Fair Play Symposium Speakers

Keynote Speakers & MC

Deborah Williams Executive Director, Creative Diversity Network, UK

Deborah Williams is CEO of the Creative Diversity Network (CDN) – which promotes diversity and inclusion in the Broadcasting industry. As CEO of Creative Diversity Network, Deborah developed and delivered their Diamond diversity monitoring scheme, as well as data bases and online resources for the major broadcasters in the UK who are all members of the network.

Prior to her work with CDN, Deborah undertook ground-breaking work as Diversity Manager at the British Film Institute (BFI). This included opening a lottery fund to promote diversity and designing the diversity standards for film and contributing to the strategic and business plan of the BFI. She was responsible for leading on equity analysis and the introduction of the Creative Case for Diversity in the Arts Council England.

Outside of the UK, Deborah Williams has been an advisor to the Swedish Film Institute and Arts Council, the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, the Danish Film Institute, the Cannes Film Festival, the European Disability Forum and spoke at Australia’s Screen Diversity Inclusion Network in 2018.

In addition to her advocacy work, Deborah has over 3 decades of experience in the performing and screen arts in the UK including running her own theatre companies, acting with the Graeae Theatre Company,and teaching stage management at the Webber Douglas Drama School.

Genevieve Grieves Artist, curator and Head, First Peoples Dept, Museums Victoria

Genevieve Grieves is a Worimi woman from southeast Australia based in Narrm (Melbourne). She is an award-winning artist, curator and content creator committed to sharing First Peoples histories and cultures and interrogating colonising frameworks and practices.  Her recent projects include the Awaken exhibition at the University of Melbourne; Barangaroo Ngangamay, a place-based Augmented Reality app that shares and celebrates the cultures of Sydney Aboriginal women; and, she was Lead Curator of the internationally celebrated permanent exhibition, First Peoples, at the Melbourne Museum.  She is a passionate advocator of decolonising and community-engaged practice and teaches these methodologies in university and community contexts. Her current projects include a PhD in art, colonial violence and memorialisation; a new role at Museums Victoria as Head of the First Peoples Department; and, the very important role of mum to a new baby.

Caroline Bowditch Performer, teacher and Executive Director, Arts Access Victoria

After 16 years living and working in the U.K. Caroline Bowditch has recently returned to Australia to take up the role as Executive Director at Arts Access Victoria. She is best known as a performer, maker, teacher, speaker and mosquito buzzing in the ears of the arts industry in the UK and further afield.

She held the role as Scottish Dance Theatre’s Dance Agent for Change (2008-2012). Caroline was awarded an Unlimited commission to create Leaving Limbo Landing (2012) for the Cultural Olympiad and in 2014 created Falling in Love with Frida, which was awarded a prestigious Herald Angel award. In 2016, she collaborated with Laura Hook, to create two works for young audiences, The Adventures of Snigel (3-8 years) and Snigel and Friends (under 1’s).

Caroline has been an Associate Artist with Paragon Music (Glasgow), Dance4 (Nottingham) and Imaginate (Scotland) and was Visiting Professor at Coventry University. She has been a regular consultant on accessibility and inclusivity to Skånes Dansteater, Sweden and British Council. She has led international residencies in Italy, Switzerland and Germany is regularly invited to be mentor local, national and international artists at all levels of their artistic development.


Dr Paula Abood Writer, CCD practitioner, creative producer and educator

Artistic Director/ Editor/Facilitator/Trainer Paula Abood is a writer, community cultural development practitioner, creative producer and educator. She was the 2013 recipient of the Australia Council’s Ros Bower Award for lifetime achievement in community arts and cultural development practice and is a director of the newly-established organisation The Third Space. She has worked with diverse communities in capacity building projects for 30 years. Her productions include The Cartographer’s  Curse (2016), Auburn Cartographies of Diversity (2016),  Sacred Women’s Voices (2013 / 2011), Parenting Stories (2010), Hurriya and her Sisters (2009), The Book of African Australian Stories (2006), Poetry on Rooftops (2006), and Of Middle Eastern Appearance (2001). Paula was awarded the 2007 Western Sydney Artists’ Fellowship for the blogging project Race and the City and was the 2013 recipient of the Australia Council’s Ros Bower Award for lifetime achievement in community cultural development practice.  She has developed resources and taught widely on subjects including cultural diversity, advocacy, and community development at TAFE and in community education settings. Paula co-developed the Certificate IV in Community Arts and Cultural Development that runs out of St George TAFE in Sydney, and is a leading trainer and educator on human rights approaches across the community, arts and education sectors. Paula was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from UNSW in 2007 in the area of cultural studies.

