Is Australia’s independent arts sector equipped to shape the future of resilient communities? How do they assist cities to prosper culturally and...

We Run This: A Conversation With Australia's Independent Arts Sector


Giant Dwarf Theatre
2016 NSW

We Run This: A Conversation With Australia's Independent Art Sector


John O'Callaghan, JOC Consulting

John O'Callaghan

Urban Planner

John is an urban planner specialising in social activation, community engagement and new media. He is passionate about positive behaviour change and making our cities more liveable through creativity and innovation.

John is also the founder of Trending City, a collaborative blogging platform capturing great ideas from across the globe, and co-founder of Idea Bombing Sydney, a creative meetup focused on turning ideas into action. He was recently appointed Chair of Brand X,  a not for profit arts organisation based in Sydney, and is a lecturer at the University of New South Wales teaching contemporary issues in urbanism.
John is also a regular contributor to the Planning Institute of Australia’s New Planner magazine with a column focusing on technology, new media and urban planning. John has worked on projects in and outside of Sydney and has recently completed a Community Development Program for UrbanGrowth NSW at Penrith and a Social Activations Program for City of Sydney at Green Square.
In 2014, John was awarded the Urban Provocateur 2014 award by DARCH (the NSW Emerging Architects and Graduates Network) and recognised as an AMP Tomorrow Maker by the AMP Tomorrow Fund.
In 2015, John joined Claire McCaughan and Lucy Humphrey as co-directors of the Sydney Architecture Festival 2015.


Rebecca O'Shea

Rebecca O'Shea

Director, Project Contemporary Artspace

Rebecca O’Shea is an Illawarra based emerging artist, curator and writer, whose practice engages painting, printmaking and arts projects. She holds a Masters of Arts Administration from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales and a BCA (Visual Arts) from the University of Wollongong.

In 2010 she co-founded Gallery:5, Wollongong and has since administered a range of curatorial roles for Wollongong City Council, Cicada Press, The Illawarra Folk Festival, Wollongong City Gallery, Micro Galleries and Timber Mill Studios.

Rebecca is the current Director at Project Contemporary Artspace and has most recently been contracted as the Archive Manager for Cicada Press at UNSW Art and Design.

Vasiliki Nihas-Bogiatzis

Vasiliki Nihas-Bogiatzis

Chair of M16 Artspace

Vasiliki Nihas-Bogiatzis served as a senior executive in the State and Commonwealth public sectors, later heading her own boutique consultancy specialising in cultural inclusivity, culture and the arts, values and ethics. She brings to M16 Artspace a breadth of expertise across interdisciplinary art forms; strategic planning; government liaison and small business.

Her career highlights include establishing Sydney University's Multicultural Education Centre; being awarded a fellowship to the East West Centre, University of Hawaii; becoming a ministerial adviser in her field and culminating in heading Community Relations and Access and Equity in Prime Minister and Cabinet, in which capacity she delivered Australia's keynote address on our multicultural identity at the European Council.

Arts appointments at national and state levels have included the National Heritage Collections Council, the Interim Directorate responsible for building and establishing Canberra's Museum and Gallery(CMAG), the foundation Board of the Cultural Facilities Corporation (CFC) and Deputy Chair of the Cultural Council.  She was long term chair of Canberra Arts Marketing and Jigsaw Theatre Company, loves to draw, and is a published author of short stories.

Brianna Munting

Brianna Munting

Brianna Munting is the Deputy Director for NAVA. Brianna has previously held the positions of Curator for the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and Assistant Curator at Gallery 4a. Her work has always focused on highlighting and valuing the arts and arts practitioners who generate innovation, inspiration and social change. 

She continues to be interested and involved in places, projects and events that inspire difference, in rethinking the significance and meaning of visual art in Australia.

She was the co-convenor of the first national ARI symposium We Are Here and is currently undertaking her PhD at Sydney College of the Arts exploring artist organised spaces and their relationship to the broader arts ecology.

Ianto Ware

Ianto Ware

Strategy Advisor - Culture / Research Strategy & Corporate Planning, City Of Sydney

Ianto Ware currently works in Cultural Strategy at the City of Sydney. He was previously the founding director of Adelaide’s Format Collective, producer of the Festival of Unpopular Culture, and a founder and CEO of Renew Adelaide.

In 2012, he was appointed National Live Music Coordinator, going on to become Co-Director of the National Live Music Office. He also holds a PhD in English, and his first book was published by Hunter Publishers in 2014.

Ianto has a particular interest in regulation, cultural participation and social justice, and has worked extensively with small creative enterprises negotiating building, liquor licensing and planning laws.

Maria Miranda

Maria Miranda

Research Fellow, Victorian College of Arts, University of Melbourne

Maria Miranda is a DECRA Research fellow at Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.

In 2013 she was awarded a 3-year research fellowship from the Australian Research Council (DECRA) for the project, The Cultural Economy of Artist-Run Initiatives in Australia 

She has maintained a collaborative art practice with Norie Neumark as Out-of-Sync since 1993 – making work that engages with questions of culture, place and memory.

She is author of Unsitely Aesthetics: Uncertain practices in contemporary art (Errant Bodies Press, 2013).

Sebastian Goldspink

Sebastian Goldspink


Sebastian Goldspink is a Sydney-based independent Curator specialising in emerging art.

In 2011, he opened the artist run space ALASKA projects as a platform to exhibit contemporary visual art in unused or disused spaces – since showcasing over 350 artists across 70 exhibitions. Goldspink is recognised as an alternate arts strategist working at the forefront of Australian curatorial practice, with professional appointments including the Biennale of Sydney, Vivid Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Old and New Art (MoNA) in Hobart, Art Month Sydney, Artspace and Dlux Media Arts.

