The Wheeler Centre
The Wheeler Centre is Melbourne’s home for smart, passionate and entertaining talks on every imaginable topic. Over 2014-17 I lead the organisation’s prolific creative programme, programming and presenting over 200 annual talks, shows and conversations, as well as overseeing professional development and awards programmes including the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and Hot Desk Fellowships.
Strategic programming initiatives achieved while in the role included regional programming, national programming, Indigenous writing festivals, dedicated series to questions of country, girlhood and sexuality alongside the direction and oversight of over 600 other events.
International programming highlights included Miranda July, Ira Glass, Jad Abumrad, David Suzuki, Kim Gordon, Slate Culture Gabfest, David Walliams, Black Lives Matter, Naomi Klein, Yotam Ottolenghi, Brian Reed and Hanya Yanigihara. Australian programming highlights included commissioning Anne Louise Sarks to adapt To Kill a Mockingbird for an onstage reading and discussion with Jennifer Byrne, Virginia Gay, Justice Lex Lasry, Nicola Roxon and author Tony Birch in Mockingbird, the 2017 Wheeler Centre Gala Stories for the Dead, the 2016 Wheeler Centre Gala - The Book that Changed Me, the 2015 Wheeler Centre Gala - On Five, David Walsh, Magda Szubanski, Peter Carey, Geraldine Brooks, Paul Keating and Kerry O’Brien. I also had the distinct honour of producing a memorial for the much missed Australian satirist, John Clarke.
In this role I also lead the conception, curation and delivery of the biennial Festival of Questions, an international ideas festival dedicated to curiosity and audience participation. In 2015 and 2017 the festival featured speakers such as Cheryl Strayed, Rob Delaney, Lauren Duca, Deborah Frances-White, Geoffrey Robertson, Gareth Evans, Julian Burnside, Nakkiah Lui, Tim Wilson MP, Jordan Raskopolous, Celeste Liddle, Quinn Eades, Alan Duffy, Sammy J, Adam Liaw, Alan Brough and many others.
My position required extensive partnership negotiation and collaboration with key Australian arts and community institutions, including the Sydney Opera House, Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, ACMI, Bendigo Writers’ Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Opera Australia, Sydney Writers Festival, Brisbane Powerhouse, Auckland Writers Festival, Adelaide Writers Week, Perth Writers Festival, New Zealand Festival, Belvoir, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, MPavillion, Freeplay Games Festival, Open House Melbourne alongside Audiocraft, Liberty Victoria, Privacy Week, Sydney Peace Foundation, Asylum Insight, Justice Connect, Reprieve Australia, Human Rights Legal Centre and many others.
During this time and with the support of a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship, I was also international on-ground producer for Andrew Denton’s highly acclaimed podcast, Better Off Dead as we researched euthanasia laws in Belgium and the Netherlands.