Speakers

Sunita Bala

Sunita Bala is a visual artist and creative producer who specialises in inclusive practices that inspire community to use the arts to engage in innovation, critical thinking and advocacy.  She is the President of Lismore based, post disability arts company Realartworks, the Deputy Chair of Creative Lismore and represents Realartworks.Inc on the Lismore Creative Steering Committee.

Sunita is the founder of The Creative Women’s Circle FNC and co founder of ARCH, a creative response for communities and essential services responding and recovering from natural disaster.  Most recently, Sunita spearheaded a project with the University of Rural Health to work with indigenous communities to create models for Social Engagement, uniting the Creative Industries with Health.

Sunita’s work reflects her commitment towards cultural leadership and the role that the creative industries play in creating growth and innovation.  “I’ve been lucky to work with artists and arts workers collaborating together because of our concern for social change.  Where some people may see only uncertainty and deficiency, artists committed to social change see assets, opportunity, possibility, and potential for transformation!”

Lorina Barker

Lorina Barker is a Wangkumara and Muruwari woman from northwest NSW (Bourke, Brewarrina and Weilmoringle) who has over 10 years experience as an oral historian, filmmaker and storyteller.  She wrote and directed three short documentary films and has managed a team of artists on community projects.  Lorina successfully uses multimedia as part of her community art-based projects to transfer cultural knowledge, stories and experiences onto the next generations in mediums that they use and are familiar with such as film, short stories, the spoken word and immersive theatre.  Lorina’s main interest is in the process of remodelling research methods so that they are culturally appropriate and accessible to family/community, who are the core audience for her academic research and creative arts project, most recently ‘Trucked Off’, ‘Looking Through Windows’ and her ARC new project ‘Songlines of Country’.

Sally Blackwood

Sally Blackwood is an exceptional director and performing arts leader based in Quirindi, Kamilaroi country, on the Liverpool Plains, producing major new performance work locally and internationally.  Recently relocated to North West NSW, Sally is a passionate advocate for connecting individuals and enriching communities through engagement in arts and culture.

Sally believes that the creative industries play a vital role in the evolution and sustainability of the greater cultural ecology of regional and urban Australia. As a director on the Board of Arts North West, Sally advocates that the role of arts and culture is to tell our contemporary stories, facilitate discussion about current social and political issues, provide a platform for social cohesion and wellbeing, community enrichment, cultural change and economic sustainability.

Sally is a directing graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) University of New South Wales, and is a current Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, for which she received the George Henderson Scholarship of Merit (2017). Sally’s current doctoral research examines the curation of opera in contemporary culture and its role in the formation of personal and national identity. This exploration examines relationship to place, storytelling, music and performance, and the cultural integration of opera into the counter-urban landscape.

Career highlights include: Project Faust Louisville Ballet & Kentucky Opera USA (2016-2018); Director in Residence Orfeo Sasha Waltz & Guests Berlin (2014); Performing Arts Producer Sydney Opera House (2002-2007); Resident Director C!RCA Contemporary Circus (2012); Associate Artistic Director Patch Theatre Company (2014); Artistic Director Emerge Festival Australian Institute of Music (2014-15); Producer Community Artist Relations Sydney Festival (2015-16); Australia Council Arts Leadership (2017-18).

Michael Burge

Michael Burge

DEEPWATER

Michael Burge is a journalist, artist, author, designer, digital publisher and mentor who lives at Deepwater in the New England region of NSW. His non-fiction debut Questionable Deeds: Making a stand for equal love lifted the lid on familial, institutional and government homophobia in Australia, and was selected for the Brisbane Writer’s Festival.

His hard-hitting reports for Fairfax Media, Intermedia, United News & Media UK, NoFibs, Gay Star News and News Corporation include articles on equality, LGBTIQ history, popular culture, politics and pathways for independent artists and writers.

Michael’s work explores hypocrisy, disenfranchisement, grief and creative endurance. He mentors emerging writers, journalists and artists and co-produces the High Country Writers Festival (Nov 30 and Dec 1, 2019) at the artisan hub known as The Makers Shed, Glen Innes, which stocks quality indie books from across the world.

Tracey Callinan

Tracey Callinan is the Executive Director at Arts OutWest, the regional arts development organisation covering 11 LGAs in the NSW Central West region, based in Bathurst. The Arts OutWest arts and health program started in 2008 when Christine McMillan joined Arts OutWest, with Tracey taking up her position in 2009.  Together they have built a program that has spanned many artforms, worked in various locations across the Arts OutWest region, and is recognised for its excellence in regional practice.  In addition to working at Arts OutWest, Christine is a respected visual artist and a director of Cementa Festival and Tracey is a musician and researcher.

Adrian Collette

Adrian is the recently appointed CEO of the Australian Council for the Arts. Mr Collette held the position of Chief Executive of Opera Australia, Australia’s largest performing arts company, for 16 years. He also worked in book publishing for a decade, including as Managing Director, Reed Books, a Division of Reed Elsevier. His previous role of Vice-Principal (Engagement) at the University of Melbourne included the oversight of the University’s museums and galleries and its many arts sector partnerships. He has served on the Australia Council Board since 1 July 2013.

Adrian was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2008 for his services to the performing arts, particularly through executive roles with Opera Australia, as a mentor to young artists, to publishing, and to the community.

Julie Collins

Julie Collins is an academic, a theatre practitioner and Community Artist , with many years of experience of working with community to create and present performance.

In 2012, Julie worked for Community Arts organisation Beyond Empathy on Performance projects with Armidale’s Aboriginal community: ‘Silver City Songlines’ (2012) and ‘Rainbow Ridge’ (2013).  In 2016, Julie was a co-creator and co-director of the ‘Ecodrama Vaudeville sideshow’ performed on Ecoscenographer Tanja Beer’s Living Stage as part of the ‘Ephemera’ project at the ‘Black Gully Music Festival’ in Armidale.  In March 2017, Julie created a performance piece ‘I wish I had told you’, in the NERAM art gallery space as part of the ‘Private Posts’ exhibition.

