International Leadership Program: Indo-Pacific

Traditional Kattaikuttu performances in villages near Chennai, India to destigmatise COVID-19 and spread vaccine awareness. Credit: Sangeeta Isavaran.


The Australia Council for the Arts is pleased to announce the 2022 participants for the International Leadership Program.: Indo-Pacific Click on the expandable headings below to learn more about the participants.

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, 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.

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 International Leadership Program is for arts professionals from eligible Indo-Pacific countries to join the Future Leaders or Arts Leaders Program in Australia.

Apply for a fully funded scholarship in one of our programs to transform your leadership and create impact for your organisation, practice or community.

About the International Leadership Program

In partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the International Leadership Program invites applicants from nine eligible Indo-Pacific countries to apply for the Arts Leaders or Future Leaders programs in Australia.

The International Leadership Program supports you to form new connections and relationships with peers from across our region to explore creative leadership through a different lens.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the International Leadership Program will take place online until international borders re-open and travel is possible. We anticipate that participants may be able to travel by the second or third residentials.

Visit our Arts Leaders and Future Leaders program pages to find out which program is right for you, including key dates and requirements.

Eligible countries

China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea


Extend your learning by developing your leadership with a placement in
Australia after your final residential, or when international travel restrictions permit.

For more informational please refer to the International Leadership FAQ.

“The Leadership Program allowed me to reconstruct my understanding of leadership and it came in especially useful when navigating through times of crisis in the arts sector due to the pandemic. But even more so were the network of art leaders I’ve met through the program. In these unprecedented times, and with no government support for the arts sector, international collaborations and solidarity have been instrumental for our survival.”

International Future Leaders (Indonesia) 2018 cohort


Leadership Program team

The Arts Leaders Program is for mid-career to established arts leaders with over ten years’ experience in the sector. The Future Leaders Program is for emerging arts leaders within the first ten years of their career. Both programs are open to artists and arts workers within organisations, working independently or in community. Please select the program that best suits your career stage.

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 below for more information.

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 responses

  • 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.

  • 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 see our FAQ section

Diversity and access: leadership program

The Australia Council 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. Learn more about 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.

International Leadership Program FAQs

The International Leadership Program is a fully funded scholarship program for arts professionals from eligible Indo-Pacific countries to join either the Arts Leaders or Future Leaders programs. Following the final residential, International Leaders may choose to complete a 4-week secondment with an organisation of their choice in Australia, travel restrictions permitting.

The International Leadership Program invites applicants from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. These countries have been identified as priority regions in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Applicants may decide to apply for either the Arts Leaders Program or Future Leaders Program, depending on their background, experience, and career stage.

All activity for the programs will be in English and participants are required to participate fully in discussions, workshops and presentations. Successful applicants will be required to satisfy ‘Functional English’ proficiency. You can read more here:

Yes, successful applicants will need to apply for a subclass 407 Training Visa. This Visa will be sponsored by the Australia Council once you have been notified that you have been selected for the program. Visa’s must be finalised within an agreed timeframe, before the start of the program, otherwise your participation in the program may be cancelled. Successful applicants will need to satisfy the eligibility of this Visa, found here:

Please do not apply for a Visa until international border restrictions have been lifted. Australia Council will notify you when to apply for your visa.

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.

International applicants may choose to join the Future Leaders Program or Arts Leaders Program residentials. Please see the dates for the residentials on the relevant program page.

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 4-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.

Travel and international border restrictions permitting, we anticipate that international participants may be able to travel to Australia for the second or third residentials, and for the secondment following the conclusion of the program.

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.

Pending international border restrictions, the Australia Council will cover the following costs for participants:

  • return economy class flights from your home city to a relevant Australian or international capital city to attend the residential workshops.
  • accommodation during residential workshops, plus up to 3 nights of accommodation in the nearest Australian capital city prior to or following each residential.
  • meals during each residential workshop.
  • per diem of AUD $80 per day towards meals and expenses for non-residential days.
  • on the ground transport in Australia, including transfers to and from residentials.
  • travel and health insurance for the length of the program.
  • course materials and access to an online learning platform.
  • flights, accommodation and per-diems during your secondment.

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 and per diems for the duration of the residential.

International applicants may choose to join the Future Leaders Program or Arts Leaders Program residentials. Please see the dates for the virtual online sessions on the relevant program page.

International participants are invited to apply for a supported secondment opportunity with an Australian arts organisation of their choice, at the end of their residential program. The secondment is a unique professional development opportunity to explore different aspects of arts leadership and to learn from others in a new working environment. The Australia Council will assist with providing introductions and financial support for up to a four-week period. Secondments may take place digitally or in-person (border and travel restrictions permitting).

You first need to select the program that you wish to apply for: Future Leaders Program or Arts Leaders Program. International applicants are invited to join one of these two programs. After this question, you will be asked if you are an Australian citizen or resident. When you answer ‘no’, it will take you to the eligibility criteria for the International program.

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.

Arts Leaders lead facilitator: Professor Judith McLean

Professor Judith McLean is currently 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.