Future Leaders Program

For emerging arts leaders

2020 Future Leaders participant, Luke Campbell at the Labyrinth in Tasmania, hybrid residential one. Credit: Simon Spain.

Announcement

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

AJ Lamarque is a Queer, Mixed Raced Comedian with heritage from the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Asia. When not performing/being an independent producer, he is the Associate Producer, Marketing for Griffin Theatre Company. In the recent past he has participated in writers’ rooms for digital and TV productions, performed at prestigious venues across Australia and is developing his own show ‘English Breakfast’ which will premiere later this year.

His independent work is based around fostering welcoming and inclusive spaces within comedy for all types of audiences and performers. His show Kweens of Comedy is one of Sydney’s and Oxford Street’s biggest comedy nights through which he also runs the Newcomers Program — a free initiative to help mentor and support diverse new voices in the comedy industry.

AJ has previously been on the Membership Committee for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and has talked on diversity and inclusivity for Sydney Fringe Festival. In 2018, he was given the Sydney Opera House’s Future Leader Award for his work on their Reconciliation Action Committee. In 2019 he was a finalist for the Honour Award’s Young Achiever category and, in 2020, he was one of Out for Australia’s 30 under 30.

Andi Snelling is a multi-award-winning performer, writer and director. She makes boundary-pushing theatre that explores the human condition through the personal as universal with raw honesty and playful physicality.

Andi holds a BA (French & German)/Dip. Creative Arts (Theatre Studies), University of Melbourne, completed on a scholarship program at Freie Universität, Berlin, where she lived for many years before moving to London to study an MA Performance (Acting) at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

Her career highlights include: Edith in Picnic at Hanging Rock (BBC), Brinda in Neighbours (Fremantle Media), Ensemble in Crazy for You (London Palladium), Inflight Voice for Qatar Airways and her three critically-acclaimed solo theatre shows, #DearDiary, Déjà Vu and Happy-Go-Wrong, with the latter receiving five awards and being named a “highlight of the year” (The Age).

After having her world turned upside down by chronic illness, Andi has become a champion of thriving in impossibility. She is passionate about the intersection of art and health and is an ambassador for the Lyme Disease Association of Australia, on the board of No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability, and runs her own creative mentoring business, Kick Up The Arts.

Andrew is an accomplished Producer whose career has covered Festival, Art Centre and Local Government roles. Originally from Western Australia, Andrew has worked with leading arts organisations such as Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth Festival, and Big hART, programming and producing iconic events, cherished by the community.

Andrew’s professional practice explores how creative processes can be used as a tool for community development, working with intergenerational and intercultural cohorts of emerging and established artists, to create truly collaborative performance and exhibition pieces.

Currently living and working in nipaluna (Hobart) lutruwita (Tasmania), Andrew is discovering a new community and divides his time between working at the Moonah Arts Centre and freelance Producing opportunities.

Celia is a proud Adnyamathanha woman, a producer and an artist. In her role at Adelaide Festival Centre, she works on First Nations programming for DreamBIG Children’s Festival and the Centre’s year-round program. Celia is the creative producer for new literary and storytelling events OUR WORDS and OUR STORIES celebrating the importance of First Nations narratives alongside the annual OUR MOB: Art by South Australian Aboriginal Artists exhibition. Celia’s personal artistic practice focuses on illustration and development of Adnyamathanha language resources to reinvigorate the language in her community.

DAVID RALPH is an arts management graduate (WAAPA) working across community arts and cultural development and performing arts sectors. He is passionate about the artistic, social and economic factors that influence and shape the cultural melting pot we all live and work in. David has programmed large civic cultural programs (26.01.08, Federation Square), national tour manager (Sumardi, Aryantha & IndoBboy Fusion 2007/08) and worked as program manager for the Anti-Racism Action Band (2010/11).  David is a co-founding member Outer Urban Projects a company creating new forms of contemporary performance imagined from the life experiences of young emerging artists from Melbourne’s outer north (since 2012).  Works have included: Urban Chamber – Beyond (2013, Melbourne Festival), Poetic License (2014, 2015 & 2017 Melbourne Writers Festival), Grand DiVisions – A Moved Urban Cantata (2015, Melbourne Festival), Vessel (2017, Melbourne Fringe), 125BPM (2019, Melbourne Recital Centre and The Audition (2019, La Mama).

