Arts Leaders Program

For mid-career and established arts leaders

Welcome to Country with Uncle James Ingram for the 2020 Arts Leaders residential in Wagga Wagga. Photo taken by the Wiradjuri Ceramic Mural, created by artists Rachelle Mascini, Amanda Gay, Chris Helyar, David O’Neill and youth from the Riverina Juvenile Justice Centre. Credit: Australia Council.

Announcement

The Australia Council for the Arts is pleased to announce the 2022 participants for the Arts Leaders Program. Click on the expandable headings below to learn more about the participants.

Adam is a Tasmanian born, Stompin and Victorian College of the Arts Alumni.

Adam has performed for Chunky Move, Jo Lloyd, Circa Nica, 2NDTOE and Opera Australia.

Adam made work for Lucy Guerin Inc (Pieces for Small Spaces), Stompin, QL2, Steps Youth Dance Company, fLing Physical Theatre, Tasdance and Chunky Move.

As an Artistic Director he founded Yellow Wheel and 2NDTOE. He has also led the Australia Youth Dance Festival in 2014 and 2017, The Space School of Performance Arts, Short+Sweet Dance and is currently the Artistic Director/CEO of Tasdance.

Adam is curious about interdisciplinary making, providing pathways for artists to develop practice, and getting the community moving – all from his regional home of lutruwita/Tasmania.

Amy Curl has worked in the arts and cultural industries for 20 years. An experienced creative producer and arts manager, her knowledge extends across the Australian contemporary music market with specific expertise in jazz and art-music genres compassing contemporary classical, experimental and multi-cultural music.

She is the current CEO and Executive Producer of the Sydney Improvised Music Association. As a creative producer, Amy has been instrumental in the development and export of intercultural Australian/West Bengali ensemble The Three Seas. She was central the delivery Sound Travellers, national contemporary music touring initiative with Ceres Solutions and Performing Lines. She been the Executive Producer of the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival since 2012.

A passionate advocate for building capacity in the independent music sector, Amy provides support and services for self-managed artists, and acts as a mentor and advisor for in-bound and out-bound touring projects.

The former Deputy Editor of online publication Jazz Australia, Amy currently produces and presents Jazz Made in Australia, which is syndicated nationally to 40 stations across the Community Radio Network.

Bethany Ashley-Ward is a Maori (Uenuku Tuwharetoa) woman from Otaki, New Zealand and Adelaide, South Australia. Bethany’s arts career began as a practicing visual artist. Her formal education includes a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours), Cert 4 in Project Management, Cert 3 in Business Administration, Cert 2 in Government and an Arts Administration Traineeship.

Bethany’s professional career includes roles such as; Manager – Arts Programs, Funding Program Coordinator, Project Officer – Arts and Education, Project Officer – Cargo (A Regional Artists in Schools Initiative), Project Officer – Off the Couch Contemporary Music Program, Workshop Tutor/Facilitator Womadelaide, Arts Programs Officer – Country Arts SA and Project Coordinator – The Port Festival.

Bethany has exhibited in various solo and group exhibitions since 2002 and currently works as Manager, Arts Programs at Carclew, with a focus on managing arts and cultural projects, working behind and alongside Aboriginal leadership and communities to create opportunities for Aboriginal artists and young people across South Australia. Bethany hopes to further her work through international cross-cultural collaborations between Aboriginal and Maori Elders and artists, through arts and language revival projects and in her own visual arts practice in future.

Brett Adlington has worked in the public gallery sector for over 25 years. His previous curatorial roles include Perc Tucker Regional Gallery; Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery and Gold Coast City Art Gallery (now HoTA). He was director of Lismore Regional Gallery for 11 years, where he oversaw a major redevelopment resulting in a 300% increase in visitation. He is currently CEO of Museums & Galleries of NSW.

Christine is a visual storyteller, intercultural facilitator, researcher, and event producer with extensive experience working in consulting and the not-for-profit arts sector. Christine is currently employed by the Chamber of Arts and Culture WA as the Sector Capacity Building Project Manager. She is also a co-founder and co-producer for Half The Sky, a not-for-profit organisation that raises awareness of gender equity through arts and cultural events.

In 2020 Christine completed a Doctor of Philosophy degree at the Queensland University of Technology. Christine’s multidisciplinary research focused on developing a model for co-creative community engagement through sharing the stories of the research participants. The research participants were a group of highly marginalised South Africans who engage in a building practice that uses repurposed waste materials, integrated within traditional mudbrick building techniques, to provide inexpensive, climate-appropriate, shack-replacement shelter. The research outputs included a suite of first-person video narratives which were the centrepiece of an exhibition in the South African Free State Arts Festival.

