Read Shifting the Balance 1.0: Our report on culturally diverse arts leadership

Download Report

Download your free copy of the Shifting the Balance 1.0 report below.

Download now

Support Shifting the Balance 2.0

Help us bring Shifting the Balance 2.0 to life. Donate to our End Of Financial Year (EOFY) fundraiser by June 30 to make a lasting impact and be part of building a creative industry that reflects our lived experiences in society.

Donate now

Read the report

View the report online at Issuu.

Read it

Share the report facts

Share the social media graphics and tag us with #ShiftingTheBalance @DiversityArtsAu.

Creative Commons Attribution: Users must credit Source: Diversity Arts Australia when sharing the Shifting the Balance Report Graphics.

Share it

Shifting the Balance: cultural diversity in leadership within Australian arts, screen and creative sectors

Funded by a UNESCO grant and led by Diversity Arts Australia in partnership with Western Sydney University (WSU) and BYP Group, this is the first research of its kind to put a clear figure on what cultural and linguistic diversity—or lack thereof—looks like in the creative sector at the leadership level.

This report responds to a gap in knowledge measuring cultural and linguistic diversity amongst the leadership of 200 of Australia’s leading arts, cultural and screen organisations, funding agencies and award judges, including the board members and executive staff.

The focus on leadership is where this diversity matters most—impacting decision making, influencing priorities, setting agendas, gatekeeping and shaping organisational culture. And the results are stunning: just over half of the organisations surveyed had no culturally and/or linguistically diverse representation amongst their board members, award panels and/or executives. CALD Australians are under-represented in every art practice area of Australia’s significant arts, screen and creative companies and organisations.


Please join us as we launch our groundbreaking report

August 14, 2019

10AM – 11:30AM

The Oratory @ The Abbotsford Convent

1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford, VIC 3067

(Optional lunch and networking at the venue 11.40-12.40pm)

Wheelchair accessible venue information here. This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Guest Speakers

Welcome to Country from Aunty Diane Kerr

Launched by Beverley Wang (Radio National Presenter “Stop Everything!” and “It’s not a Race”)

Artists, arts leaders and activists will give short responses to the report, including:

Rohini Kappadath, General Manager, Immigration Museum; Jane Crawley, Director of Arts Investment, Creative Victoria; Tim Lo Surdo, Founder and National Organiser, Democracy in Colour; Jackie Bailey, Principal, BYP Group, and Gemma Mahadeo, Writer and Performer.

Event citizen journalists/writers:  Hoa Pham and Cubbie Mako.

Aunty Diane Kerr OAM (Wurundjeri Tribe Council), Welcome to Country

Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Di has made a life-long contribution to her community in the areas of health, welfare, education and land rights. Aunty Di identifies with the Ganun Willam Balak clan of the Wurundjeri. Apart from one year of her life when she lived in Canberra, Diane has always resided in Wurundjeri country having grown up in Moorabbin. Now Aunty Di is the matriarch of her family and takes pride in being a ‘mum, a stepmum, a foster mum, an aunty and a grandmother.’ Aunty Di has devoted many years to improving the lives of those in her local community. She has worked in various fields including child care, education, native title, Stolen Generation support, and other community activities. She has been a mentor and foster carer for many Aboriginal children and young people. Her passion lies in the area of social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal communities.

Beverley Wang Radio National Presenter “Stop Everything!” & “It’s not a Race”

Beverley Wang is a journalist, producer and podcaster who is allergic to being bored. She’s the creator and presenter of ABC Radio’s “It’s Not A Race”, the ground-breaking podcast that has been recognised for opening up new conversations on race and identity in Australia and beyond.


Beverley’s done her time as a serious journalist, working her way up from editorial assistant, to news reporter, to producer and executive producer for newspapers, The Associated Press and the ABC, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to dive deep into pop culture for RN with Stop Everything! They said it couldn’t be done, but she’s finally putting her honours arts degree in cinema studies and semiotics to practical use. Born and raised in Canada, Beverley moved to Australia in 2009 after stints living, working and studying in Japan, the United States and Taiwan. In addition to the BA from the University of Toronto, she holds a master’s degree in journalism from New York University.


Rohini Kappadath General Manager, Immigration Museum

Rohini is on the Executive Leadership Team at Museums Victoria, as the General Manager of Immigration Museum. With a diverse career history spanning over 25 years in the technology and professional services sectors, Rohini has specialised in building high performance teams and leading growth in international markets, for multinational institutions. For US-based, global software multinational, SAS Institute Inc., Rohini started-up and established the Indian subsidiary, as its Managing Director.  Her experience in working with businesses within the Asian region and global engagement was recognised at the 2015 Telstra Business Womens Awards. Rohini is a contributor to a number of non-profit, private and academic boards including Swinburne Innovation Precinct, Commonwealth Bank Cultural Diversity Council, Research Unit into Public Cultures (University of Melbourne), International Women’s Federation of Commerce & Industry. She holds a Masters in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Swinburne University. Rohini is a mother of three children, with an enduring commitment to family, painting and influencing global change.

