Keynote Speakers

Below find information on our fantastic keynote speakers.  Video of their presentations can be found on our homepage.

Stephanie Autumn:
Project Director & Senior Training and Technical Assistance Specialist at American Institutes for Research

Ms. Stephanie Autumn brings extensive experience in developing, implementing, and evaluating programs in Indian country. A member of the Hopi Tribe, Ms. Autumn has 38 years of local, national, and international AI advocacy and policy work experience, and has presented at various Human Rights forums at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and in New York. She has worked throughout the country on issues of American Indian adult and juvenile justice, substance abuse prevention, restorative practices/justice, and tribal youth mentoring programs. Ms. Autumn served as the Executive Directive of the Minnesota Restorative Justice Campaign for five years and is a nationally known expert Restorative Practitioner facilitator, trainer, and Circle Keeper and Family Group Decision Maker trainer and facilitator. Ms. Autumn’s expertise includes working in diverse school districts to adapt restorative practices training curriculum to ensure inclusiveness of the diverse cultures of the student population. She has directed national projects on American Indian adult & juvenile domestic assault, restorative justice, pre and post-release services for AI offenders, tribal mentoring, and truancy. She recently served as project director for three DOJ-funded programs for tribal youth which provided Training and Technical Assistance to over 135 tribal grantees. Ms. Autumn has provided expertise/testimony for the MN & SD Departments of Corrections with regards to Traumatic Brain Injury and Trauma Informed Care needs/issues with incarcerated American Indian juvenile and adults. For the past fifteen years, Ms. Autumn has provided expertise to the MN Department of Education on dis-proportionality issues that impact American Indian adults, youth and communities. She is currently working on a project with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Red Lake Band of Ojibwa to develop a “Healing to Wellness” Center for Red Lake tribal youth and families. Ms. Autumn is the founder of the American Indian Prison Project Working Group.

Judy Atkinson: Emeritus Professor (Honorary)
Patron/Elder Advisor at We Al-li

Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson is a Jiman (central west Queensland) and Bundjalung (northern New South Wales) woman, with Anglo-Celtic and German heritage. Her academic contributions to the understanding of trauma related issues stemming from the violence of colonisation and the healing/recovery of Indigenous peoples from such trauma has won her the Carrick Neville Bonner Award in 2006 for her curriculum development and innovative teaching practice. In 2011 she was awarded the Fritz Redlick Memorial Award for Human Rights and Mental Health from the Harvard University program for refugee trauma.

Her book \\\’Trauma Trails – Recreating Songlines: The transgenerational effects of trauma in Indigenous Australia\\\’, provides context to the life stories of people who have been moved from their country in a process that has created trauma trails, and the changes that can occur in the lives of people as they make connection with each other and share their stories of healing.

She is a member of the Harvard Global Mental Health Scientific Research Alliance. She presently serves on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Scientific Advisory Committee on Closing the Gap research, and is on the Board of Directors of the Aboriginal and Torres Stait Islander Healing Foundation and sits on both the Education and Training Advisory Committee, and the Research Advisory Committee. She is the Patron of the We Al-li Trust.

Chris Straker, Director, Trainer and Consultant

Chris Straker was a teacher for thirty years, including three years as the English adviser for Hull City Council, with a focus on teaching and learning. He was Head Teacher at Endeavour High School for five years, balancing his time between school and the Hull Centre for Restorative Practice and left Endeavour High School to take up a full-time post as one of the leads of the Hull Centre for Restorative Practice.

Since January 2012 he has worked independently of the Hull Centre for Restorative Practice and he trains and offers consultancy to all agencies working with young people, families and communities in Hull and across the UK. Presently, he is engaged in working with Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool, Huddersfield, Durham and York schools and their CYPS, developing their capacity to deliver restorative practice across their services. Even more recently, he has worked with NGOs in Wellington and Rotorua, New Zealand, supporting restorative work in schools and with families – this work continues.

He has been asked to present to representatives of the Welsh Government. This, allied to his work for Families First/TAF and ‘Troubled families’, has given him a strong insight into family-led practice; and how restorative practice can impact on positive outcomes. Recently he has drawn on his experience to develop training in restorative approaches to leadership within schools, and across agencies in children’s services. He has also worked with these agencies on strategic, city-wide, implementation.

Chris has been a speaker at national conferences across the UK; and internationally in the USA, Canada, Australia and Hungary; and wrote the Comennius grant for Hull to develop restorative practice in Palma, Majorca. He was one of ten Assessor and Consultants for the Restorative Justice Council’s new RSQM award.

As a result of his MA he has started to develop work reviewing the restorative journey of organisations, most notably, a large YOS and two Local Authorities. The MA received the award of a distinction overall and a distinction for the dissertation on the development of the restorative city.

Chris has recently become a member of the Restorative Justice Council’s ‘Expert Group’ to advise on policy and practice across the UK. He will also be one of two assessors of the new Training Provider Quality Mark.

Working in conjunction with the organization, Restorative Thinking Ltd, he has written a book and resources, for the development of restorative thinking in students and teachers in secondary schools. The work with Restorative Thinking has seen us develop training in restorative working in prisons, in Approved Premises, with domestic violence, as well as implementation at local authority level.

Chris has been published in the RJC’s Resolution Magazine and is a peer reviewer for the IARS Youth Journal. He now also serves on the board of Restorative Practices International.

Chris is currently working with an colleague on developing ideas for the support of pupils, teachers, parents, and communities with regard to Transgender issues. Together, they are looking to place the Transgender issues within their own context but also the wider equalities issue. This will draw on her own experience of transition.

Chris is completing a PhD in a comparative study of restorative justice/practices in the UK and New Zealand. Presently, he is in the role of CEO at the Restorative Justice Council, attempting to move it into a new phase of development, that see it self as less defined by criminal justice and increasingly an organization that sees its membership drawn from the wide array of practices from the field of of education, social care, adult services, children’s services and work place human resources.