Julie has worked with Lorina Barker as a co-writer, director and actor on ‘Trucked Off’ at the opening of Lorina’s exhibition ‘Looking through the windows’ in Armidale, November 2017, Brewarrina, April 2018, and at Gallery 107, Redfern, November 2018.

Susan Conroy

Susan Conroy

GOULBURN

Susan Conroy is a highly experienced cultural planner with experience in cultural facility planning and development.  Susan has worked in local government, ACT Government and as a sole trader for 24 years before taking up the position of Executive Director at Southern Tablelands Arts.  Susan has specialist skills in cultural research, arts and cultural policy, arts and cultural project development, evaluation, consultation and engagement, cultural and community facility planning, precinct planning and development and place making.

Susan Conroy has been working professionally in cultural and community planning for over 29 years and is a graduate of Griffith University.  She has a sustained and successful history of achieving the integration of cultural and community planning and policy into strategic and urban planning for NSW local government and Territory clients as well as businesses in the development sector in the ACT.

Susan has extensive experience in applying cultural planning and community cultural development processes to the development and management of public, community and cultural resources and infrastructure.  She also has specialist expertise in working with urban designers and planners in public place, place making and master planning projects since the early 1990s.  Susan has contributed to award-winning projects in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

cathie craigie

Cathy Craigie

NORTHERN NSW

Cathy Craigie is a Gamilaroi and Anaiwon woman from northern NSW and has worked in media and the arts for over 20 years. Cathy’s experience ranges across disciplines and she has worked in health, housing, environmental, legal, media and the arts. She is particularly interested in First Nations’ stories and their relevance today, and is currently developing a play transforming the Gamilaroi traditional story of the seven sisters constellation.

Prue Cullen artist

Prue Cullen

COONAMBLE

Prue Cullen returned to her family property after living away for the most part of her adult life. It has been a transition from floristry to cows, urban to remote and isolated.

The influence of her past running a successful floristry business in New York is evident in the design work that adorns her hand built and thrown pieces, with much of her work having strong floral motifs. Prue also expresses herself in elaborate sculptural pieces, often themed around important elements of her environment, living in the country, experiencing climate change and the severe devastation of drought ravaged landscape.

Prue is a member of the Coonamble Ceramics Collective which is a very active and dynamic group, who run and operate a full time community ceramic studio. Since discovering ceramics in 2013 her creative practice has been a welcome respite from the difficulties of living in drought and climate change.

Este-Darin-Cooper-web-BW-305x305

Este Darin- Cooper is State Manager NSW/ACT at Creative Partnerships Australia where she works with artist, arts organisations and funders to grow investment in the cultural sector. With a diverse career across the public, private, not-for-profit and artistic sectors, Este is passionate about building effective and resilient organisations, and ensuring that all Australians and communities have the opportunity to thrive.

After studying Law/Engineering at the University of Melbourne, she practiced at top-tier commercial law firms, before joining the Federal Government in a role advising Government, businesses, not-for-profits and start-ups on emerging technologies and data policy. More recently, Este worked at Social Ventures Australia where she partnered directly with funders and early-stage community-led organisations to resource, prove and grow more effective models for addressing disadvantage. As part of this, she led the team’s design and delivery of coaching and mentoring support to social sector leaders working in urban and regional settings.

As a co-founder and director of her own philanthropic foundation that invests in the arts, Este has led collaborative partnerships with the arts sector, designed innovative impact investments and provided 1:1 advisory support to arts organisations to diversify their revenue. She is currently a board director of Force Majeure and Beyond Empathy.

www.creativepartnershipsaustralia.org.au

Carla Davey

Carla Davey is a visual artist and dancer.  She was born with Down Syndrome and has a mild intellectual disability.  Carla is a dancer with integrated dance company SPRUNG!! Most recently she has been exploring the concept of self and place through her visual arts practice.  Her first mini exhibition “I AM” was a reflection of her role as artist in community. Carla was a performer in The Overtopping, a multi arts performance commissioned for ARTSTATE 2017 and based on the stories of recovery and resilience of the Northern Rivers community after the 2017 Lismore Flood.

Carla is passionate in how making art can help people . She is extending her own practice to co facilitate a number of workshops in 2019 that will work with women carers to creatively investigate and deliver a framework for health, well being and social change ” Art is good for you, just do it!”

Monica-Davidson-1

Monica Davidson is an award-winning expert on the creative industries, who began her creative life as a freelance journalist and filmmaker before starting a production company in the early 90s. Her experience highlighted how unprepared creative people can be for a life of entrepreneurship. Monica began using her expertise to help other creatives develop and improve their business skills, and she now works with individual practitioners and larger arts organisations as a business advisor, strategic consultant and workshop facilitator. She focuses on goal setting, business and strategic planning, financial literacy, capacity building and marketing.

Monica is a regular guest lecturer at AFTRS and NIDA, and she is the Australia author of Freelancing for Dummies. In 2013 Monica was appointed as the first NSW Creative Industries Business Advisor, and in 2014 completed her Masters Degree in Screen Business at AFTRS. In 2015 Monica was named as one of the Westpac 100 Women of Influence for her work in the creative industries. Her award-winning company Creative Plus Business Group is part of the City of Sydney Creative Spaces project, and in 2017 the company joined the NSW Department of Industry Business Connect program as creative industries business specialists for the state.

www.creativeplusbusiness.com

Mathew Daymond

Mathew Daymond is a multidisciplinary artist; he is a painter, songwriter collage maker and poet and instrument player. He makes art his way, art with opinions also words, exploring his opinions and facts through art.  He is interested by mystery and stories & inspired by the works of art through the ages, he likes to find the age of the works, finding stuff that’s never been used before in art, he likes the old world image, the image of black and white is different to the modern day colour, He expresses himself and his dreams and madness as it comes out.

He is a founding member of electronic outfit Tralala Blip with who he opened TedX Sydney at the Sydney Opera house.  He an emerging visual artists who has contributed to various group shows at Lismore and Wagga Regional Gallery and recently had his first solo show at the Roxy Gallery in Kyogle NSW.

Mat has recently has been working on new songs for an Ozco funded album with Tralala Blip.  He played a flood destroyed deconstructed Piano in RealArtWorks show ’The Overtopping’ and worked as and art facilitator post flood at ARCH (Arts Recovery Creative Hub).