Christine has also worked extensively with First Nations Australians as the founding CEO of the Aboriginal Art Centre Hub of WA, and in land management and economic development with the National Native Title Tribunal and the Central Land Council.

Danielle began her career as a Stage Manager and Production Manager touring Australia and internationally for festivals and companies such as Queensland Theatre; Melbourne Theatre Company; Brisbane Powerhouse, La Boite; Brisbane Festival; Queensland Performing Arts Trust; Queensland Music Festival, Sydney Fringe Festival and Kooemba Jdarra. She was the resident Stage Manager of Queensland Ballet 1998 – 1999 and Opera Queensland 2003 – 2007.

In 2010 Danielle commenced working at Circa moving into the Senior Producer role in 2011 and Executive Producer in 2021. Danielle has a broad role at Circa – she is responsible for Australian and New Zealand sales; delivering Circa’s national and international touring program which averages 400 shows in 15 countries per year; overseeing Engagement and producing Circa’s new creations with a current total of 44 during her time at Circa.

Danielle has been actively involved in the broader performing arts sector throughout her career, currently as a member of the Performing Arts Connections Australia and Regional Arts Australia National Touring Advisory Group.

Dunja Rmandić is a curator and writer interested in diasporas, audience engagement and arts’ and institutions’ modes of relevance in the 21st century. She is currently the Associate Curator Projects at the Art Gallery of Western Australia (since 2015), and was recently the Acting Curator International Art. Projects at AGWA include external partner projects and collection displays and acquisitions, with notable projects being ‘spaced 3: north by southeast’ (2017, with International Art Space), WA Now shows with Eveline Kotai, Tom Mùller and Teelah George (upcoming). Prior to AGWA, she was Curator of Collections at Devonport Regional Gallery, Tasmania (2013-2015). In Melbourne and Sydney, she worked in a number of commercial and public galleries since graduating with Masters in Art Curatorship in 2007. She was on the board of Kings ARI for over three years and curated projects as an independent curator including ‘Forms of Deceit’, ‘Humming a New Diaspora’ and co-curated ‘Letters From the Field’ (Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin).

In March 2020 she guest-edited the issue of Art Monthly Australasia focusing on WA and has published catalogue essays and chapters including for AUSTRALIA: ANTIPODEAN STORIES (PAC Milan), My House Is Too Small Residency Project, Next Wave’s ‘Views From Here: 19 Perspectives on Feminism’ (Westspace), Kings ARI 10 Year publication, co-authored a chapter in Utopian Slumps: The Collingwood Years, as well as publishing reviews, catalogue essays, and giving conference papers.

Evelyn Araluen is a Goorie/Koori poet and the author of Dropbear (UQP, 2021), which was shortlisted for the Queensland Poetry Awards and the Victorian Premiers Literary Award. She is the co-editor of Overland Literary Journal and a lecturer in literary studies at the University of Deakin.

Grace Vanilau is an Aotearoa-born Samoan woman, residing and working on the sacred lands of the great Kulin Nations for 25 years. A Community Arts and Cultural Development practitioner, cultural producer, and Interdisciplinary artist. She morphs across disciplines as a weaver, singer-songwriter, performance poet, and writer and has traveled internationally doing what she love.  More importantly, she is a mama of three and nana of one – juggling has become an integral part of her daily performance act.

She has been active in the Moana Oceania arts sector for the past 30 years both in Aotearoa and Australia and draws on her networks to bring together people who are passionate about contributing to the transference, evolution and transmission of arts and cultural heritage.  Producing, delivering, and strongly advocating for culturally responsive and nuanced arts programs and projects for Pacific diaspora communities, as well as creating spaces for respectful intercultural dialogue and exchange.
She is passionate about supporting artists and communities of colour to take agency of their own and their respective communities’ creative and cultural development.  She strongly believes in the power of creativity to heal the world.

Jessica White is an author, academic and editor living on Kaurna Country, Adelaide. Her first novel A Curious Intimacy (2007) won a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist Award, was shortlisted for the Dobbie and Western Australian Premier’s Awards, and longlisted for the international Dublin Literary Award. It was followed by her second novel, Entitlement (2012). In 2019 she published a hybrid memoir about deafness, Hearing Maud (2019), which won the 2020 Michael Crouch Award for a debut work of biography and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, the National Biography Award, the Courier-Mail People’s Choice Award and the Queensland Premier’s Awards for a Work of State Significance.

