Announcing Churchill Fellowship Recipient – Lena Nahlous

Pictured: Lena Nahlous, CEO, Diversity Arts Australia

Diversity Arts CEO Lena Nahlous has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship which she will undertake in the second half of 2024. Lena will investigate the development of Australia’s first open-access digital archive of living and deceased culturally diverse artists and creatives.

“This presents a significant opportunity to connect with, and learn from Archives around the globe that focus on cultural diversity, like London’s Black Cultural Archives and the George Padmore Institute,” Lena says. “These are strongly led by and connected to communities and have education and outreach components.”

The archives will:

  • be free, accessible and digital, connecting with other archives and institutions nationally and internationally;
  • act like a clearinghouse but also commission new content;
  • preserve the histories and stories of artists and groups from culturally diverse, migrant, and refugee backgrounds;
  • have a community outreach and education focus.

Lena has over 20 years-experience in arts, cultural and media organisations where she has developed artist brokerage and training programs focusing on creatives from culturally and racially marginalised backgrounds and young people.

Lena drives sector-wide change through strategic partnerships, research, and innovative projects that empower artists as advocates. Her exceptional leadership and creative expertise resonate in recent achievements: Diversity Arts’ Shifting the Balance report, the transformative Creative Equity Toolkit, the groundbreaking Pacesetters project, and the Fair Play capacity-building program.

Lena’s legacy includes a history of building arts infrastructure, from organisations to digital media centres and platforms. In her former role as Executive Director of Arts and Cultural Exchange, she established initiatives like the Arab Film Festival, Switch digital media centre and Artfiles, an artist employment and brokerage program. Lena’s journey exemplifies an unwavering commitment to equity and preservation, leaving an indelible mark on the artistic landscape.

In 2020, Lena won the Western Sydney Woman Leader of Change Award and has previously been the recipient of an Asialink Fellowship and an Ian Potter Foundation fellowship.

“As part of this work, I’ll also be connecting with local Archives and seeking partnerships and collaborations to support this work into the future. This Archive will strengthen and share the content within other existing national archives,” she said.


Find out more

Learn more about the project to develop Australia’s first open-access digital archive of culturally diverse artists and creatives

Visit the Churchill Trust website