Body tech - the new frontier for humans?

Event status:

Girls with prosthetics arms and hands Bold discussion on how people with limb loss are reclaiming their freedom with the help of prosthetics. The revolution in body tech means that human lives are being restored, enhanced and re-designed into new identities.

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Thursday 21 November 2019 06:30 pm until Thursday 21 November 2019 08:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Tania Sheward
Presented by:
Francis Leach
Type of Event:
Alumni; Community Event; Public Lecture
$15 General | $10 Alumni & Staff | $7.50 Students/Concession

Prosthetics has the power to restore human lives today more than ever before - the field has been transformed over the decades and long gone are the tin legs shipped in for injured Australian soldiers.

How can technology help people with limb loss live to the fullest extent? How will we ensure that everyone has access to new technologies? Prosthetics now aim not only to restore, but to also enhance and re-design the human experience.

We have invited prosthetic art curator and amputee Priscilla Sutton to tackle these, and many other, questions at our next Bold Thinking event; along with disability activist Mandy Mccracken, who lost her hands and feet due to Sepsis at the age of 39. Hear also from La Trobe University’s Associate Professor in Prosthetics and Orthotics Michael Dillon and alumna Monique Van den Boom who's working in the field's cutting edge.

The panel will explore advances in technology, the purpose of cosmetically decorated limbs, and how we can empower all disabled Australians to participate fully in their lives.

About the speakers

Mandy Mccracken

Mandy McCracken lost her hands and feet due to Sepsis at the age of 39. Since then, she has shared her incredible experience through motivational speaking, writing and being a regular voice on television and radio.

Mandy is currently working on a number of projects that offer support to people with newly acquired disabilities both locally, nationally and across the globe.

She is the co-founder of the Quad Squad, an international support group for quadruple amputees, and helped establish a disability support group within Mitchell Shire.

Mandy regularly volunteers at La Trobe University’s Prosthetic Department, where she helps teach the next generation of students how to make artificial limbs.

She has been nominated for the Pride of Australia Award, received the Australia Day Access Inclusion Champion award in 2019.

Through her writing and media work, she hopes that disability will become a part of the conversation in every community, and break down both barriers and stereotypes.

Priscilla Sutton

Priscilla Sutton is one in a cluster of babies born in regional Queensland with health challenges attributed to a chemical used in farming across Australia.

At the age of 26 following years of increasing pain, Priscilla chose to amputate her right leg below the knee and considers it the best decision of her life.

After cleaning out a cupboard at home in 2010, the curator had the idea to ask a number of creative friends to turn her old prostheses into works of art.

Priscilla’s epiphany has led to her curating exhibitions, entitled Spare Parts, around the world including at the London 2012 Paralympics.

Priscilla is the ACT representative for the National Amputee Advisory Council and a Peer Support Volunteer. She regularly appears on ABC Radio, speaking about prosthetics and amputee life. She has also been featured in major global media outlets.

Michael Dillon

Michael Dillon is an Associate Professor in Prosthetics and Orthotics and he current serves as the Associate Head of School in the School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sports at La Trobe University.

Michael graduated from La Trobe University and worked as a prosthetist / orthotist prior to completing a PhD in biomechanics from Queensland University of Technology.

Much of Michael’s research has focused on the outcomes after lower limb amputation and the experience of limb loss.  This research is now being used to build resources that can help people facing difficult decisions about amputation surgery make a truly informed decision about their healthcare and prepare for the inevitable challenges ahead.

Michael currently serves as an Editor-in-Chief of Prosthetics and Orthotics International.

Monique Van den Boom

Monique Van den Boom is a senior clinician at ProMotion Prosthetics. Her professional and friendly attitude drives her passion and motivation to work closely with clients to achieve excellent clinical and functional outcomes.

Monique graduated from La Trobe University in 2003 and has gained wide-ranging experience from employment in the UK and Australia, as well as volunteering with a non-profit organisation providing Prosthetic services in Haiti following the devastating earthquake in 2010.

Working in both the private and public systems in Australia and overseas has exposed her to all aspects required to successfully treat clients across the full expanse of Upper and Lower limb prostheses and rehabilitation.

Monique regularly attends professional workshops, and has presented at numerous International and Australian conferences and seminars. She also currently sits on the board of the Australian Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA).

About the Host

Francis Leach is a broadcaster, journalist, writer and passionate fan of The Clash, Francis is a man in love with ideas.

Francis Leach

He’s passionate about people and their capacity to create and achieve greatness and he explores the human condition through his love of sport, music, popular culture and great writing. Francis engages in meaningful conversations and asks the right questions, even the tough ones, and his extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge across any number of fields has given him a unique perspective on life and an amazing ability to connect with his audience.

Venue Accessibility

Wheelchair access is available - please enter via North Entrance, 180 St Kilda Rd, Southbank, VIC 3006

Clemenger BBDO Auditorium, National Gallery of Victoria

Entry via North Entrance, 180 St Kilda Rd, Southbank, VIC 3006



1st Oct 2020 5:11pm

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