Jessica’s short fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction have been published Australian an international literary magazines. She has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Pacific Region) and the Australian Book Review’s Calibre Prize. In 2020-2021 she was a Juncture fellow for the Sydney Review of Books. Jessica has received funding from Arts Queensland and the Australia Council for the Arts and has undertaken residencies in Hobart, Rome and Munich. Together with Dr Amanda Niehaus, Jessica edits Science Write Now, a journal of creative writing inspired by science.

José Da Silva has more than twenty years of curatorial and management experience in art museums and public sector environments. Since 2018 he has been the Director of UNSW Galleries, one of Australia’s leading university art museums. Previously he led the Australian Cinémathèque – an international market leader for the presentation of moving-image and media art – and between 2006 and 2018 contributed to an ambitious program of exhibitions and projects at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, including five editions of the ‘Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’. Key curatorial projects include: ‘Jacobus Capone: Orisons’ (2022), ‘Sam Smith: Capture’ (2021), ‘The Colour Line: W. E. B Du Bois and Archie Moore’ (2021), ‘Friendship as a Way of Life’ (2020, with Kelly Doley), ‘Wansolwara: One Salt Water (2020, with Mikala Tai), ‘Gemma Smith: Rhythm Sequence’ (2019), ‘David Lynch: Between Two Worlds’ (2015), and ‘Earth and Elsewhere’ (2013).

Leanne de Souza is a Co-Owner and Executive Director of Queensland’s successful music-technology company Nightlife Music, a trustee of the Queensland Performing Arts Trust (QPAC) and Chair of the Electronic Music Conference Advisory Board.

Previously, Leanne held the role of Executive Director of the Association of Artist Managers (AAM) after decades working in artist management. She has programmed music for the Commonwealth Games Festival 2018 and in 2019 curated the history of Brisbane music for the Museum of Brisbane’s ‘High Rotation’ exhibition.

Leanne de Souza is a life-member of Q Music, was awarded the 2019 National Live Music Award for “Excellence in Support of the Live Music Industry” and is a long-term local advocate for contemporary music, artist managers and gender equity in the Australian music industry. She was voted the 14th most influential person in the music industry in 2019.

Mark started out as a drummer in Darwin bands Drum Drum and Culture Connect. He later became manager of both groups, taking Drum Drum on a tour to over 13 countries, whilst Culture Connect received national attention through triple j and Channel V. Mark later took on management of Darwin duo Sietta – the group achieving significant national impact with their first album, securing partnerships with Elefant Traks, Universal Publishing and New World Artists/Artist Voice. Mark has been the Executive Director of MusicNT for the past ten years and, in that time, has grown the organisation’s internal capacity by initiating and supporting programs to deliver clear and sustainable outcomes for the NT music industry. Mark has high-level project management and governance experience, and holds a Bachelor of Business.

Natalie Rose is one third of the performance collective POST, Creative Director at Shopfront Arts Co-op, and has been involved in Australia’s Contemporary Arts scene for 22 years. Her work has been seen nationally and internationally including at Sydney Festival, Belvoir, Sydney Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Cambridge Junction (UK) and Sydney Opera House. Most recently POST’s Oedipus Schmoedipus toured to Santiago Chile, West Kowloon Cultural Precinct Authority in Hong Kong and was to be showcased at Arts Centre Melbourne’s AsiaTOPA. POST’s acclaimed Ich Nibber Dibber also featured at Sydney Festival, Sydney Opera House and Malthouse Theatre. Nat has facilitated workshops for the past 22 years for young and emerging artists with and without disability. Nat has a Bachelor of Arts (Theatre-making) from Western Sydney University and has trained at PACT and UTP. In 2021, she directed Tiny Universe, a co-production between Shopfront and Milk Crate Theatre and was commissioned by Performing Lines to begin development of a new work about Motherhood. In 2022, Nat will continue to develop her first solo work, direct Shopfront’s Harness Ensemble new work Where Shall We Meet? and devise a production with Young People from Shopfront and ATYP titled The Lies We Were Told.