Donna is a Wakka Wakka woman of the Bujiebara clan of South East Queensland and also first generation Australian. She has a Bachelor of Music Performance from UTAS and has been working in the music industry for a number of years, including with: – APRA AMCOS’ National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music Office (NATSIMO) – MusicNT – First Nations Media Australia’s indigiTUBE Project (current). Donna lives and works on the unceded lands of the Arrernte peoples of Mparntwe/Alice Springs and is soon to release singles from her music project VELIA produced by Dave Crowe.

Eugenie Lee is a Wangal Land-based interdisciplinary artist with a conceptual focus on persistent pain. Experimentation and collaboration with pain researchers, who investigate ways in which technologies can assist in pain science, are an important foundation for her art practice which includes participatory interactive performance, installations, and paintings.
Eugenie’s practice integrates Crip Theory and explores innovative ways to draw out deeper understanding and reflections about the fundamental experience of a social being in the context of pain.
Notable curatorial exhibitions include Psyche at Science Gallery Bengaluru (2022), the Big Anxiety Festival at UNSW (2019), MOD.IFY: It’s not what you know at Museum Of Discovery (MOD.) (2018), and The Patient: The Medical Subject in Contemporary Art (2016-18). Eugenie is a recipient of Sync Leadership Access Arts (2021), Career Development Grants Australia Council of the Arts (2020), Create NSW’s 360 Vision: Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Development Initiative (2019), Synapse residency at Australian Network for Art and Technology ANAT (2015), and Amplify Your Arts Accessible Arts (2014). She is an active pain advocate and a member of the prestigious Global Alliance of Partners for Pain Advocacy Task Force (GAPPA) for the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). Eugenie graduated with Honours from Sydney College of the Arts in 2012.

Fiona Dorrell is the Executive Director of the NT Writers’ Centre. In 2020 she was the Artistic Director for the NT Writers Festival and steered the event through a major pandemic related postponement to deliver a heartwarming four day program in collaboration with 100+ artists. She is driven by the belief that writing and storytelling ​illuminates our values, and allows us to experience the interconnectedness between people and place. For her own writing, she is a a previous recipient of an Arts NT Varuna Fellowship and alumni to the ACTWC’s Hardcopy program.

Harley Mann, is a Wakka Wakka man from Queensland, he grew up on Gadigal country in NSW. Drawing on his own Aboriginal heritage as inspiration Harley founded Na Djinang Circus in 2017. Harley has since worked with some of Australia’s leading contemporary circus companies including, Circa, Circus Oz and Casus.

Under Harley’s guidance, Na Djinangs highly successful work Common Dissonance was nominated for a greenroom award for best circus. In 2021 Na Djinang premiered a sold-out season of Arterial as a part of the Yirramboi Festival.

Harley was also honoured with the 2018 Melbourne Fringe Award for Best Emerging Circus Artist. He was also chosen as the youth representative for the 2018 circus talk as a part of the Sydney Festival. And he is a current member of the CaPT Advisory board for circus and physical theatre. and was recently a recipient of the Circus Oz Fellow ship program 2021.

Harley is ensuring that he upskills while he tours, creates, and develops what he hopes is a significant contribution to Australia’s circus industry.

Ian Sinclair is an antidisciplinary artist, playwright and Live Art curator spanning immersive and participatory installation, cross-artform collaborations, contemporary Theatre and socially engaged world-building approaches. His projects consider queerness, kinship, the ecological uncanny and the ethical quandaries of cultural spectacle.

Sinclair’s experimental partnership Pony Express, with artist Loren Kronemyer, lampoons soft and hard power structures to create palliative, alternate ‘realities’ that consider deep adaptation, burgeoning social movements, nonhuman politics and our trans-apocalyptic age.

