Professional Development Program

For over 20 years, the Australia Council, through the Venice Biennale Professional Development Program, has supported over 150 volunteer arts workers to attend and work at the Venice Biennale. The program provides opportunities for curators, arts writers and arts professionals to develop skills and deepen their arts knowledge and to network and connect with overseas peers, artists and organisations with a view to creating international networks and promoting contemporary Australian art. 

The Professional Development Program also supports the following roles as part of Australia's presence at the Venice Biennale. 

Exhibition Team Leaders will have the opportunity to further their experience and develop skills in gallery invigilation, education, and administration. They are responsible for the monitoring and  security of the exhibition, coordinating the team of Australian Volunteer Exhibition Attendants, guiding groups through the exhibition, assisting VIP visitors, keeping attendance records and reporting back to the Venice Project Team in Sydney.

Kimba Thompson

Kimba Thompson is a Wiradjuri woman, resident in Melbourne for over 25 years. She established an Indigenous production company, Sista Girl Productions, in 1997. The company makes educational and creative films. She also founded Blak Dot Gallery in 2011. The gallery hosts exhibits of contemporary art from all Indigenous cultures. Blak Dot specialises in works involving new technologies.  Kimba currently uses her curatorial experience to train emerging Indigenous curators. Blak Dot aims to be to be the “go to” place for contemporary Indigenous arts in Australia.  

Kelly Fliedner

Kelly Fliedner is currently Writer and Editor for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, India, and working on a podcast called On the Beach. She was Program Curator at West Space, Melbourne from 2009 until 2013, and Editor of their online publication the West Space Journal until 2015. In 2016 she presented a series of podcasts for the Next Wave Festival, and was one of six Australian artists to take part in the Biennale of Sydney’s experimental writing project, The Bureau of Writing. In 2014 she was the Australia Council for the Arts’ London Arts Writers Resident.

Sarah Pirrie

Sarah Pirrie is an artist, curator, writer and Lecturer in Visual Arts at Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory. Pirrie works across a conceptual, site-responsive and often collaborative art practice that incorporates drawing, sculpture, installation events and public interventions. Pirrie’s work has referenced a range of social and environmental issues and is often shaped by local activity and phenomena.

Recent projects include 2016 catalogue and exhibition Waiting for Water, place centred responses to the social and environmental context of water in Australia; 2015 co-curated exhibition and catalogue Counting Tidelines, produced as part of the Darwin Festival. 

Sarah Gurich

Sarah Gürich has been the Curator at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery since 2005. She is responsible for developing the Gallery’s highly respected program of exhibitions, and managing the celebrated Hill End Artists in Residence Program. Recent curatorial projects include: the Bathurst Possum Skin Cloak Project (2015), BRAG 200X200 (2015), Rosemary Valadon: A Sensual Life (2016), Mandy Martin: Home Ground (2016), and Anne Graham: Whispering and Rustling (2016). Between curatorial roles at BRAG, Sarah was the inaugural Exhibitions Manager at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre (2012 - 2014) where she oversaw development of the new Blue Mountains City Art Gallery.

Minaxi May


Based in Perth, Minaxi May is an artist who has exhibited nationally and overseas as well as a project manager and educator. Her design influenced practice explores notions of the everyday within fleeting, hybridised cultural moments. She is the  recipient of numerous grants and residencies, including Artsource/ArtsWA’s Basel, Switzerland and Artspace, Sydney residencies, Fremantle Arts Centre  and countless residencies in remote and regional areas of WA. She has contributed to Paper Mountain ARI as a Co-Director of Special Projects and Events and has worked in positions including as a Sessional Academic, Administrator, the designer of Perth Institute of Contemporary Art’s education program Spark_Lab and currently as their Education Program Curator. With degrees in visual art, design and art therapy, she most recently completed her Phd (arts).

