majority of the AC student body.  She has also taught at Texas Tech University, West Texas A&M, Southern New Hampshire, and Capella Universities, as well as Cypress Avenue School with students with  hearing loss, autism and physical disabilities. As she put it, "I never met an UNDER-DOG I didn't fall in love with".  Dr. Harding has won multiple awards for her writing and teaching, including the Apple Award, Freelancer Award, and the Mead Teaching Excellence Award.  She has also received multiple research grants for her studies on weight stereotyping, weight-related stigma and discrimination, and the effects of these on the self-concepts of men and women.  She presented her research on weight-related stereotype threat and self-esteem in women of various sizes at the SPSP conference in Savannah, Georgia in 2002. Prior to her counseling and teaching careers, Deborah spent the first sixteen years of her professional life as a musician, singer, songwriter, and poet and artist- in-the schools in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and got to travel around the world with her music.  At present, she lives in Amarillo, Texas with her hubby Jim, two Schnoodles, and 15 rescue kitties. She is the proud mother of one son, two stepsons, and two beautiful daughters-in-law, who loves to garden, and write poetry, songs and books.  As someone who grew up poor, and who was teased about being "fat" because she was a large girl, Dr. Harding is dedicated to being "healthy, happy, holy and fully myself at any weight"!

Julie Howe

Julie  is  a  PhD  candidate  in  Sociology  at  Victoria  University  of  Wellington,  New  Zealand. Julie’s  primary  research  interest  is  in  Fat  Studies  and  embodiment  more  generally.  Her qualitative PhD research builds upon work which began with her 2012 Honours dissertation where she used feminist standpoint theory to examine the lived experience of fat women in the  New  Zealand  context.  Julie  is  currently  two  thirds of  her  way  through  her  PhD  thesis, Existing while fat: a qualitative study of the everyday life of fat women in New Zealand and she is supervised by Assoc. Prof Dr Rhonda Shaw and Prof Kevin Dew.

Gurleen Khandpur

Gurleen Khandpur is a postgraduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the  University  of  Otago.  Her  thesis  undertakes  a  conceptual  analysis  of  Gender  with  an emphasis on the implications for applied ethics in various domains. She is passionate about fruitfully  marrying  academia  with  activism  and  as  such  her  research  interests  include normative and applied ethics, gender, sexuality, and fat studies.

Andrea LaMarre

Andrea LaMarre is a Vanier Scholar (CIHR) and PhD Candidate in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph. In her research, she uses digital storytelling to explore the experiences of people in eating disorder recovery and their families.

Jenny Lee

Jenny Lee is a Lecturer in Creative Writing, Literary Studies and Gender Studies at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to publishing scholarly papers, she publishes memoir, short stories, essays and narrative non-fiction. Her most recent Fat Studies publications are ‘All the way from (B)lame to (A)cceptance: diabetes, health and fat activism’ in The Politics of Size (ed Chastain, 2015) and ‘Hidden and forbidden: alter egos, invisibility cloaks and psychic fat suits’ in Fat Sex: New Directions in Theory and Activism (eds Hester & Walters, 2015)

Jessica Maclean

Tihei Mauri Ora! Ko Puheke te maunga. Ko Rangaunu te moana. Ko Ngāti Kahu rāua ko Ngā ti Hine ōku iwi. Ko Jessica Maclean tōkuingoa. I am a postgraduate student at the University of Canterbury, Aotahi: School of Māori and Indigenous Studies, where I am also a research assistant through the Maui Lab. I am interested in bioethics, critical studies, and exploring the rich insights lived experiences offer these areas of study.

Tania Orellana

Tania is geographer and specializes in environmental impact assessment, specifically in environmental impacts of investment projects about human systems. Further of this, Tania is Theoretical and Historian of Arts. In this last field, she has worked the relation between arts - sciences - technologies, with emphasis in the contemporary practices of changes of live body and the building of body images. At present, she teaches (Art and technology) and research in several researching groups at University of Chile (group of history of science, GEHC; Transdisciplinary laboratory in social practices and subjectivity, LAPSOS; and, Academic program of Psychoanalytic studies Clinic and Culture).

George Parker

George Parker is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Auckland and Strategic Advisor for Women's Health Action Trust.  George is a Registered Midwife, and is passionate about ethics of care, compassion and justice in health care.