Sinclair has exhibited and toured, nationally and internationally, from contemporary art institutions to non-traditional venues. Collaborating with communities at the forefront of queer, activist, and environmental futures. Sinclair has a BA (Contemporary Performance) from Edith Cowan University and was a seasonal lecturer at the Iceland University of the Arts.

In 2021, he premiered plays Whale Fall (Perth Festival x PICA); Nocturna (The Kabuki Drop); exhibited Abolish The Olympics (Contemporary Art Tasmania); curated Crisis Actor and Hyperlocal (PACT). In 2022, will premiere large-scale artwork Epoch Wars (Performing Lines x New Annual Festival); play Horses (Kunst Productions x Belvoir25A), and develop new Live Artworks: To A God Unknown and The Queer Woodchop.

For the past twelve years, Joe Alexander has developed and run a range of initiatives in the music industry, from advocating for representation of musicians from migrant backgrounds, to profiling musicians and arts workers working in regional and remote areas and bringing contemporary musicians together in collaboration and community building. In 2009, Joe founded Bedroom Suck Records, an independent label which now has over eighty releases in distribution throughout Australia, New Zealand, Japan, North America, the UK and Europe. He later formed the Great Southern Land Touring Co., an initiative aimed at connecting with musicians in remote and regional Australia. Ten years later, 2019 saw the launch of Music in Exile, an exciting new not-for-profit record label and artist services company working with Australian musicians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The Music in Exile team has grown to six staff, managing the growth and development of a roster of exciting artists and working to build an organisation that is artist-driven and community minded. For Joe, meeting individuals and hearing their stories is the greatest joy the music industry can bring, and he hopes to share this experience with audiences everywhere.

Katina is a Wakka Wakka Kombumerri choreographer / performer and also has Norwegian, German and English Ancestry. She has worked throughout Australia, Canada, UK, USA and Europe with Atamira, Sydney Dance Company, Stalker Theatre, Expressions (now Australasian Dance Collective), Bangarra, Force Majeure, Erth, GUTS, Meryl Tankard, Martin del Amo, Victoria Hunt, Narelle Benjamin, Vicki Van Hout, Liesel Zink and Wesley Enoch.

Katina’s choreographic highlights include Mother’s Cry for Sydney Dance Company’s New Breed 2018, movement direction for the play Sunshine Super Girl (Sydney Festival 2021), the ABC series Cleverman 2 and the Malthouse production Walking into the Bigness.

Katina presented her Independent solo work namu nunar at Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance, Yonder Festival, Horizon Festival, Festival 2018 and Happy Hour as part of March Dance 2019. Katina is also founding member of Dance Makers Collective and collaborated and performed with them on their Australian Dance Award nominated DADS, Instar as part of Big Dance in Small Chunks (Parramatta Riverside), their 2020 sold out Sydney Festival show The Rivoli and most recently choreographing solo work beneath performed by Emily Flannery as part of In Situ with DMC’s Future Makers at Sydney Festival 2021.

Kuichiang “Kush” Kuiy is a 2nd generation Australian of South-Sudanese heritage. Kush is an independent producer/artist/writer/curator and avid bird watcher. Her artistic practice reflects her third-culture experience; cultural heritage; and the natural world. Kush’s producing practice is based in the outer South-East suburbs. She is passionate abut making arts and culture accessible to her community and works on various projects with local artists to build the creative scene in the suburbs. Kush is a 2020 recipient of Creative Victoria and Theatre Networks Australia’s, Victorian Independent Producers Initiative and the 2021 Lindsay King Arts Award recipient. She is the co-founder and producer of the Rise of South Sudan Music and Arts Festival; the networking platform Blaxcellence; & is a founding member of the Way Over There Collective. Kush is the Art Director for the GRID Series’ inaugural Sun, Earth, Moon Festival in Cranbourne. Kush has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Relations from Deakin University.

Leah Jing McIntosh is a critic, researcher, and the founding editor of LIMINAL, an anti-racist literary platform that seeks to support and elevate racialised artists and writers, with a focus on Asian Australian experience. Alongside editing LIMINAL, and the critically-acclaimed fiction anthology Collisions (Pantera Press, 2020), Leah has established national literary prizes for writers of colour, produced literary events, and partnered with major arts organisations, to advocate for a more equitable arts sector.