 

Nina Bonacci is a producer and arts manager with over 20 years experience. Her role as Head of Producing at ILBIJERRI involves leading, training and mentoring a team of emerging First Nations producers, and working on ILBIJERRI’s large scale and touring productions. Previously, Nina was Company Manager at Malthouse Theatre for several years, where she enjoyed working with some of Australia’s finest artists. Prior to that she produced and toured contemporary Australian productions nationally and internationally while Associate Producer at Performing Lines, including Back to Back Theatre’s small metal objects and Stephen Sewell’s Three Furies. She has worked as an independent producer for many brilliant companies, including Sisters Grimm, Stuck Pigs Squealing, one step at a time like this and Angus Cerini.

Nina has also worked as a Producer at Melbourne International Comedy Festival; Festival Director for Mudfest – Melbourne University’s student arts festival; Producer at Keep Breathing; Administration and Development Coordinator at Arena Theatre Company; Marketing Manager at St Martin’s Youth Arts Centre; and as Publicist at Miranda Brown Publicity.

Nina is a frequent guest speaker for university and TAFE students; has been a board member for performing arts companies; and has sat on panels for Performing Lines, Next Wave, George Paton Gallery and the Sydney Opera House.

Dr. Riona Tindal, a creative, passionate conservationist and artist who completed her PhD in 2016. Riona expanded her career founding her consulting business Deaf Arts Space Australia in 2020. Sharing her time between her new home base in Brisbane, Hunter Region, Sydney and Northern NSW, she is a passionate advocate for inclusive and arts culture for diversity of deaf, Deaf, deaf+ and hoh artists. Having worked in Accessible Arts which was the foundation for her diverse roles as an advocate, presented in the Creative Connections – Australia Council for the Arts and Deaf Consultant – Deaf Arts Space and a part of highly successful Flow Australia team, first Deaf led festival for the diverse deaf. A Sync Leadership alumnus. Currently working in a role where the diverse deaf/hoh are given higher tertiary educational inclusion and access. Riona, born Deaf, grew up surrounded by nature and takes inspiration from the environment in her creative practice. Scientific illustration is just one of many skills that Riona has, as a multi-disciplinary artist. Deafness is not a main identifying part of her, nor is it a defining disability for Riona, but rather an aspect of a multifaceted part of her being.

Ruth McMillan is an arts worker and artist based in Mparntwe/Alice Springs, with over two decades of experience in the industry. She is currently coordinator of Tangentyere Artists, supporting the arts practice of over 100 Indigenous artists working across painting, printmaking, sculpture and ceramics. Prior to this appointment, Ruth was Coordinator of Ernabella Arts, in which she partnered with several arts organisations to develop projects across Singapore, China and throughout Australia including the touring exhibition, Clay Stories (2017-19).

Prior to her work on the APY Lands and in the Northern Territory, McMillan managed her own ceramics studio in Sydney, participating in several international residencies, exhibiting widely and having her work housed by MAGNT and private collections.

She holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts [Honours], University of Sydney, alongside a Bachelor of Arts Communication, Newcastle University.

Sim Luttin (she/her) is a Naarm, Melbourne based arts professional, producer, and curator. She has led the gallery and exhibition program at Arts Project Australia (APA) for 14 years, fostering innovative curatorial projects, including co-founding the AU/UK international platform Art et al..

As a mid-career arts leader, Sim brokers partnerships and collaborations between artists, curators, galleries and arts institutions, growing APA’s national and international profile via innovative exhibitions, projects, publications, art acquisitions, leasing, and image licensing programs. She has travelled extensively for work, representing APA and its artists at international forums in the US, UK, Europe, and New Zealand.

Formerly, Sim was a Supported Studio Network (SSN) steering group member and Craft Victoria vice-chair. She is currently a Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) board member, Melbourne University ‘Recentering Australian Art’ advisory group member, and Collingwood Yards tenant advisory group member. While working in the not-for-profit sector, Sim’s professional practice is also informed by her experience as a craftsperson and artist, having 20 years of experience as a contemporary international jeweller.

Sim is values-driven and passionate about working with neurodivergent artists; so that they are valued, exhibited, and meaningfully connected in contemporary art and culture ecologies.

Tom is a creative producer whose practice is informed by his decade-long experience as a performer.

While his career has been entwined with dance, Tom’s interests extend across theatre, circus and live art. His passion lies in facilitating both the development of new work and new ways of working. He is currently based in Meanjin Brisbane as the Senior Producer at BlakDance, supporting the creation of new work by First Nations choreographers and nurturing emerging producers through its Producer Development Program.

