Dr. Leyla Acaroglu

Dr. Leyla Acaroglu is an award winning designer, UNEP Champion of the Earth, social scientist and entrepreneur. Leyla developed the Disruptive Design Method and designs cerebrally activating experiences, gamified toolkits, and unique educational experiences that help people make the status quo obsolete.

Her mainstage TED talk on sustainability has been viewed over a million times, and she leads presentations around the world on activating positive social and environmental change through creative interventions. She is the founder of the UnSchool of Disruptive Design, and two design agencies, Disrupt Design and Eco Innovators. In 2017 she founded a not-for-profit Brain Spa for creative optimists on a farm in the Portuguese countryside.

Leyla is an inspiring communicator and educator with a PhD in how to change world through design.

Dr Mark Richardson

Formally a senior designer at Ford Motor Company, Mark was involved in both conceptual and global manufacturing projects, such as the R7 show car, Territory, European Mondeo and Asia Pacific Fiesta.

Mark now lectures in Industrial Design at Monash University, having completed a PhD seeking evidence to support the advance of ecologically and socially sustainable mobility systems through hands-on practices of making. His research now investigates how we can transition from current design and production methods to more sustainable, resilient and accessible systems of creating, making, sharing and learning.

“At this critical point in history there is no better time to reflect on the importance of Design and Technology and its role in shaping the next generation of young people. Innovation and creativity are not only recognised as key attributes for a nation’s growth, they empower individuals to make a better quality of life for themselves and those around them.

As an industrial designer and academic, I firmly believe that making is a core tenet for innovation, creativity and change, and making together fosters human capital and relationships, changes attitudes to products, systems, services, experiences and social and environmental sustainability. Further, the physical act of making and co-designing impacts wellbeing and inclusiveness, promoting attachment to objects, people, space, place and environment. When coupled with new technologies, it also leads to new forms of employment that are as-yet undiscovered.

Design and Technology, with a whole-brain approach, has a crucial part to play in defining what these are, not only preparing people for future employment, but empowering them to reshape it. In this, DATTA Australia plays a vital role in guiding and supporting the teachers that enthusiastically facilitate our future generation’s creative learning.”

Dr Scott Sleap


Dr Scott Sleap is an educational leader with over 20 years’ experience with various roles related to both the secondary and tertiary education sectors as well as industry workforce development. In 2018 he was awarded the prestigious Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Education.

He is currently employed by the NSW Department of Education as the leader of the innovative STEM Industry/Schools Partnership (SISP) program. Formally the Director of the internationally recognised STEM initiative known as the ME Program, Dr Sleap has built a reputation as being a leading expert in STEM education and workforce development.

Experienced in the tertiary education sector Dr Sleap is a Conjoint Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Newcastle. He completed his PhD in Environmental Engineering in 2015 after achieving a research scholarship in 2010. He is also a casual lecturer for the School of Engineering, delivering postgraduate STEM courses and has designed several postgraduate STEM courses.

‘I am both delighted and honoured to be a patron of DATA Australia. As the peek organisation representing Design and Technology educators, DATTA plays a crucial role in supporting the profession on a national scale.

In 1996 I completed my Bachelor of Education Degree in Design and Technology at the University of Newcastle. Being part of the first cohort in NSW to be formally conferred as a Design and Technology teacher, I hold this title with great pride.

As society becomes increasingly technologically advanced the role of the Design and Technology teacher is becoming more and more important. As it is the Design and Technology teachers who will develop the next generation of innovators.’