Eleanor Jackson (MC) Poet, performer, arts producer and community radio broadcaster

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer and community radio broadcaster.

She produces the Melbourne Poetry Map and has previous and ongoing affiliations with community-based literary organisations such as Peril Magazine, Queensland Poetry Festival and The Stella Prize.

Panellists & Speakers

James Arvanitakis Patron

Professor James Arvanitakis is the Executive Director of the Australian American Fulbright Commission.

James has 20-year experience in the higher education sector having also had successful careers in finance and the not-for profit sector. As an educator, researcher and public commentator, James was the driving force behind several innovative programs at Western Sydney University where he worked for fifteen years including the establishment of The Academy, and the Graduate Research School. Most recently he was the Pro Vice Chancellor (Engagement and Advancement).

James is a Fulbright alumni, having spent 12 months at the University of Wyoming as the Milward L Simpson Fulbright Fellow.

James is internationally recognised for his innovative teaching, receiving the Prime Minister’s University Teacher of the Year Award (2012) and named an Eminent Researcher by the Australia India Education Council (2015).

In 2021, he was appointed the inaugural Patron of Diversity Arts Australia in recognition of his commitment to promoting a cultural sector that reflects the rich diversity of Australia. He is also an academic fellow of the Australia India Institute and on the Advisory Board of the Herbert and Valmae Freilich Project for the Study of Bigotry. He has over 100 publications and is a regular media commentator often seen on the ABC. His research areas include trust, US politics, water security and the future of democracies. He tweets at @jarvanitakis

Michael Williams Director, Wheeler Centre
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.For 2015–2016 he hosted Blueprint for Living, and now hosts Talkfest, on RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the Age, Sydney Morning HeraldAustralian and elsewhere.

Jeremy Smith Director of Community, Emerging & Experimental Arts, Australia Council for the Arts

Jeremy Smith is the Director of Community of Emerging and Experimental Arts, for the Australia Council for the Arts. His early career was in festivals and the performing arts, following his graduation from lighting design at the WA Academy of Performing Arts. His first taste of community-determined arts and cultural programs was through a fellowship offered by ArtsWA. Jeremy has supported regional arts engagement and forged partnerships with diverse communities throughout his career, having held management and advisory roles in both the public and private sector that involved delivering community projects in regional and remote areas across Western Australia.

Martin Foley Minister for Creative Industries

First elected to Parliament in 2007, Martin Foley is the Victorian Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Equality and Minister for Creative Industries in the Andrews Labor Government. His portfolios centre on driving social change, delivering a better life for the most vulnerable Victorians, and ensuring that creatives across all sectors are supported. His one creative talent is recognising that politics is showbiz for ugly people.  

Jax Jacki Brown Activist & Publishability Project Officer, Writers Victoria

Jax Jacki Brown is a disability and LGBTIQ rights activist, writer and educator. Jax is the co-producer of Quippings: Disability Unleashed, a performance troupe which stages entertaining and provocative work by people with disabilities. Jax has a passion for intersectional equality and is eternally hopeful that a fair and just world is possible!

Photo credit Suzanne Phoenix

Jane Crawley Director, Arts Investment, Creative Victoria

Jane Crawley is the Director of Arts Investment at Creative Victoria, a role she took up in September 2016. Her portfolio leads strategy, funding and investment for Victoria’s non-government arts and creative industries sector and leads Creative Victoria’s engagement with and support of Victorian First People, Regional Victoria, Contemporary Live Music and Education. Prior to joining Creative Victoria, Jane was Manager of Arts Melbourne with Melbourne City Council.

