James Arvanitakis Chair, Diversity Arts Australia Board
Professor James Arvanitakis is the Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and Graduate Studies) at Western Sydney University (WSU). A lecturer in the Humanities and a member of the University’s Institute for Cultural and Society, he founded The Academy at Western that received an Australian Financial Review higher education excellence award (2016) and the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Engagement Award (2017).
James is internationally recognised for his innovative teaching style and was the recipient of the Prime Minister’s University Teacher of the Year Award in 2012 and an Eminent Researcher Award from the Australia India Education Council in 2015.
A regular media commentator, he has over 100 publications, and his research includes future of universities and citizenship. He works closely with artists to document their work and writes how artists have become the social conscious of the contemporary world.
He is the Chair: Diversity Arts Australia, a Board member: Public Education Foundation, Academic Fellow: Australia India Institute, Associate Vice Chair: Global Listening Centrea Fellow: Centre for Policy Development and on the Advisory Board Member: Herbert and Valmae Freilich Foundation that confronts racism and bigotry.
Pilar Kasat co-Deputy Chair
Pilar is Former Managing Director of CANWA, and led the organisation to become nationally recognised for its work in community arts and cultural development practice. She is on the Board of the Chamber of Arts and Culture of WA.
Pilar Kasat grew up in Chile under the repressive military regime of General Pinochet. In her early 20s she fled to Australia where she has become a recognised leader and advocate for diversity, the arts and cultural sectors in Australia. In the past 10 years Pilar has held senior positions in arts organisations and on arts boards. During her career she has been involved in high-level national policy forums and has passionately promoted the value of community arts, cultural diversity and sustainability.
Pilar is an experienced and engaging presenter. Some of her recent speaking commitments include: the 6th International Conference on Community Psychology in South Africa; the 9th European Congress of Community Psychology in Italy; the 5th World Summit on Arts and Culture and the national ADC Cities Forum on ‘Enhancing Livability’ in Melbourne; and the Leadership WA Raising Leaders Program in Perth. Pilar is an avid traveller and she is passionate about social justice.
Pilar holds a Bachelor of Education, a Master of Sustainability and Social Change and currently is undertaking doctoral studies at Curtin University.
Joanne Pratt co-Deputy Chair
Joanne is the General Manager at Vulcana Women’s Circus, in addition to running her own artist management company, Sage Music, specialising in Indigenous and world music. Joanne previously served on the Board, and was the CEO/Artistic Director of the Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre for seven years. Jo has a proven track record of success in meeting the challenge of volatile political and economic environments, She started with BEMAC at a point of severe financial crisis and worked together with the Board, members and artists to steer the organisation into a position of strength and leadership within the arts sector, with a focus on developing income generation capacity and strategically positioning the organisation to take advantage of new programming and sustainability opportunities. Joanne was the CEO/Artistic Director of the Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre for seven years.
Louise Dunn Treasurer
Louise Dunn is the Executive Director of Nexus Multicultural Arts Centre based in Adelaide, South Australia and has led the organisation through a challenging financial and artistic recovery over the past five years. Louise began her career as a Theatre Designer and focused on working with communities through a Community and Cultural Development framework. Louise developed and managed the Ruby Award–winning Barngarla Stories of Resilience project in Port Augusta throughout 2014. Board positions include Kultour (Deputy Chair and Chair), Community Arts Network of South Australia (Secretary) and the Arts Industry Council of South Australia.
Seb Chan Director
Seb is Chief Experience Officer at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne. He transformed the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York with a human-centred digital renewal and is known for his ground-breaking work with Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.
He is a senior executive change agent with deep experience working with museums, libraries and cultural organisations.
Currently, Seb is interested in the intersection between digital and physical spaces, cultivating innovation and experimentation in teams, and helping organisations deal with changing technologies. He has a strong history of successful innovative project development and creative direction and leadership in non-profit and public sector settings. He has also led a parallel life in electronic music and art organising and curating festivals, international touring, and publishing.
Jade Lillie Director
Jade has been working in and with communities for the past 15 years. She is a passionate and experienced practitioner, arts executive and facilitator. With a background in arts, education and international engagement, Jade is the former Director and CEO of Footscray Community Arts Centre in Melbourne. She has been developing her practice and philosophy around the belief that arts and cultural development, underpinned by sound engagement and social justice frameworks, are tools for social and systemic change.
Having lived and worked extensively throughout Australia and Southeast Asia, Jade’s areas of expertise include: arts management, community cultural development, young people, education (alternative and mainstream) and training, facilitation, consultation and engagement, change management, concept and framework development, policy development, strategic and program development and implementation. She has worked in a variety of government and non-government contexts including: Education Queensland, NT Department of Education and Training, Arts Queensland, SpeakOut (now known as Human Ventures), Brisbane City Council and Contact Inc.
In 2009, Jade was the recipient of a Kirk Robson Award and was recognised as a young cultural leader in community cultural development practice. In 2010, she was an Asialink Arts Management Resident with Makhampom Theatre in Thailand. Prior to her arrival in Melbourne (2012), Jade was based in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand working with Australian Volunteers International as an Arts Management Advisor for Gabfai Community Theatre and community based non-government organisations who are working with communities, around human rights and trafficking issues. In 2013, Jade finished a two year research project called: Australia and SE Asia – CACD Practice and International Collaborations. This work was supported by the Australia Council.
Suellen Maunder Director
Artistic Director and CEO of JUTE Theatre Company in Cairns, a multi-award winning regional company. Suellen is a director and actor and was one of the key players in gaining $2.7 million in capital works funding from the State Government and was integrally involved in the design and development of the Centre of Contemporary Arts in Cairns. She also consulted on the $2 million rehearsal studio development at the Centre. From 2009 to 2012 Suellen was on the Theatre Board of the Australia Council for the Arts and the Arts Queensland Sector Plan Reference Group. From 2000 to 2007, Suellen was a Trustee of the Board of the Queensland Performing Arts Trust and has served on a range of boards and funding assessment panels. Suellen is committed to the growth of high-quality professional theatre practice in the regions. Suellen was a key player in the development of the Centre of Contemporary Arts in Cairns. Suellen has served on the Theatre Board of the Australia Council and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
Gambhir Watts OAM Director
Gambhir Watts is the CEO of Gambhir Watts & Co and Taxation Guru Pty Ltd. Prior to that Gambhir worked for top national banks in managerial positions for more than 10 years helping and developing small and medium businesses.
Gambhir acquired his academic and professional qualifications in India, UK and Australia, including Master of Commerce (Bombay); Fellowship of Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India; Certified Membership of the Association of Indian Institute of Bankers; Certified Membership of Chartered Institute of Bankers UK; Graduate of the CPA Program Australia and Master of Administrative Law & Policy (Sydney).
A specialist in business, finance, strategic and tactical planning, Gambhir also works in international development and is Founder and CEO of International Centre of Nonviolence Australia.