She has a Masters in English Literature from University College London, and is currently completing her PhD in Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. Her research is concerned with the possibilities of diasporic self-representation, and the fracturing of literary form. Leah’s work is underpinned by an anti-racist, anti-colonial praxis, which means she sometimes gets into trouble. Trouble aside, she has been selected as a Victorian nominee for Young Australian of the Year, listed on Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30—Class of 2020 and Asialink’s inaugural 40 under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians. In 2021, she was named one of the three inaugural Asia Society Melbourne Game Changers.

Lewis Major is an award-winning choreographer, director and creative entrepreneur and a former sheep shearer turned contemporary dance theatre maker. He might be the only dance artist in Australia who can reverse parallel park a tractor and travelled to all three axis-of-evil countries. He honed his skills in dancemaking over a decade spent working with seminal contemporary dance makers Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant, Hans van den Broeck (Cie Soit/Les Ballets C de la B), Damien Jalet, Hofesh Shechter and Aakash Odedra amongst others. Unabashedly audience driven, the ethos that drives his work is local focus, global outlook. His company Lewis Major Projects presents surprisingly real dance works in multiple mediums to diverse audiences across the world, having created 17 different works both independently and on commission and having presented them on 6 continents to widespread critical and commercial success. His work has been presented at amongst others Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Festival Centre, Sadler’s Wells, The Royal Opera House and The Place (UK); Festival de Mayo (Mexico); La Comete, Centre des Arts Enghien Les Bains, La Maison de la Musique de Nanterre, Maison des Arts de Creteil (France); Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg), PUSH Push Festival (Canada); Impulstanz Festival, Ars Electronica Festival (Austria); TED Global (Brazil) and TEDx London; Esplanade Theatres (Singapore); and the Baryshnikov Art Centre (NYC).

Mariam Arcilla is an artsworker and storyteller based on Gadigal / Sydney. Her practice metabolises through writing, producing, arts communications, gallery managing, and editing. Born to a Filipino artist and Singaporean air stewardess, Mariam spent her childhood zig-zagged between studios, museums, and make-shift homes in the Philippines, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Immigrating to Australia in 1996, Mariam started her arts career on Yugambeh and Kombumerri Lands / Gold Coast, where she co-founded and managed creative-led initiatives. Since 2006, Mariam has worked with artists and organisations to turn radiant ideas into exhibitions, publications, dialogues, and resources. Currently, she is the Communications & Engagement Manager at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Deputy Chair at Runway Journal. Mariam has held senior and consultant roles at museums, commercial galleries, tech companies, cultural policy boards, and public sector departments in Queensland and New South Wales. She has dreamed up campaigns and programs with leading bodies, including Arts Queensland, City of Gold Coast, Museum of Brisbane, Institute of Modern Art, THE WALLS, State Library of Queensland, and HOTA. Her writing is published in VAULT, Running Dog, Art Collector, and Art Guide. Mariam holds a BA Hons (First Class) and BCA in Contemporary Art & Writing from Griffith University.

Nadya holds master’s degrees in art history from the St Petersburg State University, Russia, and from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands; she currently lives and works in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia.

Before assuming her current role of Installation Project Manager at the National Gallery of Victoria, Nadya has worked at the Biennale of Sydney (21st edition “Superposition: Equilibrium and Engagement”), the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, and Smart Project Space in Amsterdam. During her time at the State Hermitage Nadya also contributed to the production of the 10th edition of the European Nomadic Biennial of Contemporary Art MANIFESTA.
With experience in curatorial, management and operations, Nadya is particularly interested in the behind-the-scenes life of art institutions and the continuing evolution of governance and organizational structures and practices that support and bring about artistic vision.

Ripley Kavara is an artist, producer and youth worker born in Papua New Guinea, based in Naarm. Their multidisciplinary experience spans 6+ years, encompassing being a musician, producer, DJ, event organizer and community/youth work as a mentor and project lead.