Ruth Langford


With a diverse background in the Arts/Environmental/ Social/ Justice/ Youth Work and Indigenous Medicines Therapy, Ruth Langford divides her time into projects that reflect her passion for uniting ancient traditions with contemporary innovation.

Drawing upon the cultural knowledge of her Yorta Yorta linage and the Aboriginal community of Tasmania where she was born and continues to live with her family, Ruth has gained a reputation as a capable facilitator and coordinator of effective capacity building programs, which have as their guiding principles, Connection to Country, Culture and to the Sacred.

Alice Clanachan


Alice is the Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Prior to moving to Adelaide in 2013, Alice worked at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne in the departments of Prints and Drawings and Public Programs. She has also managed regional touring exhibitions of contemporary art in Victoria and South Australia. Alice’s academic background includes study in Art History and Classics and a postgraduate qualification in Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage. She is an Affiliate Lecturer in Museum Studies and Art History at the University of Adelaide. Her most recent large-scale curatorial project was the 2016 Robert Hannaford exhibition which she co-curated.

First Nations Emerging Curators
 participate in the activities coordinated around the Vernissage, networking and connecting with overseas peers, artists and organisations with a view to creating international networks and promoting contemporary Australian art.  

Emily McDanielNSW

Emily McDaniel is an independent curator, writer and educator from the Kalari Clan of the Wiradjuri nation in central New South Wales. Her recent exhibitions include Walan Yinaagirbang | Strong Women at Firstdraft Gallery, Dhuwi at Australian Design Centre and Wala-gaay for Artlands 2016. In 2015 she curated the first public art commission for the Barangaroo precinct. She continues to engage with the site by curating and producing temporary and permanent public art projects that activate the site and acknowledge it’s rich Indigenous history. Formerly, she was the Assistant Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Aboriginal Emerging Curator for the 18th Biennale of Sydney.

Shilo MacNamee

Katina Davidson

Katina Davidson identifies as a Kullilli and Yuggera woman, and a descendant of the Purga Mission with maternal non-Indigenous Australian heritage. She works broadly across genres as a practicing artist and curator.
Katina project managed and co-curated Art of the Skins, a south-east Queensland cultural revitalisation exhibition and was copy editor for the complementing publication as a part of her role as the Exhibition Program Officer at kuril dhagun, State Library of Queensland.
In 2015 Katina was the recipient of the Wesfarmers Indigenous Public Programming Fellowship at the National Gallery of Australia, where she has also participated in and mentored the Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Leadership program.

Kimberley Moulton

Kimberley Moulton is a Yorta-Yorta woman, curator and writer and is the Senior Curator of South Eastern Aboriginal Collections for Museums Victoria at Melbourne Museum.  Her practice is centred on the intersection of contemporary Indigenous art and cultural material in museums with a focus on community access and collections.
Kimberley is an alumni of National Gallery Australia Wesfarmers Indigenous Leadership Program, the 2016 NGA International curatorial fellow USA, and alumni of British Council Accelerate Program UK.

Jessica ClarkVIC

Jessica Clark is a Palawa woman, and current curator for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, teacher and arts manager. She has been working in the arts sector since 2009 on exhibitions, in a variety of contexts; institutional, commercial, not-for-profit, online, educational, and independent. Her work has been published in Catalyst Magazine and Angela Tandori Fine Art. Jessica is an alumni of UNSW College of Fine Art and Australian Catholic University, having completed a Bachelor in Art Theory, and a Graduate Diploma in Education. She  is currently completing a Master of Arts Management at RMIT University.

Exhibition Attendants

Jirra Lulla

Jirra Lulla Harvey is the founder of Kalinya Communications, a boutique company established to promote the global importance of Indigenous knowledge. In the language of Jirra’s people, the Yorta Yorta of Northern Victoria, Kalinya means good, beautiful and honest and these are her guiding business principles.  Jirra studied Media and Communications at the University of Melbourne where she now guest lectures on the intersection and race and sexuality in pop culture and was an inaugural Indigenous Arts Leadership Fellow with the National Gallery of Australia working in their marketing team.

