Our Brains Trust,

Veronica Pardo, Chair is the CEO of Multicultural Arts Victoria, the state’s leading organisation on diversity in the arts. She comes to the role after 10 years of leading Arts Access Victoria, with a focus on cultural participation by people with disability and those experiencing mental health issues. Veronica is an experienced leader who has led an ambitious agenda of social and artistic transformation in the creative industries, working alongside people who have been marginalised through their identity as the ‘other’. She has spearheaded campaigns relating to social justice, equity and the inclusion of all people in arts and culture, as audiences and cultural innovators. Veronica has held senior roles in the non-government sector and academia, leading significant research projects aimed at embedding meaningful and lasting change, towards equality.

Dr Jehan Kanga, Treasurer is a leading deep tech commercialisation specialist and Founder of Rux Energy, an advanced materials startup delivering efficiency impact for Green Hydrogen storage. Jehan was formerly the Ag, Clean and Deep Tech Lead with KPMG High Growth Ventures, KPMG’s dedicated startup advisory group as well as National Co-Convenor for the Pride@KPMG network, growing the network 50 times larger, raising KPMG from Bronze to Gold within Pride in Diversity’s Australian Workplace Equality Index, and leading the network to win AWEI’s “Network of the Year” in 2021. Jehan is also experienced NFP board director or advisor in LGBTQ+, arts and health, including supporting organisations including The Red Rattler Theatre, Next Wave and Black Rainbow. Jehan was listed in the 40 under 40 Most Influential Asian Australians by Asialink 2019, and Young Professional of the Year 2021 by the India Australia Business Community Awards.

Nicole Smith is the Brand and Commercial Director for RISING, Melbourne’s newest major cultural event celebrating the night with public art, performance and music. She has a passion for building brands and connecting audiences with transformative art experiences. Nicole brings over 15 years experience in brand storytelling, arts marketing, audience development and strategic partnerships. Prior to RISING, Nicole spent five years in Tasmania as Marketing and Communications Director for Mona (Museum of Old and New Art) and Dark Mofo. From 2011–2014 she was Marketing and Development Manager at Next Wave, a role that was pivotal to her career development allowing her to take risks and test new models of engagement.

Shantel Wetherall is a Writer, Host and Consultant. Her practice creates space for nuanced conversations about women, culture and change across multiple media. She is the host and producer of Hey Aunty! podcast and a regular announcer on Melbourne’s 3RRR. Her words have been read by a million people internationally, in publications like The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald and SBS Voices. Shantel’s recent projects have included; Co-editing a book for Google RARE, a global platform for diverse creative talent, and writing the executive report for Arts Centre Melbourne’s equity and inclusion review. As a consultant Shantel uses storytelling to transform data into powerful narratives that illuminate the path forward. Drawing on a law degree and 15yrs professional experience with companies like Accenture & Clifford Chance. She is a collaborator and facilitator at core, happiest when unlocking doors for others.

Amrit Gill is Artistic Director/CEO of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Sydney’s Haymarket, joining the organisation in early 2021 after 7.5 years at the Australia Council for the Arts. She is an arts and cultural worker with 15 years’ experience in the industry across producing, programming, strategy, international relations, community development and social enterprise. From 2017-2020 Amrit served as Director International Development at the Australia Council, leading on international strategic investment and project delivery across visual arts, experimental arts, literature, music, theatre and dance. At the Australia Council she managed the review of international residency programs, served as project director for Australia’s representation at the Venice Biennale in 2019 and 2022, and led the implementation of the agency’s first international arts strategy expanding engagement and investment in Asia and global First Nations exchange. Prior to joining the Australia Council, Amrit worked at Milk Crate Theatre, the British Council Australia, and Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE). She holds a Bachelor of Art Theory and a Bachelor of Arts (History) from the University of New South Wales.

Kate Robinson, Secretary is a Senior Legal Policy Officer in the Family Violence Branch of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. Kate has previously worked as a family violence lawyer in community legal centres. She is a mentor in the Victorian Women Lawyers Mentoring Program, and has previously been an advisory group member for the Equality Rights Alliance and the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance. Kate was the inaugural Feminist in Residence at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre. Kate’s residency culminated in a virtual and IRL exhibition called Make a Fuss - a collection of over 150 craftworks that answer the question: what do you no longer want to be silent about? Kate also chaired the Craftvism panel at the Feminist Writers’ Festival. Kate loves creating watercolour works, and recently received a micro-commission from Maribyrnong City Council as part of their StopMotion Public Arts program to design and install site-specific artworks on traffic signal boxes. In 2021, Kate will be creating a podcast on biracial identity as part of a residency at Footscray Community Arts Centre.

Kath Duncan has worked extensively across the arts sector, celebrating and embracing the importance of difference. She has been a key part of arts and disability programs including Quippings and Art of Difference. She appeared on the TV program No Limits, and was lead the ARC Linkage Research project The Last Avant Garde in partnership with Arts Access Victoria and with the Universities of Melbourne and Sydney. She is a writer, a director, a provocateur, a visual artist, a comedian, a producer, a journalist, a radio presenter, a researcher and more – whatever she can be to explore new ideas. Her work has also provided voice and strength to others. She has helped to develop a well-spring of talent in the kind of inclusive way that sees artists of all descriptions find their story, their practice and their community.

Above:
  1. Crowd at Brunswick Mechanics (2020)