Kavara’s brain child Kandere was the catalyst that launched them into the heights of the music scene. Performing at Dark Mofo alongside artists including Kojey Radical, GAIKA, Kaiit, Drmingnow, Kandere was applauded by music critics, receiving rave reviews from Noisey, Purple Sneakers, Acclaim and Swampland magazines. Kandere’s debut single ‘BBGOY’ solidified Kavara as an innovator, their music described as “evoking strong visions.”

Kavara is the founder of FAMILI. Birthed in 2019, FAMILI is a music-focused Pasifika and Blak collective of queer and transgender people. As Creative Director, lead artist and producer, they hold the role of working collaboratively with other artists to bring life to their visions, with a particular focus on elevating, emerging artists,  under-represented voices and stories through the music and arts industries. The critical acclaim of the collective’s inaugural performance led to developing Kavara’s new work ‘We Take Back Our Mother Tongues’, debuting in 2022.

Kavara’s vision; home, diaspora, futures, disruption, belonging, Spiritual homecoming – with no limitations.

Sarah is a writer based on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. Alongside writing, she holds a role within an acclaimed social enterprise in the education sector.

As the mixed-race child of a Ghanaian father and an Anglo-Australian mother, much of Sarah’s writing is themed around relationship to identity, culture, ancestry, intersectionality and connection through the diasporic experience. Sarah has written and performed with the Floating Key collective produced by China Aleisse at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, she has contributed to the ‘Where Are You From?’ project curated by Sabina McKenna exhibited at Blak Dot Gallery, and has been published in FOLK Magazine.

In 2020, Sarah’s piece ‘Magnolia’s Nurture’ won the Writers Victoria Woman of Colour Commission, and was published in ‘The Victorian Writer’. She was then featured on the Queerstories in Lockdown podcast, an award-winning podcast and storytelling project curated by Maeve Marsden, and was also commissioned by Lucille Cutting to pen the essay “Love & Death ” for The Pin.

In her position as Head of School Engagement within a highly esteemed, innovative and youth-driven social enterprise, Sarah plays a key role in supporting positive outcomes for students nationally, empowering them to be their most authentic selves.

Vishnu Arunasalam is a Sri Lankan-born Australian-raised multifaceted art-maker exploring the traditional  dance medium of Bharathanatyam through contemporary expression and techniques. His work explores his  South Asian diaspora identity within the contemporary Australian landscape through cross-disciplinary and  intercultural collaborations whilst also promoting the nuances and aesthetics of the Bharatanatyam form in  Australia.

He is a current practitioner of Bharathanatyam, Carnatic Music (South Indian Classical Music) and  Nattuvangam (South Indian Vocal Percussion) and has experience in Art Direction, Costume Design,  Production and Administration.
Currently, he is the Artistic Director of Agal Dance Company, established in August 2018 and is primarily  based in Sydney. They are a cutting-edge dance group, exploring the style of Bharathanatyam (South Indian  Classical Dance) through contemporary and modern world techniques. It is the first of its kind in Australia as  they use a South Asian vocabulary to critically think about the world and the issues they face as Australians  of a South Asian background.

Adriana Nordin Manan juggles eight professional roles: writer, translator, playwright, researcher, curator, dramaturg, educator and entrepreneur. After training in the social sciences and switching careers from policy research, she considers the arts a potent platform to “be in a room with difficult topics, while surrounded by gentleness and care.”

The desire to understand how people co-exist—especially the missteps and tensions—drives Adriana’s artmaking, which owes much to her being from Malaysia where the existence of intergroup conflict is always assumed, to confront these assumptions feels like catharsis and artistic duty. The layers and dimensions to colonialism, diversity, urban chaos and neoliberalism-instigated upheavals keep her alert and constantly seeking to create.

In 2019, Adriana’s translation of “Pengap” by Lokman Hakim was the first ever Malay submission shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. In 2021, the script of her first full-length play was a semi-finalist in the International Scratchpad Series by The Playwrights Realm, New York City. She is currently setting up a company that offers services in writing and translation, with an affiliated ideas lab and incubation space in storytelling and cultural exchange through language.