Dean Cross

Dean Cross is a multi-disciplinary artist working through the sculptural and pictorial fields. His work is often politically and historically engaged, looking to re-contextualise our colonial past, whilst also attempting to re-define what it means to be a 21st Century Australian in our globalised world. Prior to making visual art Dean worked extensively in contemporary dance; his career spanning over a decade and taking him to all corners of the globe.  Dean is proud to have worked with Canberra’s QL2 Dance over many years, and with them he was fortunate enough to receive an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance in 2011 as well as Canberra Critics Circle award in 2015 whilst also being short-listed for Australian Dance Awards in 2014 and 2015. Dean’s work has been exhibited widely across Sydney, including selection for numerous prizes including the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize, where he was invited by internationally renowned artist Shaun Gladwell to participate in the exhibition at the National Art School Gallery, the Macquarie Group Art prize, where Dean’s video work ‘Right Land’s’ received the Highly Commended award judged by artist Joan Ross and most recently the Churchie Emerging Art Prize where is work was acquired by the Queensland University of Technology Art Museum.  Dean was born and raised on Ngunnawal land, however his ancestral roots lie within the Worimi Nation.

Georgia Mokak

Georgia is a proud Djugun woman and member of Yawuru from the Kimberley region of Western Australia, born in Sydney and currently based in Canberra.  She has always been passionate about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, particularly ‘Urban’ based art. Georgia is currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Art History and Curatorship/Bachelor of Arts (Indigenous Studies) at the Australian National University.  She was privileged enough be a participant in the National Gallery of Australia Indigenous Arts Leadership Program in 2011 and am currently volunteering at the National Gallery of Australia with a strong team of Indigenous Australian curators.  Georgia is truly honoured to be surrounded by such strong, proud and passionate Indigenous arts workers and constantly driven and inspired by the incredible talent of Indigenous peoples in both in Australia and all over the world.   

Miranda Johnson

Miranda Johnson is an arts writer and worker from Perth, Western Australia. She completed an MA (Contemporary Art Theory) from Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2015. Miranda currently works in Visitor Services at the Art Gallery of Western Australia as well as on the operational team at Paper Mountain Artist Run Initiative. She is also Visual Arts Editor for the online journal Impassioned Digressions. Some recent writing can be seen in Feral Feminisms journal (Fall 2016).

Amy-Clare McCarthy

Amy-Clare McCarthy is a curator and writer. She is currently the Exhibition Curator at Metro Arts, Brisbane, where she supports contemporary artists in developing exhibitions for their heritage-listed gallery space. In 2016, Amy-Clare curated exhibitions at Firstdraft, Sydney, as part of their Emerging Curators Program, and Boxcopy, Brisbane. She completed her Bachelor of Creative Industries Honours at Queensland University of Technology in Visual Art in 2010, with her honours research considering different modes of viewer participation in contemporary art. In 2011-2012, Amy-Clare undertook internships in New York at MoMA PS1 and e-flux.

Melissa McGrath

 Melissa is a curator, educator and artist from Perth, based in Adelaide. Her practice explores creation and transmission of knowledge, focusing on alternative modes of exhibition as vehicles for value, collection and democracy. Melissa has curated many projects - currently a domestic ARI Reception Project Space; having served as Co-Director of Paper Mountain ARI and completed a curatorial residency at Fremantle Arts Centre. She is presently Manager of Arts Programs at Carclew; previously Education Programs Curator at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts; and Evelyn Kelly Lambert Intern 2015/16 at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice and Nasher Sculpture Center Dallas.

Myles Russell-Cook

Myles Russell-Cook is a Curator, Researcher, and Design Anthropologist with a long-standing interest in Indigenous art. Much of Myles' influence and inspiration comes from his maternal Aboriginal heritage, from Western Victoria with connections into Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands

Myles has worked at Melbourne Museum and the National Gallery of Victoria as both Curator and Collections manager. Myles is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne where his research looks at how the museum absorbs and decolonises its own complex history as both protector and plunderer through access, empowerment, and repatriation.