Prior to this, he was Studio Program Producer at Lucy Guerin Inc in Naarm Melbourne, delivering programs for independent dance artists. These included the annual PIECES season, 2021 sector recovery initiative Back to Practice and the company’s five-year Disability Action Plan. He has also been a Tour Director for Circa.

Tom’s performance career included companies such as Scottish Dance Theatre, CoisCéim Dance Theatre and Company of Wolves, alongside a host of independent choreographers. His own creative practice spanned dance, theatre, playwriting and poetry. He also taught widely in the UK and Europe, specialising in multidisciplinary improvisation practices, and co-founded The Glasgow Jam. He is an alumnus of Trinity LABAN and the London Contemporary Dance School.

Yolande Norris is a writer, producer and arts administrator based in the regional town of Braidwood, NSW.

A graduate from the Australian National University School of Art, she has worked with a range of arts organisations including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Contemporary Art Space and Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres.

Her work extends into festivals, including roles as co-director of This Is Not Art in Newcastle, and as a founding producer of You Are Here, an annual experimental and cross-arts festival in Canberra. As a producer and coordinator for community arts projects Yolande has worked with leading arts and social change company Big hART, and for Girls Rock! Canberra – a music education and mentorship program for girls, trans and non-binary youth.  As a writer she has contributed memoir and poetry, as well as essays and commentary on arts practice, culture and social history for a range of art books and publications, including Meanjin, Art Monthly, Overland and The Griffith Review.

Yolande currently works in art policy for artsACT, the ACT Government’s arts agency. She is a broadcaster and committee member for Braidwood Community Radio.

Ace Lê is an independent art researcher and curator specialised in Vietnamese art. He is the Founding Director of Lân Tinh Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the archival of and research on Vietnamese contemporary and modern art. He is also the Chief Editor at Art Republik Vietnam magazine, and a co-founding member of the curatorial collective Of Limits – a recipient of the Platform Projects 2020 Curatorial Award by NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. An ASEAN Scholar, Ace holds an MA in Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices and an Master in Media and Communication from Nanyang Technological University, and a BBA (Hons) from National University of Singapore.

Cathy Lasam is an artist, educator and advocate. She is the founder of ARTguro Philippines,  an initiative that engages, empowers and inspires teachers towards lasting positive change in the Philippine education system with the arts.

She is also currently a Principal at one of the leading arts & design schools in the Philippines. She serves as both a school leader, and visual arts teacher. A multi-awarded cum laude graduate of the University of the Philippines; Cathy has exhibited her paintings and paper sculptures here and abroad. As a practicing artist, Cathy’s background has proven invaluable in the field of education. Lasam had taught  and mentored students of all ages spanning a teaching career of nearly twenty years.

Aside from her art career, Cathy is a licensed Professional teacher and was President of Artists in Residence, Inc., an art company which provided arts, education and mentoring from corporate to charity, to outreach settings.

Cathy’s paperworks and paintings have been spotlighted in several exhibitions of note, including solo shows at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, NCCA Gallery and One Workshop Gallery. Her current works focus on Filipino culture and identity. and has been featured in various broadcast, print and online publications.

Eunike Nugroho is a botanical artist and tutor based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She is a fellow of the Society of Botanical Artists (SBA) and the founder of the Indonesian Society of Botanical Artists (IDSBA).

She collaborates with various clients around the world to deliver botanical art to a wider audience. Some of her works were published as Canada Post’s 2018 Spring series stamps, book covers by Penguin Random House, Penguin Press, Harlequin, Rowohlt Verlag, articles illustrations by Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Technologist scientific magazine, National Geographic Indonesia, and various promotion materials of Shiseido, Avon USA, Codorníu, etc.

Her works were exhibited in the UK, USA, Australia, Bulgaria, Russia, Malaysia and several cities in Indonesia, including in the Indonesian Contemporary Fine Arts Biennale Exhibition by The National Gallery of Indonesia, 2019; the Southeast Asia Watercolor Exhibition 2020 at The National Art Gallery-Malaysia; The Fourth New York Botanical Garden Triennial Exhibition, 2020-2023; and Biennale Jogja XVI, 2021. Her work can be found in the permanent collection of the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, USA, The Victorian State Botanical Collection, Australia, to the Florilegium for The Royal Edinburgh Botanic Garden in Scotland.