Cat Pausé

Cat Pausé is the lead editor of Queering Fat Embodiment. A Senior Lecturer in Human Development and Fat Studies Researcher at Massey University in New Zealand, her research focuses on the effects of spoiled identities on the health and well-being of fat individuals. Her work appears in scholarly journals such as Feminist Review and Narrative Inquiries in Bioethics, as well as online in The Huffington Post and The Conversation, among others. Her fat positive radio show, Friend of Marilyn, is travelling the world this year – make sure your city is on the stop!

Amy Pence-Brown

Amy Pence-Brown is a fat feminist mother who believes in opening her mouth and her heart. From both of these places she tells stories – as a writer on her blog Doin’ It All, Idaho Style and other local & national publications, as a historian giving tours for Preservation Idaho, and as a visual artist creating subversive stitchings and performance pieces. As a writer, body positive activist, artist, historian,gardener and preservationist in Boise, Idaho, she has a master’s degree in art & architectural history and has worked at many museums and has juried and curated numerous exhibitions.
Pence-Brown has written for several local & national publications, including the Idaho Arts Quarterly, Boise Weekly,Mamalode, and Treasure Valley Family Magazine. She currently works for Preservation Idaho and serves the children and youth of her community as a mother of three, a Junior Master Gardener leader, on the Vista Neighborhood Association Energize our Neighborhoods project, and as both Volunteer Coordinator & School Garden Coordinator for Hawthorne Elementary School.
Her radical stand for self-love at the Capital City Public Market on August 29, 2015, in Boise, Idaho, was documented in a blog post, photographs and a video made by Melanie Flitton Folwell. Pence-Brown's message of self-love and the value of all bodies, no matter their size, went viral and has been written about by several publications and interviewed by the likes of CNN, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, People, TODAY, WGN Morning News Chicago, Idaho Statesman, and Idaho's NPR station - Boise State Public Radio.

Darren Powell

Dr. Darren Powell is a Lecturer in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland. Previously a primary school teacher, Darren's research focuses on the childhood obesity 'epidemic' and the ways in which corporations (especially those of the food and drink industry) and charities are now re-inventing themselves as 'part of the solution'. This includes an investigation of how schools, teachers and children are drawn into the global war on obesity, and how corporations are using concerns about children's lifestyles to promote themselves as healthy, philanthropic and educational. Darren has published a number of articles, book chapters and videos about this research topic and regularly presents at international and national conferences. He is now writing a book based on his doctoral thesis.

Valeria Radrigán

Valeria Radrigán has worked as a university professor in Chile since 2005 in the fields of arts and technology, aesthetics, representation theory, art and theatre theory.  She conducts international performance theory research as the creative director of TRANSLAB, a transmedia- lab project that focuses on curating contemporary and media art. She has published several papers in academic and online journals, and participated in various international conferences about art and technology.

Kath Read

Kath Read identifies as a fat activist. She has been writing about fat living and politics for over 7 years, has worked on many academic projects and appeared in magazines, newspapers and on television discussing life in a fat body. She has also been published in journals, anthologies and zines. Kath believes that fat women have been hiding their sparkle for far too long. She lives in Brisbane, Australia and manages to bring her sparkle to her day job as an IT librarian.

Carla Rice

Dr. Carla Rice is a Canada Research Chair and Professor at the University of Guelph. A leader in the fields of body image and embodiment studies in Canada, she is a founding member and former director of innovative initiatives such as the National Eating Disorder Information Centre and the Body Image Project.

Jen Rinaldi

Dr. Jen Rinaldi is an Assistant Professor in the Legal Studies program at UOIT. Her current work engages  with  narrative  and  arts-based  methodologies to re-imagine  eating  disorder  recovery in relation to queer  community.  Rinaldi  also  works  with  Recounting  Huronia, an arts-based collective that stories traumatic histories of institutionalization.

Constance Russell

Constance Russell is a Professor in the Faculty of Education, Lakehead University,Thunder Bay, Canada. She has long used intersectional analyses in her research,including the implications of feminism, ecofeminism, queer theory, critical animal studies, and fat studies for environmental, humane, and social justice education. Other research interests include fat pedagogy, interspecies relations, climate change education, and interdisciplinary and academic/activist collaboration. Dr. Russell is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, the editor of the Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, and co-editor of the “Rethinking Environmental Education” book series for Peter Lang Publishing.

Xavier Watson

Xavier M. Watson is a Ph.D. student at Indiana University in the Department of Gender Studies. His interdisciplinary research, writing, and curating emerges from the intersection of critical fat studies, feminist art history, visual and material culture studies, affect, and queer studies. His current project explores the fleshy and fibrous modes of fat aesthetics and embodiments in contemporary art and architecture.