During her six years in this role, Jane helped position Melbourne as a leading creative capital and led significant initiatives including Australia’s first local government Cultural Infrastructure Framework; the revitalisation of Arts House as Melbourne’s centre for contemporary and experimental performance; and Yirramboi First Nation’s Arts festival. Jane has an extensive background in public sector arts strategy and reform, creative production, community cultural development, and community media.


Katrina Sedgwick Director & CEO of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Katrina Sedgwick is the Director & CEO of ACMI since early 2015. She has an extensive background as a commissioner, creative producer, festival director and performer. Her previous roles include Head of Arts for ABC TV, founding Director/CEO of the Adelaide Film Festival and its Investment Fund, Artistic Director for Adelaide Fringe 2002 and Come Out ’99 (Australian Festival for Young People) and Special Events Producer for Robyn Archer’s 1998 and 2000 Adelaide Festival of Arts.

Jodie Sizer Co-CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers Indigenous Consulting

Jodie Sizer, a founding partner and co-CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers Indigenous Consulting, is a Djab Wurrung/Gunditjmara woman and one of Australia’s foremost Indigenous leaders.

A life-long Collingwood supporter who has been the chair of the Collingwood Football Club’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) sub-committee, Sizer has worked with tertiary institutions, governments, sports codes and major businesses in creating meaningful change for Aboriginal people. Sizer has qualified as a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), possesses a strong background in corporate governance and is a graduate of the Hedland Leadership Program and the University of Melbourne’s Asia-Australia New Leaders Program.

Abdul Shayek Theatre Director and Artistic Director of FIO (Wales)

Theatre Director and Artistic Director of Wales-based theatre company FIO, which he founded in 2005. In Autumn 2018 he will be directing Athol Fugard’s The Island, which will tour to theatres, prisons and community spaces across Wales and England, he is also working on various other major local, national and international projects for Fio.

He was also the director for ‘Swarm’, a devised site-specific show about migration and Katori Hall’s ‘The Mountaintop’ and Ariel Dorfmans ‘Death and the Maiden’ at The Other Room. He is former Creative Associate for National Theatre Wales and has worked with a range of organisations including Contact Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Almeida and various international organisations and projects. He is a visiting lecturer at the University of East London and has guest lectured at various other institutions.

He is also a National Advisor to Arts Council Wales and was Vice Chair and a founding member of Youth Arts Network Cymru.  Abdul is a Clore Cultural Leadership Fellow (2013-14) and sits on the steering group of the National Alliance for Arts in the Criminal Justice System.

Adelaide Bannerman Freelance project manager and curator (UK)

Adelaide Bannerman is a freelance project manager and curator based in London. Since 1998, Bannerman has worked for UK arts institutions that have included Autograph ABP, Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), African and Asian Visual Artists Archive (AAVAA), Tate, Live Art Development Agency, Platform London, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, 198 Gallery and Arts Council England.

She currently works for International Curators Forum and in partnership is developing an international residency programme amongst other activities. She is currently a trustee of Idle Women, an organisation that initiates and creates contemporary art with women and Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall an artist-run laboratory and presentation space for contemporary art. Her independent research interests valorise performative gestures and engagements with live and visual performance art and privileging the developmental process behind individual and group practices. Bannerman is also interested in exploring, noting and co-opting movement and improvisatory methods as part of her curatorial practice.


Candy Bowers Co-artistic director, Black Honey Company

Candy Bowers multidisciplinary writer, actor, producer, theatremaker and filmmaker. The co-artistic director of Black Honey Company, Candy has pioneered a fierce sub-genre of contemporary performance that delves into the heart of radical feminist dreaming and earned her the 2018 Geoffrey Milne- Green Room Award for outstanding contribution to Independent Theatre.

Her original work for stage includes Hot Brown Honey, Who’s That Chik?Australian Booty, MC Platypus & Queen Koala and One The Bear- A Fairytale for the Hip Hop Generation. She has written poetry, short stories, essays and commentary for The Lifted Brow, SBS Life, Junkee and PerilMag. She is published in Yours Truly- Women of Letters (Penguin), She’s Having A Laugh (Affirm) and Queerstories (Hachette). Candy is a break-out comic performer with TV appearances on Get Krack!n, Newtons Law, The Ex PM, Tonightly (ABC/Netflix) and The Cry (BBC.) She is currently working on her first screenplay for Arena Media, her first video art work commissioned by Campbelltown Arts Centre and her first graphic novel for young adults at the Wheeler Centre.