Adam Deusien

Adam Deusien

BATHURST

Adam is theatre maker and cultural leader with over 15 years experience in creating interdisciplinary performance and scripted theatre based in Bathurst, regional NSW. Adam is a graduate of Charles Sturt University’s MA – Directing for the Stage and of NIDA’s inaugural cohort of the MFA – Cultural Leadership.

As Artistic Director of Bathurst-based interdisciplinary performance collective Lingua Franca, he has worked extensively with Local Stages, Bathurst’s Performing Arts Development Program based at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, presenting work in regional Australia, nationally and internationally. Adam has conceived, directed and delivered numerous works with Lingua Franca, creating capacity for professional independent regional artists to practice, and for young and emerging regional artists to engage in creative processes.

Beyond practice in the regional Australia, Adam has worked as assistant/rehearsal director for companies Griffin Theatre, Stalker Theatre and Siren Theatre Co and undertaken research

residencies with Sydney Festival and Summerworks Festival, Toronto Canada. He was awarded the 2016 CreateNSW Regional Arts Fellowship and in 2017 worked as Artistic Associate with BMEC, supporting the organisation’s community, audience and artist development and in 2018 was appointed Artistic Director/Director of the Arts Program for Artstate Bathurst.

JackieDunn

Jackie is Special exhibitions curator at the Art Gallery of NSW, working on the forward planning of exhibitions. This year, as well as curating Exploded textiles for Tamworth Regional Gallery, she is curating Dora Ohlfsen and the facade commission at the Gallery. In 2018 she was curator of The lady and the unicorn, brought to Sydney from the Musée de Cluny, Paris.

JamesTFarley

James T. Farley is an artist, curator, and researcher based in Wagga Wagga, NSW. Working predominantly across regional areas, his practice explores ecological narratives of life and change in the Anthropocene. James is also Lecturer in Photography at Charles Sturt University and is a passionate supporter of critical arts practice across the regions.

Cathy Farry 1

Cathy Farry

BROKEN HILL

Cathy was born and raised in Broken Hill.  She completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Macquarie University and then a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the National Art School majoring in Sculpture. Since returning to Far West NSW, Cathy has worked in a number of positions including those of art teacher at TAFE, the Manager of the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery and then the Culture and Heritage Curator at Broken Hill City Council.

Cathy is currently employed as the Executive Director of West Darling Arts and is a practicing artist.

Merrill Findlay

Dr Merrill Findlay is a writer, scholar, change maker and professional associate with Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, University of Canberra.

In 2016 Merrill co- founded Big Skies Collaboration (BSC), and STEAM educational opportunities in communities west of the Great Dividing Range.  Her current BSC interventions include; Sky Writers Festival, The Inland Astro Trail and a literary non- fiction book entitled  Skycountry: a cosmography (working title).

Merrill is based in the small town of Forbes NSW, near her family’s farm.

merrillfindlay.com

bridgetguthrie

Bridget Guthrie has worked in gallery, museums and the cultural development sector for nearly 20 years in the North West and Southern NSW. Ms Guthrie is currently the Director of the Tamworth Regional Gallery & Museums. Previously she was at AlburyCity where she held the role of Museum Coordinator and prior to that was Collections Coordinator for the Albury Regional Art Gallery and Museum.

Ms Guthrie’s professional experience has included curating over 30 visual arts and museum exhibitions, collection management, strategic planning, policy development and public art. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and a Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies through Deakin University.

Jennifer Hamilton

Jennifer Mae Hamilton is Lecturer in Literary Studies at UNE and researches interdisciplinary feminist environmental humanities. Her work explores the possibilities for change in the human-weather relationship, and systems that moderate that relationship (like bodies, narratives and drains). Her first book, This Contentious Storm: An Ecocritical and Performance History of King Lear (2017), is available open access through Bloomsbury Collections (https://www.bloomsburycollections.com/book/this-contentious-storm-an-ecocritical-and-performance-history-of-king-lear/).

With Astrida Neimanis she developed COMPOSTING Feminisms and Environmental Humanities (http://compostingfeminisms.wordpress.com/) reading and research group.

And with Tessa Zettel, Kate Wright, Astrida Neimanis and Rebecca Giggs, Jennifer is one fifth of The Weathering Collective (http://weatheringstation.net).

 

Amy Hammond

Amy Hammond

TAMWORTH

Amy Hammond is a Gomeroi Dhungatti Yinarr and Mother, who was born in Moree and raised on Wiradjuri Country in Wellington.  Based on Country in Tamworth, Amy is entering her 6th year of her PhD as a Vice-Chancellor’s Gomeroi Research Fellow, School of Environmental and Rural Science at the University of New England, Anaiwan Country.

Amy is also a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Yinarr Maramali, a Gomeroi women’s business that centres on the care taking of local weaving culture and supporting community wellbeing.

A WAAPA Production and Design graduate with a strong career in Arts and Culture dating back to 2004 that saw Amy resident and touring internationally with First Nations companies such as Yirra Yaakin Noongar Theatre, Bangarra Dance and Ilbijerri Theatre.  “After 12 years of reaching for new heights, it was always my purpose to return home with my new skills to support the development of local arts and cultural programs and opportunities that I needed growing up”.

John Heffernan

John Heffernan lives in the New England town of Walcha. He has published over fifty books for all ages from early readers to young adults. His titles have won numerous awards, both domestic and international

Jodie Herden

Jodie Herden

TAMWORTH

The Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council Bumbira Art & Culture Program (BAC) is based in Tamworth, New South Wales within the Aboriginal land of the Kamilaroi, Gomeroi, Gamilaraay and Gamilaroi people.

The BAC Programs foster creativity, inspire connectedness, identity, resilience and opportunity within the Indigenous community. It provides cost effective community access to the arts. We bring Indigenous and non- Indigenous artists and community together to learn from each other, share stories, raise aspirations and gain inspiration whilst making art. Our programs:

  • Embed art making practices in the local Indigenous community
  • Engage Indigenous artists and mentors to deliver a variety of creative traditional and contemporary art based workshops to community.
  • Encourage an intergenerational transmission of knowledge and creation of personal and shared oral histories and cultural knowledge
  • Promote the artistic work of the participants to develop the individual’s sense of personal pride and achievement, enhancing the wellbeing of participants, and providing economic benefit

 

The BAC programs use innovative and creative approaches to promote living a good life through culturally rich and responsive arts based practices that focus on social and emotional wellbeing and the physical health of the Indigenous community.