Sebastian Henry Jones

Sebastian Henry-Jones is finishing a Masters of Art Curating at Sydney University. He finds installation and the exhibition format - and the subtle differences between these - useful ways with which to consider indoor and outdoor environments. Sebastian is the co-founder of Desire Lines, an art performance event in Sydney. He also sits on the board of Down / Under, an artist-run space in Chippendale, Sydney.

Brendan McClearyVIC

Brendan McCleary has an extensive background in arts management, curatorship and exhibition front of house. He was Gallery Manager and Curator of SEVENTH Gallery from 2011 - 2015, during his time launching a series of Emerging Curator Programs. His extensive experience in exhibition tours and Front of House includes work with MPavilion, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Ian Potter Museum, and Dark Mofo Festival. 

Rebecca Holmes

Rebecca Holmes is an artist, art educator and administrator based in Hobart, Tasmania. She works as an art educator at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, is a board member of Constance artist-run initiative, and freelances creating education resources for exhibitions. Prior to moving to Tasmania, Rebecca has worked for Kaldor Public Art Projects in Sydney and Sculpture in the Vineyards in the Hunter Valley. She holds a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Newcastle.

Jane Gillespie

 Jane Gillespie is an experienced arts administrator and emerging curator. She is currently the Program & Events Coordinator at Museums & Galleries of NSW and was a Co-Director at Firstdraft in 2014-2015. Jane has over 12 years’ experience administering arts funding programs, holding positions at Art NSW and the Australia Council. She has also worked at Art Fairs Australia and the Biennale of Sydney. Jane holds a Bachelor of Arts (Art History & Curatorship) from the Australian National University, a Graduate Diploma in Museums Studies from Deakin University, and is currently completing a Masters in Art Curating at the University of Sydney.

Rebekah Raymond

Rebekah Raymond is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman and an emerging curator, writer, and artist. On her mother’s side, Rebekah is Arabana from the Lake Eyre area in South Australia, and on her father’s side, she traces her lineage to Kakadu, Cape York, and the Torres Strait Islands.

Rebekah grew up in the Northern Territory on Limilingan (Limingun) and Wulna Country in the small town of Humpty Doo, and on Larrakia Country in Darwin. Now living on Gadigal land in Sydney, Rebekah is studying archaeology and art history at the University of Sydney, and working in local government.

Adelina Onicas

Shannon Brett

Shannon Brett is a descendant of the Wakka Wakka, Budjula and Gurang Gurang clans of southern Queensland, Australia. She creates and designs artworks indicative of her experiences as an Aboriginal woman living and surviving in modern, urban Australian society. Technically trained in fashion design, graphic & web design, music production, animation, theatre and film. Brett also holds a Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art; Fine Art & Photography via the Queensland College of Art – Griffith University.

In addition to her artistic practice she is currently working with art centres on maintaining successful business arts and marketing procedures. Prior roles include management of the Yarrabah Arts & Cultural Precinct, various panels, leadership and curatorial roles, tertiary teaching and training and also radio announcement.

Melbourne University Interns

Jessica Row

Jessica has six years’ experience in arts and cultural environments, including arts administration and gallery management. She has studied extensively in the Arts, and is currently completing a Master of Art Curatorship at Melbourne University. She has successfully managed delivery for numerous exhibitions, such as Curating “The Ideas Show: Platform” student exhibition in the Experimental Art Spaces of Union House, University of Melbourne

Lara Dykun

Over the last four years, Lara has worked and volunteered in a range of arts and cultural institutions to build up her skills and gain relevant experience in various aspects of exhibitions and collections. These have included working at Museum Victoria, the Koorie Heritage Trust, the Ian Potter Museum of Art, c3 Contemporary Art Space and N/A Space.


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