Levina (Lev) Wirawan is an international arts manager and producer, specialising in artistic collaborations, festivals, and capacity building in the arts. Lev’s worked in the arts for 10 years, operating across multiple art forms – connecting ideas, people, and projects from UK, Indonesia and several South East Asian countries, Japan, and the wider Europe. She has more than 5-years’ experience in inclusive arts with a focus on disability arts and is currently expanding her work on arts and environmental sustainability. Her role as Programme Manager (Cultural Engagement/Arts) for British Council included leading and managing more than 30 inclusive arts projects and initiatives, notably the ground-breaking Festival Bebas Batas – Indonesia’s first disability arts festival, involving over 100 artists and welcoming over 20,000 people in 2018. She also develops and manages residency programmes, brokers new partnerships and co-productions between Indonesia and the UK arts sector.  She enjoys yoga, cooking (and eating) plant-based food, and learning about East Asian traditional and popular culture.

Rashmi Dhanwani leads the Art X Company, a strategic consultancy for the cultural sector focused on strategy, audience development and sector research. Prior to founding Art X, Rashmi has worked with NCPA Mumbai, Breakthrough in Delhi, the newspaper Daily News and Analysis (DNA); Kalaghoda Arts Festival, and The Goa Project. She holds a Masters in Cultural and Creative Industries from King’s College London. She has also been a recipient of the ARThink South Asia Fellowship (2011-12), a participant fellow at ‘The Academy—a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute’, a scholarship grantee of the JN Tata Trust and Charles Wallace India Trust, and a 2017 Global Fellow of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA), New York. Rashmi has also founded Arts Culture Resources India, a network and platform for cultural professionals in India and South Asia. In 2021, the Art X Company was awarded a grant by the British Council to design and develop festivalsfromindia.com, a portal showcasing all arts and culture festivals in India and a platform for festival professionals to learn, network and upskill themselves. Rashmi is the cofounder of this portal.

Sakdiyah is Indonesia’s First Muslim Female Stand-up Comic using humor to fight violence against women and extremism, tackle negative stereotypes on women and Islam, and promote dialogue, tolerance, and gender equality. Her works including Comedy Jihad, Born A Woman, etc., The Bravest Coward, and Indonesia is (supposed) to be Home for All. She is the co-founder and lead facilitator of “Our Voice Comedy for Change”, a women and youth initiative to promote social change through comedy. She has trained participants from various communities and organizations from more than 10 provinces in Indonesia and collaborated with various organizations including UN WOMEN and UNFPA for Comedy for Equality workshop. Sakdiyah is one of the laureates of the Vaclav Havel International Prize in 2015, one of the BBC 100 Women in 2018, one of the BBC’s 12 Artists That Change the World in 2019. She has led her career for more than 7 years and has performed at home in Indonesia and abroad including Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Egypt.

Tenma is an Artist, Composer and Curator based out of Chennai, India. He is best known for his contribution to the city’s independent music scene. With an educational background in visual communication from Loyola College (2008) and a Masters Diploma in Music Production from Point Blank, London (2011),  he has been deeply invested in the upliftment and development of artists. He has co-founded two iconic bands that revolutionized the music scene – the Casteless Collective with film director Pa. Ranjith, and the Tamil rock band, Kurangan. Simultaneously, he built two important platforms for indie artists – the Madras Indie Collective, a platform for local artists to present themselves, and Madras Medai, a music festival which celebrates equality through music. As a music composer, Tenma’s tryst with the Tamil Film industry started in 2019, with his first album receiving critical acclaim for the film Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu. Tenma has since composed music for various films and indie projects, his upcoming project is the highly anticipated film “Natchathiram Nagargiradu ” set to be launched in 2022.


The Arts Leaders Program is designed to transform the cultural and creative industry’s knowledge by developing skills and capabilities of established leaders.

The program brings together a group of diverse practitioners to engage with current and relevant themes affecting the future of the industry.

About the Arts Leaders Program

The Arts Leaders Program takes place over 12-months and involves three interconnected residentials that will take place either in-person, hybrid and/or digitally, with online learning moments in between.

As a participant in our programs, you will join a cohort of mid-career and established arts leaders working within organisations, independently or in community.

The Arts Leaders Program is a personal and professional development opportunity – it will enhance your skills and capabilities, develop your networks and provide a platform for growth.

Through facilitated discussion, knowledge exchanges, workshops and on Country learning with First Nations Elders, Arts leaders will collectively explore the current challenges and opportunities presented within our industry. The program will be tailored in response to the needs of the group.

We have developed a residential model that adapts to the changing times and supports a new, hybrid and more equitable way for us to exchange. Our programs are designed to be flexible, while still delivering the experiences and values that are core to our work.