Emma Hogg cropped headshot

Emma Hogg

UNITED KINGDOM

Emma Hogg is Executive Director for WildWorks theatre from Cornwall, UK.

WildWorks is a critically acclaimed theatre company which combines a process of people and place to create work, large and small, that packs an emotional punch. Projects range from The Passion of Port Talbot in South Wales, marking the outbreak and end of WWI in Cornwall, a project in Nablus, Palestine, to unlocking the stories of Kensington Palace, UK and Gaasbeek Castle, Belgium. Their work sees them embedded in communities, drawing out stories to create work that has people at its heart. In 2017, the WildWorks faced one of the biggest challenges any company in any sector could face: the untimely death of their founder, Bill Mitchell. With Emma at the helm, the Company has navigated this complex and challenging period by bringing the team together to work towards a brand new five-year plan with a refreshed board of trustees. WildWorks is now a year into the new five-year plan, which continues to explore, progress and push the boundaries of the art of landscape theatre. WildWorks has secured its place as a National Portfolio Organisation for Arts Council England and a strategic arts client for their local authority, Cornwall Council.

Emma was born and grew up in Cornwall and after gaining a BA in Human Geography at the University of Lancaster, returned to join the Eden Project, where she worked for 13 years with her final role being Eden Live Programme Producer. After nearly 10 years of fleeting moments with WildWorks, she joined the team permanently in December 2014. Emma is also a board member of aerial dance company, Yskynna, and a consultant for Eden Project’s higher education programme.

Emma delicately balances life with a husband, two children and a menagerie of animals.

Scott Howie

Scott Howie

WAGGA WAGGA

Scott Howie has been contributing to the cultural landscape of the Riverina for over 18 years as an artist, arts educator and arts administrator.

Currently the Executive Director of Eastern Riverina Arts, Howie also maintains an artistic practice in durational performance, installation and theatre. Previously he has been a lecturer in theatre design at Charles Sturt University, the creative producer and manager at Griffith Regional Theatre, and the Artistic Director of Riverina Young People’s Theatre.

easternriverinaarts.org.au

Andrew Hull

Something of a contemporary Renaissance man, or a polymath, Andrew Hull works across several arts disciplines, performs and exhibits, generates public art projects, speaks at conferences public engagements, and combines this with Natural Resource management work.

He has had several professional and non-professionals roles as diverse as bulldozer driver, news columnist, poet and songwriter, radio producer and photographer.

Andrew is of Baakindji descent from the Darling River, in Bourke NSW. He has maintained active interest in his community and was a Board Member of Outback Arts. While his interests are diverse, he is well-recognised for excellence by his peers: his writing is published in the Outback magazine and the Sydney Morning Herald; his poems have featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Melbourne Age and regularly on ABC Local and National radio. He has been described by contemporaries as, “a modern day Lawson” (Australian Geographic), “the Bard of Bourke” (Outback Magazine) and, “the keeper of Lawson’s secret” (Neil Murray) and has performed at major folk festivals across Australia. He has toured and performed with various renowned Australian musicians, worked with an array of recognised artists across a range of media, and exhibited locally and regionally.

Peta Jeffries

Dr. Peta Jeffries’ research and teaching considers the disciplines of visual art, history, critical pedagogy, and ecological humanities in decolonising curriculum and subject design.  Themes in Peta’s research and teaching include visual arts-based research and pedagogy, histories of social and ecological knowledge (co-)production, place and space, multispecies, extinction, erasure, memorialisation, memory and decolonisation.

Sharni Jones

Sharni Jones is an Aboriginal woman from the Kabi Kabi and Waka Waka Nations of south east Queensland on her maternal side. Sharni spent her formative years in the Illawarra region of NSW – the traditional homelands of the Dharawal people, where her family still resides.

She has deep knowledge of and extensive engagement in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultural sector, with specialisations in contemporary visual arts practice, strategic policy development and stakeholder engagement. She is a highly-networked facilitator with 20 years of professional practice.

Sharni is the Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collection, Australian Museum in Sydney. Previously, Sharni managed the strategic development and implementation of the NSW Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Strategy 2015-18 Connection, Culture Pathways as the Senior Aboriginal Cultural Development Officer at Arts NSW and has held other government agency positions in the NSW Department of Education, TAFE NSW and NSW Heath.

Her qualifications include a Master of Arts Administration (College of Fine Arts UNSW), Bachelor of Creative Arts (University of Wollongong) and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (Northern Sydney Institute).

Sharni has participated on a range of committees including the Carriageworks Aboriginal Advisory Group, the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Reforms Interagency Working Group led by the Office of Environment and Heritage, the Senior Executive Committee led by Aboriginal Affairs, the Australia Council for the Arts – Arts Leadership Reference Group, the National Arts and Cultural Accord Indigenous Art and Culture Working Group and board membership at Information and Cultural Exchange, Parramatta (2012-2013) and Regional Arts NSW (2017-current).

She is passionate advocate for First Peoples arts-led practice, fostering and championing practice through leadership, excellence and exchange.

Read more: http://regionalartsnsw.com.au/about/board/#ixzz5LZIhxIMj

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Sophie Jones

BATHURST

Sophie is a musician, choir leader, guitar teacher and event manager based in Bathurst. Sophie grew up in Tamworth and moved Bathurst in 2010 to study a B.A Communications (Theatre/Media) at CSU, which she graduated from in 2012. Since then, Sophie has been actively involved in the Bathurst community through her work with Smith & Jones, Community choirs and workshops, event management and teaching guitar at a local studio.

Sophie performs as one half of alt-country duo Smith & Jones. In March 2017 Sophie and Abby released their debut album of original music, ‘Dark Gives Way’ after spending the past three years performing around Bathurst and the Central West honing in on their craft as musicians, performers and songwriters. Their first single from the album went to number one on the internet’s Australian Country Radio Charts in May. They released their second album this March, ‘Something Worth Learning’, and have spent the year touring.