Adriana speaks Malay, English and Spanish, and is making glacial progress in learning Chinese.

“My name is Andrew Asaph Kuliniasi. I hold a lot of jobs in the creative field. I am a playwright, screenwriter, director, producer, actor, creative director, creative consultant, choreographer and songwriter in a country that has a super small creative arts industry. The best way to describe me is a swan in a pond full of crocodiles. I am a gay man, in a country where the issues I talk about in my art can get me killed. I am 21 years old, turning 22 and I am ready to lead the industry I believe I was born to build in my country. ”

Andrew Kuliniasi

Xuân Hạ is a visual and multimedia artist who currently lives and works in Danang, and whose practice focuses on the socio-cultural changes in her home region of Central Vietnam. In 2015, she co-founded “Chaosdowntown Cháo” – an art collective based in Saigon, and in 2019, she founded the “a sông club” – an art club exploring the identity of Da Nang-Quang Nam, including its land and its people.
Her body of works stems from the oppositions between herself and the dizzying changes that occur in her surrounding environment. Through various experimentations with materials and space, the artist uses the fragments of everyday life and a wide range of artistic media (painting, animation, video, sculpture and installation) to present unrealistic scenarios that then gradually shape their own narratives.

Mac Andre Arboleda is the Project Lead of the Artists for Digital Rights Network and the Founding President of the UP Internet Freedom Network. Between 2015 and 2019, he organized Zine Orgy, a biannual expo in Los Baños, Laguna created for artists and independent publishers. Between 2018 and 2020, he organized Munzinelupa, an annual arts festival in Muntinlupa City that hosted zine expos, film screenings, musical performances, and educational discussions. He is a member of Magpies Press, an artist collective and small press, where he served as Creative Director of The Basement, a platform for critical conversations on culture. Arboleda has completed residencies and fellowships hosted by the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Asia-Europe Foundation, GlobalGRACE, Load Na Dito, Salzburg Global Seminar, and the EU’s Cultural Relations Platform, among others. His works have been exhibited in Nomina Nuda, Sining Makiling Gallery, MONO8 Gallery, and the Art Museum of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. He is a practicing artist, curator, and writer, and currently lives in San Pedro City, Laguna.

Olisana Mariner (she/her) is a Samoan Artist, Social Entrepreneur and Mental Health Advocate. Her life mission is to create solutions that make the democratisation of information and amplification of marginalised voices more effective. As a person living with EUPD and a caretaker to loved ones with ASD, ADD/ADHD, BP and CPTSD – Olisana aspires to create more equitable and inclusive environments for neurodiverse individuals in Pacific communities.

Born and raised in Samoa and hailing from the villages of Tulaele, Lalomanu, Sinamoga, Afega, Lano and Salelologa – with ancestors from the island of Niue and Kingdom of Tonga – Olisana is proud to be a Pacific Island woman.

In 2019, Olisana started her first business, THE HUB Pacific a hybrid events management company. Taking her lessons learned from incubation programs and international pitchfests she co-founded social enterprise, Onelook Studio, with her sister in 2021. Olisana serves as a minor shareholder of OSM Investments Limited; Founding Curator of the Apia Hub, Global Shapers Community (by the World Economic Forum); and Apia Hub Coordinator for the Pacific Connect program (run by ICDP and funded by the Government of Australia).

Using her skills in communication, international relations, and strategic thinking, Olisana brings the energy and vision to manage projects, lead teams and raise funds to meet community needs. As a Pacific Islander, she builds a strong sense of purpose and belonging into any team utilising empathy and social responsibility. Born and raised on a small island, Olisana also brings Samoan values such as resilience, adaptability and inclusion through talanoa to create customer-centric and/or community-led solutions.

When she’s not in a cafe sipping espressos, you can find her playing tabletop games with friends, potting plants, puzzling, and thrifting.

