Rosemarie Milsom is the founding director of the Newcastle Writers Festival. She is passionate about storytelling and created the festival to provide a platform for Hunter region writers to share their work and to enable local audiences to engage with leading Australian writers.
What attracted you to the Leadership Program?
As the founding director of the Newcastle Writers Festival I have invested all my energy and ideas in the event and its growth. Starting something from scratch is challenging and there hasn't been a lot of time or space to simply stop and take stock of where I am at. What can I do better? How do others working in the art manage increasing and often competing demands? As we begin planning for our 10th anniversary in 2022, the Leadership Program is a timely and valuable opportunity to reflect, listen and learn.
Why do you think it is important to develop Arts Leaders?
Developing Arts Leaders can have a profound impact on the resilience and dynamism of the sector as a whole. There is a need for people who can effectively advocate and mobilise support - who can not just head up an organisation or program, but who can shape and lead culture itself. Funding pressures, stretched resources and the need to innovate are just some of the challenges those in the arts grapple with. There is a need for leaders who can help the sector flourish; this is essential in regional areas such as the Hunter region where I am based.
Are there ideas around leadership that need to change for our sector to thrive? Are the current notions of leadership still relevant?
Collaboration is key and this can be difficult within art forms, let alone between art forms. I also think there are core leadership characteristics that remain consistent in spite of the rapidly evolving environments we operate within: these include integrity, vision, humility, and a willingness to facilitate change.
What are the top three qualities of leaders that inspire you?
Resilience, fairness and generosity.
Rosemarie Milsom is the founding director of the Newcastle Writers Festival, which will celebrate its eighth event in April 2020. Rosemarie started the festival after working as an award-winning print journalist for 20 years in Newcastle and Sydney, mainly with Fairfax Media. She is passionate about storytelling and created the festival to provide a platform for Hunter region writers to share their work and to enable local audiences to engage with leading Australian writers. She believes Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby said it best in her incendiary performance Nanette: 'Stories hold our cure'.
While Newcastle is known for its dynamic and resourceful arts community, Rosemarie recognises the unique challenges for artists and audiences in regional areas. She is determined to help remove the barriers that contribute to their under-representation in cultural activity.
She relishes collaborating with other local arts organisations and believes that the sharing of ideas and resources has a direct impact on the health and vibrancy of the sector.
|Julian Louis: Arts Leaders Program
Julian is a theatre maker, dramaturg and Artistic Director/CEO of NORPA (Northern Rivers Performing Arts), a theatre company based on Bundjalung country in Northern NSW. Learn more about Julian.
|Ros Abercrombie: Arts Leaders Program
Ros has been working in the arts industry for over 20 years with experience across creative direction, strategic design and arts management. Ros is currently the Executive Director of Regional Arts Australia. Learn more about Ros.
|Razcel Jan Salvarita: International Future Leaders Program
Razcel Jan Salvarita is a Filipino multi-disciplinary artist based on the island province of Negros in the Visayan region of the Philippines. Learn more about Razcel.
Learn more about the 2020 Leadership Program participants.