​​​​​We recognise that for most of us, the in-person experience is our default preference, yet for many it is a barrier to participation. In 2022-23 we are planning for our leadership program residentials to take place in-person in regional Australia, however depending on travel and border restrictions, we may need to adapt the residential to an online or hybrid gathering instead.

If you have access requirements, travel concerns or another reason that means your preference is to join the residentials in a hybrid or digital way, we encourage you to reference this in your application so that we can work with you to develop alternative models of participation.

For more informational please refer to the Arts Leaders FAQ.

“The links between interior and exterior worlds were a constant motif. The time spent with Uncle James was so valuable and the fact we had time to listen and learn outside of a lecture theatre or meeting room was priceless.”

2020 Arts Leader participant

Contact

Frances Robinson,
Manager Capacity Building
leadershipprogram@australiacouncil.gov.au
+61 2 9215 9058

The Arts Leaders Program is for mid-career to established arts leaders with over ten years’ experience in the sector. The program is open to arts leaders working within an organisation, independently or in community.

We encourage applications from applicants who are Australian citizens or permanent residents. International applicants must be based in one of the nine eligible countries to apply. If you are unsure of your eligibility, please get in touch.

We are looking for applications from across the cultural and creative industry, both in Australia and selected countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

You can submit your application via our online application system. If you have access requirements, please let us know how we can support you.

Your application should include a short introductory video, five written responses to the questions as well as your CV as support material. Please refer to our FAQ section to determine if your video submission is mandatory.

Video response

  • Introduce yourself and tell us why you do what you do
    We’d like to get to know you! Submit a short video message (up to 3-minutes max) to tell us about yourself. What has been your journey? Why are you passionate about the cultural and creative industry? What are your aspirations for the future? Or anything else you’d like to share.

Written response

  • Why do you want to participate in this program and why now?
    What has led you to apply for this program? What is your motivation for participating? In this question, we want to know how this program connects to your personal and professional development. This is not a job application – we are looking for potential rather than assessing your achievements to date.
  • What does your leadership practice look like?
    Leadership is not just a position, but a practice. In this question, we are interested in understanding your approach and practice of leadership; in your community, in your arts practice, in your organisation and in your daily life.
  • Tell us about a time that you worked collectively with others.
    Our programs bring together leaders from a diversity of artforms, cultural backgrounds and geographical locations. We create safe spaces to encourage open, generous, and collaborative approaches to learning. In this question, share your experience of a relationship or exchange that has been an important leadership moment for you.
  • Tell us about how you advocate for the cultural and creative industries.
    Strengthening the creative industry’s profile and public value is critical for the arts to not only survive, but to thrive in the current context. In this question, we encourage you to reflect on the role you play in enhancing the public value of the cultural and creative industries.
  • Share your reflections on how you have adapted to change over the past eighteen months?
    COVID-19 has undoubtably had a significant impact on the arts and cultural landscape, yet we have also seen the crucial role that creativity plays in developing new ways of adapting practices. As we are likely to continue to face disruptions, we are interested to know how you have responded and adapted to change.

Applications will be reviewed internally and alongside industry advisors. We will assess applications against the following assessment criteria, and in line with Australia Council’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

  • Timeliness and relevance of the program to the applicant’s development.
  • An active and reflective approach to leadership development.
  • Ability to engage with diverse ways of learning and connecting with others.
  • Commitment to advocacy and improving the sustainability and wellbeing of the arts sector.
  • An adaptable and open approach to managing change.

For more details about the application and selection process, please refer to the FAQ section.

Diversity And Access: Leadership Program


The Australia Council is committed to increasing the diversity of leaders in our sector and encourages applications from people who identify as First Nations, from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with disability, and people living in regional and remote areas.

We actively work with individuals to support access needs – including childcare, cultural practices, financial and/or learning access needs as required. We encourage applicants to contact us via phone or email to discuss further. diversity in leadership.

Easy English
We have developed an Easy English Guide for our leadership programs. Easy English combines text and images to convey information simply and directly, supporting people who have difficulty reading and understanding English.
Download the Easy English Guide.



