Research and strategy leaders, scholars, artists…EPIC keynote speakers inspire, enlighten, provoke, and motivate us to see and work in new ways. We’re excited to learn from our 2024 keynotes in Los Angeles!

Charmaine Chua

Assistant Professor of Global Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Charmaine Chua is a Singaporean organizer and writer, and Assistant Professor of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her scholarship and political work is interested in how planetary supply chains shape racialized and class inequalities under global capitalism, with specific attention to how these divisions are lived, contested, and overcome by anti-colonial and anti-capitalist social movements. She is currently writing two books, The Logistics Counterrevolution: Fast Circulation, Slow Violence and the Transpacific Empire of Circulation, and How to Beat Amazon: The Struggle of America’s New Working Class (co-authored with Spencer Cox). Her work has been published in The Review of International Studies, The Socialist Register, Theory and Event, Antipode, Society and Space, The Boston Review, The Nation, and Jacobin, among other venues. She co-founded the Marxist Institute of Research, and organizes with Workers In Palestine, Cops off Campus, and Amazonians United, an independent union of Amazon warehouse workers. In 2023, Chua was named a Casey Foundation Freedom Scholar, in recognition of movement leaders in academia who have a demonstrated commitment to supporting social movements.

Maria Bezaitis

Intel Fellow, Systems & Networks

Maria Bezaitis is a humanities-trained researcher who brings social insight to business and technology innovation. She has led research programs on personal data, AI & decentralized computing, risk and adoption in security, and the changing nature of ownership. In addition to her focus on culture for Intel Labs, Maria is leading Intel’s first dedicated investigation into the networks formed by senior technologists to evolve Intel’s understanding of technical leadership and to expose where inclusion challenges and inequities persist. Maria joined Intel in 2006 to run its R&D investment in human-centered innovation. She has run teams of social scientists, designers and engineers in Intel’s Client Computing Group, Next Generation Standards and Intel Labs. Maria started her post-academic career at E-Lab, a small consultancy that pioneered the use of ethnographic research for consumer product development, brand strategy and work process. She was Vice President of Experience Modeling at Sapient where she co-led the first globally scaled footprint of social scientists and designers in technology. She sits on the Board of Intel’s Network of Executive Women and is an advisor to the Technical Women at Intel Network. She has held board positions at TTI Vanguard, a technology thought leadership organization and Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Community. Maria holds a Ph.D. in French Literature from Duke University and a B.A. from Dartmouth College. She lives in Portland, Oregon with Jason, Theodore, Lucas and Ziggy Stardust.

David Burns & Austin Young

Co-founders, Fallen Fruit

Fallen Fruit, an art project run by David Burns and Austin Young, creates beautiful and sumptuous spaces where audiences can enjoy museum collections in new, unexpected ways that simultaneously reveal a series of layered social constructs.

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1970, David Allen Burns completed an BFA in 1993 from California Institute of the Arts and an MFA from UC Irvine in 2005. David grew up in a diverse middle-class community in West Los Angeles. From a young age he was regularly meeting new people of all ages and backgrounds and learning about their stories and livelihoods, participating in community events, and attending cultural programs and services. David’s work has always looked at contextualized relational knowledge and disrupting systems of meaning, especially exploring the limitations and boundaries about what could be considered “familiar.” Often work is created with non precious materials, found objects and incorporates materials from the everyday to transform aesthetics and contextual framework that sublimates understanding about what we think we may already know — likened to a conceptual reconstruction of a tromp l’loiel instead of the copy of the visual representation. Austin Young is from Reno, Nevada and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. The foundation of his career is from studying at Parsons in Paris. Early in his career, Austin transferred his interests from traditional portrait painting towards a long celebrated career in portrait photography. In many ways, Austin is more accurately described as an image-maker: his projects illustrate the sublime qualities of character that make celebrated people unique. Based on a nuanced visual language of pop-culture iconography, his trademark style and techniques have captured a broad palette of musicians, artists and celebrities including Debbie Harry, Leigh Bowery and Margaret Cho, among others. In multiple bodies of work, Austin confuses personality and identity issues in confrontational and unapologetic image making about people who often split gender roles, stereotypical constraints and socially-constructed identities.