In 2013/14 he was appointed guest curator of the John Fries Memorial Prize, an annual non-acquisitive award recognising emerging and early career visual artists. A former lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Goldspink’s expertise merges a critical and conceptual approach to arts-administrative method, with a consistent emphasis on accessibility and diversity.

Euphemia Bostock

Euphemia Bostock

Founding Member and Chairperson of Boomalli Artists Cooperative

Euphemia Bostock, affectionately known as ‘Phemie’,  is a proud Munanjali-Bundjalung woman and elder. As an artist she has worked across many mediums including textile, printmaking, design and sculpture from the early 1960s.

Euphemia’s decision to take up art was embedded in her desire to help her family when money was scarce. Her work has been exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally.

Her long history of creating images ranges from travelling to Paris in 1987 as a textile and fashion designer, to having her work reproduced by Australia Post in 1999 for the Design Australia Stamp Series.

Notably, her textile prints have been collected by the National Gallery of Australia and exhibited in the New Indigenous Gallery.

Euphemia Bostock was one of ten founding members of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative and is currently the Chairperson.

Andrew Brooks

Andrew Brooks

Director, Firstdraft

Andrew Brooks is a Sydney ­based artist, writer, curator and organiser whose work takes the form of installations, performances, text works and sound recordings.

He was a co-­curator of the NOW now Festival and monthly concert series from 2012­-2014 and is currently a Director of Firstdraft and PhD candidate at UNSW Art and Design.

Patrick Sutczak

Patrick Sutczak

Director, Sawtooth ARI

Patrick Sutczak is an emerging artist, writer and curator based in Tasmania, and the Director of Sawtooth ARI in Launceston.

He is a sessional tutor in Contemporary Art Theory and a sessional lecturer in Studio Practice at the Tasmanian College of the Arts, University of Tasmania. His practice and research interests focus on discoverable and invented narratives through repeated engagement with site and interpretations of landscape. 

In 2014 he was the recipient of the University of Tasmania Rosamond McCulloch studio residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and he was recently awarded the Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Nick Waterlow OAM Highly Commended Award.

Alexandra Hullah, Watch this Space

Alexandra Hullah

Coordinator, Watch This Space

Alex is a South African born artist, with a background in Fine Arts and Design.  Her multi-disciplinary art practice spans film, photography, installation, curation and her first love of painting. Alex is deeply passionate about the arts and its ability to form connections, explore our understanding and create possibilities in how we relate to the world.

Alex is currently the Coordinator at Alice Springs' artist run contemporary art gallery Watch This SpaceA highlight, has been directing a 3 week experimental arts festival called Free BBQ Cash Giveaway, in which the DIY creative spirit of Alice Springs was thoroughly celebrated. 

The day-to-day 'norm' for Alex at an the Alice Spings artist run initiative is: building giant musical caterpillars, bat caves, free bbq floats, large-scale bush tucker public murals, wrangling artists and of course, heat and flies.




Monica Barone

Monica Barone

CEO, City of Sydney

Monica has been the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Sydney since 2006.

In this time she has overseen the development and implementation of the City's long term vision for Central Sydney - Sustainable Sydney 2030. She manages approximately 3000 staff and contractors, an annual Capital expenditure and Operational expenditure budget of approximately $880 million (2015/16) and $7.6 billion dollars of net assets including the Council's commercial property portfolio.

In 2015 the City of Sydney processed over five billion dollars of new development. The City's major projects are the CBD Light Rail (initiated and partially funded by City of Sydney but now managed by Transport for NSW) and the $13 billion Green Square Urban Renewal site. Since her appointment the City has completed hundreds of infrastructure projects including active transport, community facilities and parks - winning over 90 national and international awards.

Monica currently volunteers for the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation. She is on the Committee for Liverpool and Designing Western Sydney – 200,000 jobs Steering Committee and the Springboard Advisory panel. She is a member of Australian Institute of Company Directors. She was on the board of Sydney Festival for 10 years, until mid-2015.

Monica holds a Masters in Creative Arts and was a 2014 ‘100 Women of Influence’ finalist.

Event Details

Is Australia’s independent arts sector equipped to shape the future of resilient communities? How do they assist cities to prosper culturally and financially?

To download the Program Agenda click here.

We Run This is equal parts rigorous discussion and a celebration of the ideas developed by Australia’s Artist Run Initiatives (ARIs). Set up by artists, these spaces provide an independent platform for creative experimentation. Beyond the creative surface ARIs make a valuable contribution to the social infrastructure of the built environment.

Currently undertaking a mentorship with 107 Projects, Natalie Wadwell (Wadwell Initiatives) has brought together a dynamic group of speakers comprising presentations by John O’Callaghan (JOC Consulting) and Monica Barone (City of Sydney), that will initiate discussion with representatives of ARIs from Sydney, Wollongong, Launceston, Alice Springs and Canberra. The conference will be moderated by Maria Miranda, a research fellow from the University of Melbourne writing on The Cultural Economy of Artist-Run Initiatives in Australia.

If you are a councillor, regulator, developer, urban planner or an artist, arts practitioner, policy advocate, researcher or an arts investor, we encourage you to attend and collaborate. Panellists will delve into how ARIs operate, opening up conversation for how to facilitate the sustainability of existing spaces, as well as encourage the emergence of ARIs in more communities across Australia.

You are invited to an after party at 107 Projects (107 Redfern Street). Mingle whilst immersing yourself in an interactive artwork by Sydney based light and video designer, Toby K with sound artist Rob Hughes.

We Run This is co-presented by 107 Projects and the National Association for the Visual Arts. 


*Booking and transaction fees may apply

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