A post graduate from London International School of Performing Arts, Titas Dutta has been a practicing theatre maker and performer for more than a decade, working for National School of Drama Repertory Company, The Company Theatre, Shapeshift Collective and many more national and international theatre companies. She/they is a non-binary female theatre maker and arts manager based out of Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Titas is trained in devising theatre techniques and mask derived acting practices proposed by the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq. She/ they has been performing extensively across Europe, Australia and  Asia for most of her performing career so far. With her/their interest in art business and entrepreneurship, as an arts manager Titas has worked as the creative programmer for TCT Workspace, Kamshet and as the Programmer of Performing Arts for Kolkata Centre for Creativity, Kolkata. She/They was instrumental to conceive, manage and tour the international touring devising theatre festival “Whilst Walking Touring Festival 2019” in India. She/they is one of the founder members of  the women and queer theatre collective ‘Birati Samuho Performer’s Collective’ (Samuho) that is founded in April 2019 in Kolkata, where her/their research on performativity of gender marginalised bodies in public/ performance space has been manifesting into live creations. She/they advocates for inclusive content and practice, accessibility of theatre for all, safe space for actors/ performers and self-sustenance of creative organisations in her/their creative practice. Parent of a seven month old baby, Titas has a knack for rock climbing, cooking and music.

Varsha is Co-Founder and Director of One All, a non profit that provides value education to youth through the self-refereed and mixed-gender sport of Ultimate Frisbee. One All works with schools and under-served communities in India. Varsha completed her Masters in Photojournalism from Boston University in 2010 and worked as a storyteller across sectors. She is merging her passion for storytelling into her work as a sport facilitator to showcase stories of strength to the world. She believes that the power of this sport can bring people together and help build a better future – and to achieve that, all we need to do is show the world what is possible. She currently lives in the Nilgiri Hills, working with the indigenous tribes of the region.


The Future Leaders Program is designed to transform the cultural and creative industry’s knowledge by developing skills and capabilities of our emerging 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 Future Leaders Program

The Future 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. Due to the current uncertainty around travel and border restrictions, residential plans are subject to change.

As a participant in our programs, you will join a cohort of creative arts leaders working within organisations, independently or in community. The Future 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, Future leaders will explore new models of leadership and current themes our industry faces today and into the future. 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 Future Leaders FAQ.

“The biggest impact for me has been recognising the ways in which I am already a leader in my community and in my arts practice. This has been very affirming.”

2020 Future Leader participant

Contact

Leadership Program team
leadershipprogram@australiacouncil.gov.au

The Future Leaders Program is for emerging arts leaders within the first ten years of their career. 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
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Future Leaders Program FAQs

The Future 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 May 2022-May 2023.

The Future Leaders Program is for emerging 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 Future Leaders Program are in the first ten years of their career. 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 Future Leaders have three residentials:

  • Residential 1: 19-23 May 2022
  • Residential 2: 17-21 November 2022
  • Residential 3: 25-29 May 2023

The residentials are compulsory 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 of the 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 Future Leaders have two virtual online sessions:

  • 18 August 2022
  • 10 February 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.

Future Leaders lead facilitator: Dr Ananth Gopal, Polykala 

Ananth holds a PhD in Human Geography specialising in socio-ecological adaptation. He has taught at the Universities of Wollongong and Melbourne and is an active researcher. Ananth has worked as an actor in Australia, New Zealand and the UK for the last 15 years and is an associate artist at Melbourne Playback Theatre Company. Ananth was trained by Marty Linksy and Ron Heifetz at Harvard Kennedy School in the Adaptive Leadership approach. He holds a Cert IV in adult education (TAE), BA (Hons) and a Diploma in Spanish language.

Future Leaders lead facilitator: Tom Henderson, Polykala 

Tom has a background in journalism and politics. He has trained at the Harvard Kennedy School with Marty Linksy and Ron Heifetz and holds an Advanced Diploma of Facilitation from the Groupwork Institute. His work with Polykala has included supporting the renegotiation of the Regional Forestry Agreements; delivering adaptive leadership training to LGAs in Victoria and the Northern Territory and a range of Universities and NFPs. He holds at Cert IV in adult education (TAE), a BA (Uni Melb) and is pursuing graduate study in Psychology.