Our guardian angels.

Vanessa Pigrum, Chair is the CEO of Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership, whose purpose is to make ethics the centre of decision making for leaders across Australian public, private and not for profit sectors.

Vanessa has over 25 years’ experience in the arts and culture sector, and in leadership development, where her focus and passion has long been in driving strategic transformation within organisations and teams. Throughout her career, Vanessa has been drawn to working with organisations that strive to implement bold ideas and create positive impacts for society.

Vanessa’s programming and executive leadership roles with organisations such as the Arts Centre Melbourne, the City of Darebin Creative Culture, the Melbourne Fringe Festival, and CHUNKY MOVE have seen her develop innovative programs, navigate complex stakeholder relationships and drive international commercial activity.

Vanessa studied Law before coming to her senses and training as a performer and theatre-maker at the Victorian College of the Arts. She then forged a successful career as a freelance creative producer in the festivals sector for a decade. In 2018 Vanessa gained credentials as a mediator and executive coach.

Hinda Crosbie, Treasurer is a qualified Chartered Accountant, with over 14 years of finance experience, the past 5 years of which have been in commercially focused roles within the consumer goods industry in Melbourne. She is currently a partner at ABInbev, the largest beer brewer in the world. Prior to this Hinda lived in London for 7 years where she gained experience in strategy, financial analytics and business partnering as well and exploring the world as much as possible. Hinda’s diverse financial background will provide sound strategic and financial support in the ongoing development and sustainability of Next Wave.

Ishtar Vij, Public Officer is a public affairs practitioner who has held senior roles in public policy, government affairs and law in private firms and global ICT player. She is currently a Director of Eloquium Group, a public affairs consultancy. In addition to being on the board of Next Wave Festival, Ishtar is on the board of Hello Sunday Morning.

Ishtar is the immediate past Director, Public Policy and Government Affairs for Google in Australia and New Zealand where she led public policy, government affairs and community investment across Australia and New Zealand. She was a key contributor to the cross-functional leadership team of Google Australia & New Zealand, informing and helping to formulate organisational strategy and implementation.

Steven Rhall (Taungurung) is an independent arts professional whose practice is concerned with the exhibition of art by First Nation peoples. This same concern drives his research as a Monash University PhD candidate, whilst also tenured at the Victorian College of the Arts as a lecturer within the Master of Contemporary Art program. Steven’s creative practice centres around exhibition as form using installation, public art and curatorial projects in interrogation of the art institution and associated systems of power. In 2019, Steven founded the experimental art entity ‘New Agency,’ in Kensington / Birrarung-ga supporting the development of discursive practices of BIPOC.

Stephen Armstrong is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and attended the Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He specialises in new work creation as a producer and creative director. Stephen has been the Creative Producer of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Asian Performing Arts program since 2013 and is Creative Director of Asia TOPA: Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts which has its second edition in Melbourne from January to March 2020. Previous executive positions include Executive Producer of Malthouse Theatre, Artistic Associate of Sydney Theatre Company, Executive Producer of Queensland Theatre Company, and Executive Producer of Chamber Made Opera which he co-founded. Director positions have included Melbourne Fringe, NIDA, Chunky Move (Chair) the Australia Council’s Theatre Board (Chair) and New Media Arts Board (Chair). He is currently a Trustee for the Victorian Actors Benevolent Fund.

Lesley Gillan is currently the Head of Human Resources at ACMI, the national museum of film, TV, videogames, digital culture and art. Lesley has extensive experience as a HR leader in both the public and corporate sector and is a highly skilled mediator and conflict coach. She specialises in Industrial and Employee Relations and designing HR strategies and solutions for complex people problems. She has a particular interest in inclusion and diversity and in helping organisations realise the value of conducting their business with a social conscious. She enjoys developing leaders to empower, motivate and inspire others and she offers a collaborative approach to cultural transformation. Lesley is a creative thinker who is passionate about people and the Arts.

Nicole Smith is an arts leader with fifteen years experience connecting audiences and brands with transformative art experiences. She has spent the past five years working in Tasmania as Marketing and Communications Director for Mona (Museum of Old and New Art) and DarkLab, a subsidiary of Mona whose main project is Dark Mofo. She has recently taken up the role of Commercial Director as part of the new Melbourne International Arts Festival. Prior to Mona, Nicole was Marketing and Development Manager for Next Wave (2012–14 festivals). Nicole also occasionally produces independent art and theatre projects and has previously worked with artist groups including Daniel Schlusser Ensemble, OpticNerve and Unconscious Collective.

Kristy Ayre is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and is currently Executive Director/Co-CEO of Chunky Move. Previous roles include, Executive Producer Phillip Adams BalletLab/Temperance Hall (2015-2019), Co-Producer National Dance Forum (2015) and Associate Producer Next Wave (2011-2014). Kristy’s early career spanned over a decade of engagements as a dancer for some of Australia’s most esteemed choreographers including Gideon Obarzanek, Lucy Guerin, Shelley Lasica, Lee Serle, Ashley Dyer and Luke George. Kristy is Co-Chair of the Green Room Awards Dance Panel and has been a Board Member of Next Wave since 2015.

  1. Next Wave staff.