Candy is a proud member of the MEAA Equity Diversity Committee, ambassador for NOWAustralia and champion of Stella Schools and the Stella Prize.

Dr Mikala Tai Director, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Dr Mikala Tai is the director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney. As a curator, researcher, and academic specializing in contemporary Asian art, she has collaborated with local, national, and international organizations to strengthen ties between Australia and Asia. Her curatorial projects at 4A include “The Burrangong Affray” (2018, co-curated with Micheal Do), “Before the Rain” (2017); “I don’t want to be there when it happens” (co-curated with Kate Warren and expanded at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts with Eugenio Viola, 2017); and “Jogja Calling” (2016).

She received critical acclaim for her organization of the performance program at Art Central Hong Kong (2016 – 2018). Her independent curatorial projects include “Abdullah M.I. Syed: Diving Economy—Structures” (Aicon Gallery, New York, 2017), “Closing the Gap: Contemporary Indonesian Art” (Melbourne Intercultural Fine Art, 2011), and “Yang Yongliang: On the Quiet Water” (Fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne, 2009). Tai has taught at Monash University, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), and the University of Melbourne in both undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Tai’s writing can be found in several exhibition catalogues in addition to periodicals such as Broadsheet Journal, Art Monthly Australiasia, Photofile, Vault, and Ocula. In 2015, Tai received her PhD, focusing on the influence of the global city on China’s local art infrastructure.

Jacob Boehme Multi-disciplinary theatre maker and choreographer

Jacob Boehme is Melbourne born and raised artist of the Narangga and Kaurna Nations, South Australia. Jacob is the founding Creative Director of Yirramboi Festival, Melbourne’s premier biennial First Nations arts festival presenting innovation in contemporary and experimental First Nations arts practice from around the world and recipient of the 2018 Green Room Award for Curatorial Contribution to Contemporary and Experimental Arts.

Jacob is a multi-disciplinary theatre maker and choreographer, creating work for stage, screen, large-scale public events and festivals. Jacob currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Blackfulla Performing Arts Alliance, is a member of the International Advisory Panel for the Calouste Gulbenkian UK Enquiry into the Civic Role of Arts Organisations and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art Yalingwa Advisory Committee. Alumni of the Victorian College of the Arts, Jacob’s solo work Blood on the Dance Floor is touring nationally and internationally in 2019.

Natalie Ibu Artistic Director and CEO, tiata fahodzi (UK)

Natalie Ibu is the artistic director and CEO of tiata fahodzi and leads a consortium in delivering the Artistic Director Leadership Programme – a strategic project funded by the Arts Council England’s Sustain Theatre Fund, facilitating the professional development of 28 leaders of colour. Previously she was the Creative Producer for In Good Company, launching the regional artist development programme in the East Midlands for Derby Theatre, Embrace Arts Leicester and Create Mansfield.

During her 15 year arts management career, she has consulted for independent theatre companies like Openworks Theatre, Maison Foo, Fifth Word, Bear Trap Theatre Company and Spilt Milk Dance, led departments and programmes at the Roundhouse, Only Connect, HighTide Theatre and worked at the Traverse Theatre, Citizens Theatre and National Museums Scotland.

As director, credits include readings and productions at Paines Plough’s Roundabout, Watford Palace Theatre, Riverside Studios, Young Vic, Lyric, Southwark Playhouse, Southbank Centre, Jersey Arts Trust, The Old Vic Tunnels, Theatre503, The Gate, Latitude, HighTide, BAC, Oran Mor, Traverse, Royal Court, ATC at the Young Vic, OVNV at The Old Vic, Waterloo East and The Vineyard Theatre in New York, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Citizens’, The Arches, Contact and Nottingham Playhouse as well as national tours. Since graduating with a First Class Honours degree in 2004, she has completed the IETM Campus, Clore Leadership Programme Short Course, Stage One New Producers Workshop as well as residencies with the Royal Court, New Perspectives, New York Theatre Workshop, the National Theatre Studio, Royal Shakespeare Company, Citizens’ Theatre and Contact. She has been awarded bursaries from Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme, the Federation of Scottish Theatre, Scottish Arts Council and Arts Council East Midlands. Awards include Dewar Arts Award for Exceptional Artists Under 30, Time Warner Ignite 2, IdeasTap Innovator’s Award and the Lilian Baylis Award for Theatrical Excellence. She is a trustee of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme and an Arts Council England South East Area Council Member.