Sophie, alongside Abby, has been running the CanBeltos (a community choir in Bathurst) for over four years with the belief that singing is not only a valuable and often overlooked form of expression, but an important social tool as well. The core ideal for the choir is that anyone can and should sing.  Sophie also facilitates the Inland Sea of Sound’s Local Emerging Artists Program (LEAP) alongside Kylie Shead (Local Stages) and co-ordinates and books local acts for The End Festival in Hill End in partnership with NSW National Parks and Wildlife as well as a handful of other local events around the Central West each year.

Richard Jordan

Richard Jordan is a playwright and Lecturer in Theatre Studies at UNE. His plays have garnered several awards and honours, including the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award (25 Down, 2009), the Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work (Machina, 2015), three Matilda awards (2009; 2015), a writer’s residency at Marrickville Council, Sydney (2011), a Creative Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire (2013), and a public reading at the Royal Court Theatre, London (2008). Both 25 Down and Machina are published by Playlab Press. In 2016 he established the “Incubator” New Writing Program in conjunction with Playlab in Brisbane, where he mentored 12 emerging playwrights. His PhD (UQ, 2015) identified a new genre of theatre called Posthuman Drama: plays that explore the innate tensions between the physical and digital worlds.

Lucy-J-Photo

Lucy Joseph has worked across a variety of arts sectors, including visual arts, major events and live music. She joined the Live Music Office in 2017 to manage the Live and Local strategic initiative and coordinated the national delivery of Make Music Day Australia 2019.

The Live Music Office works to increase opportunities for live music in Australia by identifying and advocating for better policy, regulation and strategy.

livemusicoffice.com.au

Lyniece Keogh

 

The Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council Bumbira Art & Culture Program (BAC) is based in Tamworth, New South Wales within the Aboriginal land of the Kamilaroi, Gomeroi, Gamilaraay and Gamilaroi people.

The BAC Programs foster creativity, inspire connectedness, identity, resilience and opportunity within the Indigenous community. It provides cost effective community access to the arts. We bring Indigenous and non- Indigenous artists and community together to learn from each other, share stories, raise aspirations and gain inspiration whilst making art. Our programs:

  • Embed art making practices in the local Indigenous community
  • Engage Indigenous artists and mentors to deliver a variety of creative traditional and contemporary art based workshops to community.
  • Encourage an intergenerational transmission of knowledge and creation of personal and shared oral histories and cultural knowledge
  • Promote the artistic work of the participants to develop the individual’s sense of personal pride and achievement, enhancing the wellbeing of participants, and providing economic benefit

The BAC programs use innovative and creative approaches to promote living a good life through culturally rich and responsive arts based practices that focus on social and emotional wellbeing and the physical health of the Indigenous community.

Paris Knox

Paris Knox

TAMWORTH

 

The Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council Bumbira Art & Culture Program (BAC) is based in Tamworth, New South Wales within the Aboriginal land of the Kamilaroi, Gomeroi, Gamilaraay and Gamilaroi people.

The BAC Programs foster creativity, inspire connectedness, identity, resilience and opportunity within the Indigenous community. It provides cost effective community access to the arts. We bring Indigenous and non- Indigenous artists and community together to learn from each other, share stories, raise aspirations and gain inspiration whilst making art. Our programs:

  • Embed art making practices in the local Indigenous community
  • Engage Indigenous artists and mentors to deliver a variety of creative traditional and contemporary art based workshops to community.
  • Encourage an intergenerational transmission of knowledge and creation of personal and shared oral histories and cultural knowledge
  • Promote the artistic work of the participants to develop the individual’s sense of personal pride and achievement, enhancing the wellbeing of participants, and providing economic benefit

 

The BAC programs use innovative and creative approaches to promote living a good life through culturally rich and responsive arts based practices that focus on social and emotional wellbeing and the physical health of the Indigenous community.

Roger Knox

Roger Knox

EMU VALLEY QLD

At 70 years of age Uncle Roger Knox is not slowing down any time soon and his performance diary is full to bursting!  Born into an era when Aboriginal and Torres Strait performers could not easily get their foot in the door, Uncle Roger has dedicated his musical career to opening doors for First Nations artists. Reinvigorating Aboriginal culture is a lifelong pursuit for Uncle Roger and he has directed considerable energy into positive, enduring and creative projects for the benefit of his Aboriginal brothers and sisters.

The Knox family currently boasts four generations of musicians, dancers and performers. Even great-granddaughters are taking to the mic with a confidence that comes from being raised with music and performing arts an everyday part of life.

Sarah Last

Sarah Last

COOTAMUNDRA

Sarah is the founding member of The Wired Lab based on a working farm in south western NSW near Cootamundra.  She is an artist and curator with specialisation in the interdisciplinary arts of sound, experimental art forms and Community Cultural Development (CCD). Sarah has been producing site specific cross-disciplinary projects in rural/regional NSW for the past eleven years and has been an active contributor to the national recognition of rigorous contemporary and experimental art practice(s) emanating from the regional context

Sarah has over 14 years experience in arts administration where she held senior roles in a number of arts organisations such as Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT), Wagga Wagga Art Gallery and Booranga Writers Centre.

Sarah was a core member / Curator of Wagga Space Program 2001-2006 where she developed the legendary ‘unsound’ festivals experimental arts/sound programs (2003, 2004, 2006). Under Sarah’s curatorship The Wired Lab received an inaugural ‘ArtLab’ grant from Australia Council (2007), which led to the establishment of the organisation as a NFP in 2009. Since then, under Sarah’s leadership, the organisation has gone on to receive support from Arts NSW, Australia Council, RANSW, the British Council and Country Arts SA. The Wired Lab has received international recognition and is regarded as an important fixture in Australia’s arts ecology, particularly for the organisations’ unique exploration of the regional/rural context via its programming mix of experimental and emerging art forms, CCD and sector development for Australian artists.

Recently Sarah’s ‘Southern Encounter’ project, which was commissioned for the 2012 Regional Arts Australia conference, won two APRA/AMC Art Music Awards for Excellence for ‘Experimental Music’ and ‘Regional Area’ amongst a competitive national field. No other artist or organization has achieved this at the APRA/AMC awards. 

