How do workplace environments affect what goes on in our brains?Craft gorgeous textile neurons with Neural Knitworks and join...

The Social Brain: Better Brain Health At Work


Customs House
2000 NSW

The Social Brain


Dr Amy Reichelt

Dr Amy Reichelt is a research fellow (ARC DECRA) at the School of Psychology  UNSW where she studies the impact of junk food diets on brain function. Earlier this year Amy was a visiting professor in biological science at the University of Toronto and has recently taken up a position as lecturer in the school of psychology at RMIT. Amy is particularly interested in memory, addiction and behaviour control. She is a recipient of the NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award (2015) and a co-organiser of the popular live event series Nerd Nite Sydney.

Muireann Irish

Dr. Muireann Irish

Dr. Muireann Irish is a Research Fellow (ARC DECRA) in the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales, with a longstanding interest in how humans remember the past and imagine the future.

Her research program explores how these uniquely human processes, break down in neurodegenerative disorders, and the neural substrates of these impairments.

To date, Muireann has clarified the core cognitive and neural mechanisms that must be functional to support a range of sophisticated forms of thinking, including memory, imagination, and daydreaming.

She has received a number of prestigious awards including a L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship (2015), a NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award (2014), and the Laird Cermak Award for Outstanding Research in Memory from the International Neuropsychological Society (2013).  

Gordon Parker

Gordon Parker AO

Professor Gordon Parker AO is currently Scientia Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales and was Executive Director of the Black Dog Institute from 2002-2011. 

He was, for nearly two decades, Head of the School of Psychiatry at UNSW and Director of the Division of Psychiatry at Prince of Wales and Prince Henry Hospitals. His research has focused on modelling psychiatric conditions (depressive, bipolar and personality disorders) and examining causes, mechanisms and treatments for mood disorders.

In a past life, Gordon had a book of fiction published in the 60s, wrote for The Mavis Bramston Show and OZ Magazine, was an ABC Science broadcaster, a book reviewer for the Sydney Morning Herald for a decade and in 2004 had a play (personality games) produced by La Mama in Melbourne.

His autobiography A Piece of My Mind: A Psychiatrist On The Couch, was published in 2012. 

Pat Pillai

Pat Pillai

Neural Knitworks Founder

Pat Pillai is a community artist with a background in science and an interest in psychology and art therapy. Following on from her participation in Hiromi Tango’s interactive exhibition Hiromi Hotel: Moon Jellies in 2013, Pat founded Neural Knitworks: craft a healthy brain as a National Science Week Project in 2014.

Dozens of workshops were held to amass hundreds of textile neurons donated towards a giant brain exhibition held at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre. This project was recently awarded for best community engagement in the Museums and Galleries NSW IMAGinE Awards

Neural Knitworks continues to present workshops across Australia at which neuroscientists come together with community members to promote brain and mind health through the practice of yarn craft.

Jackie Randles

Jackie Randles

Manager Inspiring Australia (NSW)

As Manager at Inspiring Australia (NSW), Jackie Randles finds interesting and creative ways to bring scientists together with community members through collaborative projects.

Jackie developed partnerships with neuroscientists, community organisations and research institutions across Australia to extend the reach of Neural Knitworks and supports all kinds of outreach projects delivered in Sydney and regional communities that promote the relevance of science and innovation to everyday life. 

Sarah Mckay

Dr Sarah McKay

Dr Sarah McKay is a neuroscientist, science communicator and TEDx speaker who specialises in translating brain science research into simple, actionable strategies for health and wellbeing.

Sarah is the director of The Neuroscience Academy and author of the popular brain blog

Sarah completed her PhD in neuroscience at Oxford University. After five years of conducting neuroplasticity research, she worked up the courage to hang up her lab coach and pursue a career teaching others about the mind and brain. 

Event Details

How do workplace environments affect what goes on in our brains?

Craft gorgeous textile neurons with Neural Knitworks and join a panel of brain and mind experts to discover current scientific research into the social brain.

What can we do at work to fire up the neurons in our brains and keep ourselves learning, emotionally healthy, intellectually challenged and engaged? What neuroscience signals suggest we would benefit from developing a new approach to work? When might a career change be in order? 

Craft neurons from 5pm, panel discussion from 6pm. 

  • Pat Pillai, artist
  • Professor Gordon Parker
  • Dr Sarah McKay, neuroscientist
  • Dr Muireann Irish, Research Fellow (ARC DECRA) at UNSW
  • Dr Amy Reichelt, Research Fellow (ARC DECRA) at UNSW

EVENT CONVENOR: Jackie Randles, Manager Inspiring Australia (NSW) 

This event is presented by City of Sydney Library and Inspiring Australia with Neural Knitworks. 


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