Eugenia Flynn Fair Play Creative Producer

Eugenia Flynn is a writer, arts worker and community organiser. With over ten years’ experience in community arts and cultural development, Eugenia has worked with Kurruru Youth Performing Arts, the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development and not-for-profit art and fashion social enterprise The Social Studio. Most recently, Eugenia has worked with RISE Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees, Eleven Collective, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and is a Board member of Ilbijerri Theatre Company, Blak Dot Gallery, and Peril Magazine. Eugenia identifies as Aboriginal, Chinese and Muslim, working within her multiple communities to create change through literature, art, politics and community development.

Photo Credit – Ahmed Sabra.

Tania Cañas Melbourne-based performer, facilitator and researcher

Tania Cañas is a Lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts in Social Practice and Community Engagement. She currently sits on the Editorial Board at the International Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Journal and most recently, was appointed International Guest Curator at the International Community Arts Festival, The Netherlands.

Dominic Golding Artist and community worker

Dominic Golding has 18 years in the community cultural development sector across refugees, migrants, arts and disability, including project management and development with Vietnamese Youth Media at Footscray Community Arts Centre, Shrimp in collaboration with Melbourne Workers Theatre and La Mama to doing independent arts and poet gigs. His community work has been with schools/disability day programs doing writing workshops to social policy advocacy (RISE, NEDA and DnD). He has just completed the Social Equity Community Fellowship on refugees with disabilities.

Leah Jing McIntosh Founding editor of Liminal Magazine

Leah Jing McIntosh is the founding editor of Liminal Magazine. Her writing has been published by the Saturday Paper, The Wheeler Centre, SBS, Swampland, Archer, and Metro. She has been a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, and one of FCAC’s Emerging Cultural Leaders. She is a 2019 Victorian Nominee for Young Australian of the Year.

Rob Hyatt Education Manager, Koorie Heritage Trust

Rob Hyatt is the Education Manager at Koorie Heritage Trust and an Aboriginal man with ties to the Lake Tyers community and the Wotjobaluk in western Victoria. He has 25 years’ experience in government, sport and community, advocating for greater understanding of the issues that impact on Aboriginal people and addressing these issues with cultural sensitivity. He also has a BSc with Honors majoring in Zoology and Botany and a Masters of Landscape Architecture, which involved four years of work with the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust Community.

Bali Padda Industry Development Executive, Screen Australia

Bali Padda is an Industry Development Executive at Screen Australia. Bali joined Screen Australia’s Development unit in November 2018, managing the people and sector development program, Enterprise funding, and working across the agency’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Prior to Screen Australia, Bali was the Chair of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance’s (MEAA) Equity Diversity Committee, a voluntary panel of performers established to address issues of diversity and inclusion in Australian performing arts. Bali helmed Australia’s first Screen Diversity Showcase, funded by Screen Australia and brought together MEAA, the Australian Writers’ Guild and the Australian Directors’ Guild to develop talent from underrepresented communities.

Azizeh Astaneh Visual artist, graphic designer and founding president of Melbourne Artists for Asylum Seekers

Azizeh Astaneh is an artist, former art critic and refugee living in Melbourne. She is the founding president of Melbourne Artists For Asylum Seekers, and has curated art exhibitions featuring works by detained and community-based asylum seekers and artists living in Melbourne since 2014.

Peter Waples-Crowe Visual and performing artist, Aboriginal Health worker

Peter Waples-Crowe is a Ngarigo queer visual and performing artist, and Aboriginal Health worker whose artwork has featured in many spaces throughout Victoria.  His art practice plays at the intersection of his experiences as an Aboriginal queer person and his work with community health and community arts organisations such as The Torch, the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and his current role at Thorne Harbour Health.