Radical Son at APRA Awards

David Leha (Radical Son) is a musician, board member and long-time collaborator for Beyond Empathy. He has worked with Opera Australia, Archie Roach and the Sydney Festival and has run workshops with Community Prophets, Healing Foundation and the Jimmy Little Foundation. David’s music and stories are always guided by his Indigenous heritage from the Kamilaroi nation of Australia and the South Pacific nation of Tonga.

aleshialonsdale

Aleshia Lonsdale is visual artist based in regional New South Wales. Lonsdale began as primarily a painter and weaver and has since expanded her practice to incorporate sculptural and installation work. Inspiration for her work is drawn from issues facing Aboriginal people including that of Aboriginality and Identity.

Using everyday objects and materials Aleshia creates works that reflect the cultural values and traditions of her people and works which challenge the audience and put the spotlight on contemporary issues of today.

Aleshia is also the Aboriginal Arts Development Officer at Arts Outwest.

www.aleshialonsdale.com

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Born in Indonesia of French parents, and brought up in France and Australia, Sophie Masson is the award-winning and internationally-published author of over 60 books for children, young adults and adults. Her latest books (all 2019) include children’s historical novel War and Resistance (Scholastic Australia) as well as three picture books: There’s A Tiger Out There, illustrated by Ruth Waters (Little Hare); On My Way, illustrated by Simon Howe, (Scholastic Australia) and Join the Armidale Parade (Little Pink Dog Books).

Sophie is also a founding partner and publishing director of acclaimed children’s books boutique publisher Christmas Press, based in Armidale.

In 2018 Sophie successfully completed a PhD in creative practice at the University of New England and has presented her research work on literary/ publishing topics at conferences around the world and in many journals. A former Chair of the Australian Society of Authors, she is the current Chair of the New England Writers’ Centre and a Board member of the Small Press Network.

In January 2019, Sophie received an AM award in the Order of Australia honours list, for significant service to literature as an author, publisher, and through service to literary organisations.

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Vic McEwan

RIVERINA

Vic McEwan is the Artistic Director of The Cad Factory, an innovative arts organisation based in regional NSW. He explores experimental and contemporary arts practice in partnership with diverse sectors.

Vic was the 2015 Artist in Residence at the National Museum of Australia and the recipient of the Inagural Arts NSW Regional Fellowship 2014/16.

Vic’s practice involves working with sound, video, installation and performance, with a particular interest in site-specific work. He is interested in creating new dynamics by working with diverse partners and exploring difficult themes within the lived experience of communities and localities.

Vic aims to use his work to contribute to and enrich broader conversations about the role that the arts sector can play within our communities. He sits on the Inagural NSW/ACT Arts/Health State Leadership Group and is a board member of Music NSW.

Christine McMillan

Christine McMillan is the Arts and Health Coordinator for Arts OutWest.  The Arts OutWest arts and health program started in 2008 when Christine joined Arts OutWest, with Tracey Callinan taking up her position as Executive Director in 2009.  Together they have built a program that has spanned many artforms, worked in various locations across the Arts OutWest region, and is recognised for its excellence in regional practice.  In addition to working at Arts OutWest, Christine is a respected visual artist and a director of Cementa Festival and Tracey is a musician and researcher.

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Brad Moggridge is a proud Murri from the Kamilaroi Nation (North-West NSW). He grew up in Western Sydney on Darug land and now lives in Canberra on Ngunnawal land.  His family links to the Artstate Tamworth region are through Mum Colleen (Benge, Narrabri) and Nan Brenda Benge (nee: McGrady from Euraba) and Pop Bill (Benge from Boomi).

Brad has over 25 years experience in water and environmental science water management, including policy development, legislative reviews, applied research and project management. He is currently a PhD Candidate (full-time) at the University of Canberra’s Institute for Applied Ecology, on the topic of: Incorporating cultural values and perspectives of First Peoples’ (Aboriginal People) into water planning and environmental water management. In a time where water is most precious and its management so topical, his research-based study shows credible evidence of the value of water for Australia’s First Peoples; and how modern-day water planning can accommodate these values.

To support his PhD with a young family, he is the Special Advisor First Peoples Water with Water Stewardship Australia (WSA) and part-time Indigenous Liaison Officer for Threatened Species Recovery Hub as a part of National Environmental Science Program (NESP), which allows him to engage researchers and Aboriginal communities aiming to protect threatened species through research.

Linda Nix

IPEd Ambassador, Dr Linda Nix AE, explains what professional editors do, how they contribute to all kinds of arts projects – creative writing, histories and memoirs, exhibition catalogues, visual displays, transcripts and captions for audiovisual material, websites and social media, grant applications – and how to find and work with an editor.

Chris Orchard

Christopher is an interdisciplinary researcher in Arts/Agriculture. Corporate irritant & intrapreneur interested in failure and risk-appetite. Lover of design thinking for Higher-Ed & Enterprise. Creative-Practitioner exploring critical practices of place through decolonisation and reinhabitation.

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Bronwyn Parry

NEW ENGLAND NORTH WEST

International award-winning author Bronwyn Parry has previously written six romantic thrillers set in outback Australia, published by Hachette Australia. Her first novel won the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart Award, and two of her books were finalists in RWA’s RITA™ and Daphne du Maurier awards. She has also won the Australian Romance Readers award for Favourite Romantic Suspense three times.

With her latest book, The Clothier’s Daughter, Bronwyn turns her pen to another genre she loves, historical romance, and draws on her long interest in history and particularly textile and costume history to weave a story of intrigue, drama and passion.

When she’s not working at her keyboard, she enjoys researching and making historical clothing, and she’s a skilled spinner, weaver, seamstress and knitter. The Clothier’s Daughter is in part inspired by her Honors thesis research on British worsted textiles.

Bronwyn lives in the New England tablelands of northern New South Wales, Australia, and loves to travel.