Professor Judith McLean is currently Chair Arts Education (QUT/QPAC) and Scholar-in-Residence (QPAC). She has extensive Board experience and is currently a company Director at Queensland Tourism and Events. In this role, Judith chairs the events business which focuses on sport, lifestyle, arts and cultural policy and practice (2009-). She was also on the board of Asia Pacific Screen Awards (2009-2013); Chair, Southern Cross Soloists (2009-2015); Inaugural Chair of Major Brisbane Festivals Pty Ltd  (2003-2007) and Chair & Board Member of Queensland Theatre Company (1995-2004).

Judith works in the performing arts, events and education areas as an educator, director, executive coach and company director. Over the past 13 years she has led management and executive leadership programs in corporate settings, including the health, defence, financial, media and public sectors.


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Arts Leaders Program FAQs

The Arts Leaders Program is a professional development opportunity, which brings together a mixed cohort of national and international participants to take part in a 12-month program from July 2022-July 2023.

The Arts Leaders Program is for mid-career and established artists and arts workers from across the cultural and creative industries working within an organisation, independently or within community. We recommend that people who apply for the Arts Leaders Program have been in their career for ten or more years. This includes cross-industry experience. The program is for people working across a range of art forms, including community engaged practice, dance, digital arts, film and radio, literature, music, multi arts, theatre and visual arts. If you’re still not sure which program is best suited to you, we encourage you to reach out by email or phone.

A residential is a five-day intensive experience that may take place in-person, online or hybrid, depending on COVID-19 restrictions at the time of the residential. The program is designed and led by our core facilitators and responds to the needs of the group. The residentials are not a professional development conference, rather they provide time and space for the group to connect, collaborate, listen, and hear from key guest speakers. We encourage you to use the residentials as an opportunity to re-focus, invest in your development, feel nourished and plan for the future.

The Arts Leaders have three residentials:

  • Residential 1: 28 July – 1 August 2022
  • Residential 2: 9-13 February 2023
  • Residential 3: 28 July – 6 August 2023

The residentials are compulsorily so please make sure you can attend all three residentials before you apply.

Travel restrictions permitting, our residentials will take place in regional Australia. We choose regional locations primarily to spend time learning in Country with Custodians, to slow down, rest and rejuvenate and to allow for new perspectives and knowledge-sharing in a non-urban environment.

You will be notified of the first residential location shortly after you have been accepted into the program, and the second and third locations will be announced at the end of the first residential.

In 2022-23 we are planning for our leadership program residentials to take place in-person in regional Australia, however depending on travel and border restrictions, we may need to adapt the residential to an online or hybrid gathering instead.

We will provide at least four weeks’ notice ahead of the residential if this occurs. It is highly unlikely that we will postpone any residential dates due to COVID-19 and are confident in our ability to produce high quality, connected residentials in hybrid ways.

That is completely understandable! If you have access requirements, travel concerns or another reason that means your preference is to join the residentials in a hybrid or digital way, we encourage you to reference this in your application so that we can work with you to develop alternative models of participation.

The Australia Council and other partners support participants to undertake the Leadership Program – an investment of approximately $3,000 per participant for each residential.

The fee that we ask you to cover is $300 +GST. This accounts for a small portion of the above investment and helps to ensure the viability of the program into the future. Fee subsidies are available for any participant that requires financial support.

We’ll look after everything else for you, including On Country learning, facilitation and guest speakers, your accommodation, ground transport, program resources and all meals for the duration of the residential.

International participants are supported by Australia Council and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and are not required to pay the fee. Border restrictions permitting, travel to residentials will be supported for all International participants.

Participants are required to pay their own travel expenses or seek support from their organisation (if applicable). Financial assistance is available for Australian participants who require it for access reasons, if you are an independent practitioner or if you are travelling from a remote area, including Western Australia. Travel expenses should not be a barrier to any participant interested in applying and we encourage you to contact us to discuss your travel requirements.

Border restrictions permitting, travel for international participants is supported by the Australia Council and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

No, Australia Council will cover these costs for all participants. We will accommodate you in your own private room with a bathroom for the length of the residential and will cover the cost of your breakfast, lunch and dinner during this time. Additional extras (such as espresso coffee and mini-bar items) are at your own expense. Per diems are not included.

Should travel not be possible, the Australia Council will cover costs to support your successful participation in the program, including tech requirements, accommodation in your own city (COVID-19 restrictions permitting) and daily meal expenses.

The Arts Leaders have two virtual online sessions:

  • 18 November 2022
  • 27 April 2023

These dates may change but we will notify participants in advance if so. The virtual sessions online are two hours in duration and will be conducted using Zoom or Gather Town. Please contact us if you have any access requirements relating to connecting virtually.