Kath Duncan Researcher, producer and co-founder, Quippings deaf and disabled queer dance troupe

Kath Duncan is a researcher and producer, and cofounder of the unique spoken word cabaret troupe of Deaf and disabled queer performers, Quippings. Kath has taught media production, has worked with broadcasters ABC and SBS, and loves a great argument. Kath is currently chair and lead investigator with the Australian Research Council project, Disability and the Performing Arts in Australia: Beyond the Social Model.

Neil Morris Yorta Yorta poet, musician, activist and broadcaster on 3RRR FM

Neil Morris is a Yorta Yorta poet, independent musician, broadcaster, and a community activist for First Nations people. With his background working in various Indigenous affairs roles over the years within cultural revitalisation and traditional custodian affairs broadly, Neil brings a strong decolonial lens to all his work as both an artist and advocate for his peoples.

Under his music project DRMNGNOW, Neil released a potent critique of nationhood on this land with the single ‘Australia Does Not Exist’ in early 2018, followed up by the equally stirring ‘Indigenous Land’. He also hosts Still Here on 3RRR FM.

Jason Tamiru Associate Producer, Malthouse Theatre

Jason Tamiru is a proud Yorta Yorta man passionate about his people and culture. He has worked with many of Melbourne’s most iconic performing arts companies, museums and festivals. As a producer he supports his people’s creativity by building frameworks that complement cultural expressions. Jason is influenced by anything and everything that stimulates his spirit and soul, and he works to inspire the same passion amongst his community and peers.

Fiona Tuomy Artistic Director, The Other Film Festival

Fiona Tuomy is an award winning screenwriter, director, producer and developer. A graduate of AFTRS, Fiona’s screen career includes a range of accomplished short films, screenwriting credits and script development roles. Fiona has also worked in leadership and educational roles across the screen, arts, literary and disability sectors, including as Mentor-in-Residence (2012-2017) on the Write-ability program for writers with disability, a partnership between Writers Victoria and Arts Access Victoria. Currently Fiona is Artistic Director of The Other Film Festival, Australia’s first international disability film festival established in 2004 by Arts Access Victoria.

Veronica Pardo CEO, Multicultural Arts Victoria

Veronica Pardo is the CEO of Multicultural Arts Victoria and previously the Executive Director of Arts Access Victoria. Veronica has a passion for social justice and equity, and she has spearheaded campaigns relating to the inclusion of all people in arts and culture, as audiences and cultural innovators.

Aseel Tayah Performer, vocalist, installation artist and activist

Aseel Tayah is a Palestinian Artist who was born under occupation in Jerusalem. Aseel’s life encouraged her to make art that represents what Arab Muslim women face in this world. For her, art is an act of resistance and a tool to survive.  Her main focus is empowering women through art. As the first artist in her community, she initiated children and youth platforms to challenge the way people think about art. She is a creative director, art producer, and installation artist that shares her life experience in leadership and community development. She creates an interactive experience which invites the audience to participate by the way she designs her space, body and vocal presence.

Paola Balla Artist in Residence at Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit, Victoria University, Curator, Creative Producer, Educator and Researcher

Paola Balla is a Wemba-Wemba and Gunditjmara woman with Italian and Chinese heritage. She is an artist, curator, writer, educator and speaker. Paola developed the first Indigenous arts program at Footscray Community Arts Centre, where she continues as a member of the Indigenous Advisory Group. She was a senior curator on the First Peoples exhibition at Melbourne Museum, curated Sovereignty, and co-curated Unfinished Business: Perspectives on art and feminism at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. She teaches at Victoria University.

Sophie Black Head of Literature, The Wheeler Centre

Sophie Black is Head of Publishing at the Wheeler Centre where she has worked on projects such as the new national writers scheme The Next Chapter, Walkley Award-winning podcast The Messenger and the ABC Radio National program Talkfest. Previously she was Editor in Chief at Private Media; Director at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas (2013), and Editor of Crikey. She sits on the advisory board for Melbourne University’s Centre for Advancing Journalism and the human rights publication Right Now.