Ross Peter (NEW) Epiphanies

Peter Ross

TAMWORTH

Peter is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (1997). He has worked professionally in the entertainment industry since 1987 as a producer, director and actor. He is currently employed by Tamworth Regional Council, initially as the Theatre Director of the Capitol Theatre Tamworth (2009 to 2012) and then as the Manager of Entertainment Venues, which programs and manages the Capitol Theatre Tamworth, Tamworth War Memorial Town Hall and the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Conference Centre.

Peter is passionate about regional performing arts and the part they play in the national ecosystem of our industry – from an audience and practice perspective.

Peter is on the board of Arts On Tour, Arts Northwest and is the chair of the Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music.

Zeb Schulz

Zeb Shulz

LISMORE

Anthony (Zeb) Schulz is the founding Artistic Director of RealArtWorks Inc.

Since 2002 he has worked collaboratively with community and professional and emerging artists to create new art that uses and transcends a number of traditional forms.  Often engaging artists with disability as professional collaborators, Zeb’s work is an ongoing creative investigation of life itself.

He has managed and creatively directed a number of large scale projects including ‘Rip Out your Labels” listed as one of the ten best RAF projects in 2005, he installed large multimedia mazes into City halls and masonic temples in NSW and Victoria.

Zeb was instrumental in putting together inclusive musical outfit “The Bridge” which travelled to Poland in 2013 to tour with two Polish Bands with people with varying abilities and organising a reciprocal cultural exchange in 2017 which saw 26 musicians with and without disability from Poland Germany and Australia undertake an Australian East Coast Tour.

Zeb creatively directed/curated the Resistant Obsolescence exhibition at the Lismore Regional Gallery in 2014 and the (nothing is) Useless Exhibition which was opened at the Wagga Art Gallery in 2015.

In 2016 Zeb co-directed “The Building Still Lives” a large scale site specific work involving over 100 artists and participants exploring the connections between place, narrative and belonging through visual arts, song, drama and projections.

In 2017 Zeb co-directed the highly innovative and successful performance of The Overtopping a site specific multi-arts response to the devastating effects of Cyclone Debbie; commissioned by Regional Arts NSW as part of ArtState Lismore.

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Patrick Shannon is an artist and storyteller of Indigenous Haida ancestry, specializing in filmmaking and photography to celebrate, empower, and tackle important topics both urban and rural.

Inspired by his cultural upbringing, Patrick endeavours to use technology and media to address social & cultural challenges that exist within Canadaʼs Indigenous communities. He has a decade of experience working within the Vancouver film, television and design industries, and currently operates a multimedia creative studio based out of Haida Gwaii, Canada.

Patrickʼs passion is to discover new ways to empower marginalized communities through storytelling, while developing new self determined economies using media and technology. This passion continues into his work with youth as Patrick mentors dozens of young Indigenous and settler filmmakers and artists every year. A good portion of his time is also spent travelling as an instructor for the University of Victoria, building design & web-based entrepreneurial skillsets within remote Indigenous communities.

Patrick has been recognized as one of the top “15 Emerging Innovators” in Canada by Ashoka Changemakers in 2013, the “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2015 by the BC Aboriginal Business Awards, and one of top 50 “Young Cultural Innovators” from across the world by the Salzburg Global Seminar in 2017.

You can follow his work and adventures at PatrickShannon.ca

Photo Credit: Elim Sly-Hooton

Julie Shearer

Julie is a Theatre Studies lecturer at the University of New England in Australia.  Her career began as a professional actor and theatre-maker in Australia, working with Bell Shakespeare and the QTC amongst others.  After a number of years in Ireland, she completed an MA at University College Dublin and obtained her PhD from Trinity College.   Her research areas include political theatre, contemporary Irish and Australian theatre, actor training and Renaissance drama.  She is currently working on a textbook entitled Theatre in Action: A Practical Guide for Students and Teachers of Theatre, Drama and Performance.

 

Mike Smith

Mike Smith

LISMORE

Mike Smith is a post disability artist blind from birth.  He is a prolific song writer and musician who is currently creating his second LP.  In 2011, he was an artist in residence for Rewriting the Score at the Orange Conservatorium of Music.  He has been a key artist, songwriter and musician for large scale site specific creative productions, including The Overtopping ARTSTSTATE 2017.  Mike has presented at numerous conferences including Arts Activated 2014.  Mike was a past don’t dis my disability ambassador and continues to work closely with the wider community to “flip their switches”

Kelsey Strasek- Barker

Kelsey Strasek- Barker

LIGHTNING RIDGE

Kelsey Iris is a 24 year old proud Yuwaalaraay, Gamilaroi and Murrawarri woman. She is a musician and singer-songwriter originating from the small opal-mining town of Lightning Ridge in far North West New South Wales. For a young woman from the bush she has had many successes throughout her emerging career. This has included performing at popular music festivals and events which has led to performing alongside accomplished Australian artists. She writes and shares a spectrum of stories inspired by life and her Aboriginal culture, captivating listeners through her emotive song-writing and rootsy mountainy vocals.

Kelsey is grateful to have been given opportunities throughout her emerging career, some of the highlights thus far  include performing alongside Uncle Jimmy Little, Uncle Archie Roach, Aunty Ruby Hunter and Uncle Roger Knox at the 2010 Aboriginal Cultural Showcase Finale, working alongside Bernard Fanning and continue being mentored by him and collaborating with young established artists such as Emily Wurramurra, Alice Skye and Dobby.

In 2017 she graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Popular Music and continues using creative arts, music, culture and her traditional languages to teach and mentor young people.

Kate Sutherland

The Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council Bumbira Art & Culture Program (BAC) is based in Tamworth, New South Wales within the Aboriginal land of the Kamilaroi, Gomeroi, Gamilaraay and Gamilaroi people.

The BAC Programs foster creativity, inspire connectedness, identity, resilience and opportunity within the Indigenous community. It provides cost effective community access to the arts. We bring Indigenous and non- Indigenous artists and community together to learn from each other, share stories, raise aspirations and gain inspiration whilst making art. Our programs:

  • Embed art making practices in the local Indigenous community
  • Engage Indigenous artists and mentors to deliver a variety of creative traditional and contemporary art based workshops to community.
  • Encourage an intergenerational transmission of knowledge and creation of personal and shared oral histories and cultural knowledge
  • Promote the artistic work of the participants to develop the individual’s sense of personal pride and achievement, enhancing the wellbeing of participants, and providing economic benefit

 

The BAC programs use innovative and creative approaches to promote living a good life through culturally rich and responsive arts based practices that focus on social and emotional wellbeing and the physical health of the Indigenous community.