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.


Tim Lo Surdo Founder & National Co-Director of Democracy in Colour

Tim is the Founder and National Co-Director of Democracy in Colour – Australia’s first racial and economic justice organisation led by people of colour. Previously, he was a Senior Organiser at United Voice where he helped low-paid workers start Hospo Voice – a new union in hospitality. He has led campaigns at Oaktree, been an adviser to two Senators, was the Campaigns Director at Jhatkaa, led national communications at UN Youth Australia, and co-founded Open Sky – a well-known performance art community. Tim is also on the Boards of Plan International Australia, the Southern Migrant & Refugee Centre, Stop the Traffik, Climate for Change, and The Wilderness Society (Vic).

Jackie Bailey Founder & Principal of BYP Group

Jackie is the founder and Principal of BYP Group and has 18 years experience in the Australian government and non-profit sectors. She has worked in executive policy and research roles for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Health and Ageing and the Australia Council for the Arts. Jackie has a University Medal, BA (First Class Honours) from the University of Queensland and a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Media from the University of Melbourne. Jackie is also a writer of creative fiction and non-fiction. She has been published in a number of publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, ArtLook, Arts Professional UK, Global Storytelling and Online Opinion. She was shortlisted for the Rhodes Scholarship, is an alumnus of the Varuna Writers Centre and recipient of a Research Excellence Award to undertake a Creative Writing PhD through the University of New South Wales.

Gemma Mahadeo Writer and Performer

Gemma Mahadeo is a multilingual writer and performer who came to Australia in 1987. Written work published includes poetry and criticism in Archer, Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite, Djed Press, Peril, Rabbit, The Suburban Review, and The Victorian Writer, and is currently reviews editor for the Melbourne Spoken Word website, and poetry editor for Concrete Queers zine. Readings and talks given include Freeplay Festival, Digital Writers’ Festival, Emerging Writers’ Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Midsumma, and the Queensland Poetry Festival. Find them on Twitter as @snarkattack, Instagram as @eatdrinkstagger, or blogging at

Image: Gemma Mahadeo by Leah Jing McIntosh

Lena Nahlous CEO, Diversity Arts Australia

Lena Nahlous is an experienced CEO, producer, curator, artistic director and facilitator with a long-term commitment to racial equity in the arts, screen and creative sectors. She is currently the CEO of Diversity Arts Australia and host of The Colour Cycle podcast. She has extensive experience in designing and delivering training and education programs in a variety of tertiary, secondary, community and arts settings. 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. 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 engagement program. Lena’s recent projects include: the Shifting the Balance leadership report; the Creative Equity Toolkit; the Fair Play capacity building program, and I am Not a Virus Australia. In 2020, Lena won the Western Sydney Woman Leader of Change Award and in 2023 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship.

Hoa Pham Citizen Journalist and Writer

Hoa Pham is the author of six books and two plays. Her most recent novel, Wave, was published in 2015. The Other Shore won the Viva La Novella Prize in 2014. Hoa’s most recent piece is The Lady of the Realm, in the Review of Australian Fiction. Her play “Silence” was on the VCE Drama list in 2010. She is also the founder of Peril Magazine, an Asian-Australian online arts and culture magazine. She has completed her doctorate in creative arts and also holds master’s degrees in creative writing and psychology.

Cubbie Mako Citizen Journalist and Writer

Cubbie Mako aka CB Mako is a non-fiction, fiction, and fan-fiction writer. Winner of the Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Competition, shortlisted for the Overland Fair Australia Prize, and longlisted for the inaugural Liminal Fiction Prize, Cubbie has been published in The Suburban Review, The Lifted Brow, Mascara Literary Review, The Victorian Writer, Peril Magazine, Djed Press, Overland, and Liminal Fiction Prize Anthology (via Brow Books, arriving in 2020). On Twitter as @cubbieberry and @cb.mako on Instagram.

The Shifting the Balance Report is supported by the Commonwealth through the Australian National Commission for UNESCO of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Diversity Arts Australia also acknowledges:

Report partners: Western Sydney University and BYP Group
Organisational sponsor: Information and Cultural Exchange
Event partner: The Abbotsford Convent

Optional Masterclass:

This launch will be followed by a masterclass (1-4pm) “How to diversify your leadership in the creative sector?” Led by Paula Abood, the workshop will be developing a hands on approach to ways that you can diversify your own organisational cultures and activate change. As part of this masterclass, CEO of Multicultural Arts Victoria, Veronica Pardo will be in conversation with Paula Abood themed “symbolic gesture or substantive change”. Limited places available, and filling fast!

More info and to book for the workshop, please visit our masterclass event page to register for free. This Masterclass is a component of the Fair Play: equity, inclusion and creative industries project, which is managed by Diversity Arts Australia and delivered in partnership with Victorian organisations. Core funding for Fair Play is from Creative Victoria.