Tony Briggs Actor, writer and producer (Cleverman, The Sapphires)

Tony Briggs is an acclaimed writer, director, producer and actor for film, television and theatre. His acting career began on stage in the 1980s and his many credits include roles in Broken Shore, Redfern NowThe SlapCleverman, Wentworth, Nowhere Boys, Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Warriors and Rake.

Tony’s feature film The Sapphires, which he co-wrote for the screen, was adapted from his award-winning theatre production and grossed over $14.4 million at the box office in Australia, making it the most successful Australian film of 2012. The film received a standing ovation at its world premiere at the 65th Cannes Film Festival and was released theatrically in the US. The Sapphires won 11 AACTA Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay, and Tony also received AWGIE Awards for the Most Outstanding Script of 2012 and Best Feature Film Adaptation. The Sapphires theatre production enjoyed triumphant sell-out seasons in Sydney and Melbourne, winning two Helpmann Awards for Best New Australian Work and Best Play in 2005. Tony will direct The Sapphires upcoming national tour in 2019.

Tony is currently Associate Director on Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Astroman and is writing and developing a slate of film and television projects which have been supported by the ABC, Film Victoria, NITV and Screen Australia.

Dr Margaret Mayhew Education Consultant

Dr Margaret Mayhew is a visual artist, academic and queer performance artist who has lived with chronic illness since 1984. She has volunteered with refugee community organisations in Sydney and Melbourne since 1991, and co-founded Melbourne Artists for Asylum in 2013. Margaret worked as a researcher in the Social Relations of Disability Research Network (1997-1998), the CALD capacity building program at the Australian Centre for Diabetes (2009-2011) and smaller projects with Information and Cultural Exchange and Diversity Arts Australia. She has taught in the Gender Sexuality and Diversity Studies program at La Trobe University since 2012. Margaret has exhibited textile works in Australia and Europe, and practiced, exhibited, researched and taught in community arts and life drawing in Australia and Internationally.

Writer-in-Residence & Citizen Journalists

Claire G Coleman Writer-in-Residence, Noongar woman and author of Terra Nullius

Claire G Coleman is a Noongar woman whose family have belonged to the south coast of Western Australia since long before history started being recorded. She writes fiction, essays and poetry while traveling around the continent now called Australia in a ragged caravan. Her first novel, Terra Nullius, was shortlisted for the Stella Prize in 2018, and her second novel, The Old Lie, is due to be released by Hachette Australia later this year.  

Jessica Walton Citizen Journalist, writer, parent & secondary teacher

Jessica Walton is a writer, parent & secondary teacher. She is the author of Introducing Teddy (Bloomsbury 2016). In 2017, Jess completed a Writeability Fellowship with Writers Victoria focused on poetry about disability, cancer & pain. She recently co-wrote an episode of Get Krack!n focused on disability, which aired on ABC in February 2019. Her most recent published work is a short story about a queer, disabled teen in #ownvoices anthology Meet Me at the Intersection (Fremantle Press 2018).

Magan Magan Citizen Journalist, poet and co-editor of Growing Up African in Australia

Magan Magan is a writer and author of From Grains to Gold (Vulgar Press, 2018). His work has been published in Hyde magazine, literary arts journal Offset, Cordite Poetry Review, The Suburban Review and anthologies Shots From The Chamber, Hunter Anthology of Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry and Australian Poetry. He has read his work at the National Gallery of Victoria, The Emerging Writers Festival, The Melbourne Spoken Word and Poetry festival and Melbourne Writers Festival. Magan was a 2018 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow and a co-editor of the Black Inc anthology Growing Up African In Australia.

PollyannaR Citizen Journalist, facilitator, collaborator, mentor

Born and based in rural Victoria, PollyannaR spent the first 15 years of her life illiterate due to her severe dyslexia. At age 16, she started taking photos of all the wonderful, complicated and beautiful people she noticed in everyday life that she could never write about.

Passionate about empowering people and regenerating places through art and activism, she has found strength in linking ideas, connecting people and facilitating community arts to grow in regional areas. She works as a facilitator, collaborator, mentor and leader to empower minorities, young entrepreneurs, and artists to achieve their wildest dreams.