Marc Sutherland

Marc Sutherland is a Gomeroi Murri who was born and raised in Tamworth. Marc believes in the strength of sharing culture and knowledge the way it has always been done on Gomeroi Country and that is in an authentic and meaningful way. Driven by his love for culture and his responsibility to his community, Marc is determined to support the cultural growth and development of young people through creating cultural learning pathways in both formal and informal capacities.

Marc is the Director of the Gomeroi Culture Academy, in his role he inspires and supports a generation of culturally strong leaders within his community. Marc is also a Co-Founder of the Gomeroi Dance Company (GDC) which has been delivering Gomeroi dance workshops and performances across the state since 2008. The GDC has been the driver for the revitalisation of cultural practice across the region and proud to host community corrobborees with up to over 150 local dancers and singers.

Marc’s passion for his language has led to become a recognised Songman within his community. Through working on Country and within community to revive old songs and create new songs to share stories both old and new.

Mitch Tambo

Renowned for his didgeridoo playing, actor, presenter and performer Mitch Tambo is one of Australia’s most talented entertainers. A proud Gamilaraay/Birra Gubba man, Mitch lights up any arena with a passion and deep commitment to his First Nations culture and the people he represents.

In a highlight of his career, Mitch lead the procession during the canonisation of Australia’s first Saint – Mary McKillop – in 2010 along with traditional dance and performances at the Vatican Museum. His career has taken him to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Melanesia showcasing the breadth of his skills and the beauty of his culture, performing at the Australian Embassy in Laos and the Langkawi Island Music Festival. At home, he has performed at the Melbourne Didgeridoo Festival and opened for social media sensation Macka B and Ky-Mani, son of reggae royalty Bob Marley.

Committed to empowering family and community, Mitch completed a Bachelor of Social Work in 2014 and is Co-founder of True Culture, an Aboriginal-owned business empowering and engaging people through Aboriginal culture. True Culture offer interactive cultural performances, mentoring and empowerment workshops for boys and young men, cultural awareness workshops and music performance and songwriting workshops.

Thorley

Michael Thorley was born in Tamworth, NSW, and educated at Tamworth Christian Brothers College. He gained a Teachers College scholarship to study music at Newcastle Conservatorium, but his teaching career was postponed by two years conscription into the Army. After this he began a Bachelor’s degree at Sydney University, which he completed while teaching. After a year away (taxi driving, personnel work in the ABC), he returned to the Department of Education, and worked in the Riverina and South Coast Regions until he retired in 2006.

He has had a lifelong love of poetry but only became seriously involved in his later years. His book “Sleeping Alone” was published in 2008 in Canberra and won the Canberra Writers award for best poetry book for that year. He has been published occasionally in magazines (Quadrant, Meanjin) and his interest in Japanese poetry – Haiku and Tanka – has his work in the Australian publications “Eucalypt” (Tanka) and “Windfall” (Haiku), and similar collections. He is a part of the Canberra poetry community, and reads often at various events there. He spends his time between Tamworth and Queanbeyan/Canberra. Over the years he has been involved in Toastmasters, Squash, Orienteering, Music and various mountain sports

Andrew Totman

Andrew Totman, has held more than 100 solo exhibitions on 6 continents and has worked within printmaking fields since the mid-eighties, completed his BA at the University of San Diego, and MFA at Wichita State University.  He is an elected NSW representative of the Print Council of Australia, past Director of the largest artists creative sector studio in Sydney, long time staff at the National Art School, Sydney.

Head of Art and Design for the South Region of TAFE NSW, and currently Industry Relationship Lead for Creative and Design Ideation of TAFE NSW.

Ariella Van Luyn

Ariella Van Luyn is the author of a novel, Treading Air, and short stories published in journals including Southerly, Island and Overland. She is a lecturer in creative writing at the University of New England, Armidale. She is currently working on her next novel, an archaeological thriller titled The Woman Submerged.

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Peter White is a proud Gamilaroi Murri from north-west NSW, who has forged a successful career within the creative and cultural heritage sector over the past twenty-nine years.

Holding a number of positions in a range of major cultural institutions and Government arts agencies , Peter has have employed an extensive knowledge and skill base on the strategic development, management and evaluation of complex First People community engagement and development programs.

Peter’s passion is to assist and champion the inherent cultural rights of First People communities in both managing and practising their own culture and to assist and guide the mainstream cultural sector in effectively engaging with these communities for mutually respected benefits based on the principles of cultural authority.

Peter is currently Senior Manager, Aboriginal Strategy and Engagement at Create NSW

Suzie Wicks

Suzie Wicks

NEW ENGLAND NORTH WEST

Suzie has worked professionally across animation, film, radio, photography and theatre.  A self-confessed ‘renaissance creative’ Suzie brings a highly honed visual aesthetic and story craft across a range of media.

An Awgie Award-winning scriptwriter, Suzie has worked in concept development, series writing and as a story editor on a range of projects with Flying Bark Animation, Mememe Productions and ABC Commercial. Her radio drama, The Hum, was commissioned and produced for Radio National.

Now rurally based, Suzie’s boutique digital story agency Fatmoon Studios, specialises in short-format videos as powerful tools of empathy, promotion and engagement. Her clients include NSWHealth, Services Our Way, Office of Environment and several government agencies. Suzie has run digital story training at University of Technology Sydney and with the UN.

Suzie’s text based visual work has been exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea, and several regional galleries.

Jazz Williams

Jazz Williams is the Aboriginal Creative & Cultural Engagement Officer with South East Arts, and has been developing the Aboriginal arts sector in South East NSW since 2013.

Jazz has a background in music, radio production, project management and creative business and is committed to supporting Aboriginal artists and performers toward professional careers in the arts.  Jazz is the Director and Project Manager of Giiyong Festival, the only multi-arts Aboriginal cultural festival in Southern NSW. The first was held in 2018 at Jigamy, near Eden.