In 2015, a bevy of bright new brains will make their mark on Melbourne’s cultural scene, as new directors start work at some of our most cherished institutions: Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Festival and Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).
In an event jam-packed with creative thinkers and big ideas, Claire Spencer (Arts Centre Melbourne), Katrina Sedgwick (ACMI) and Jonathan Holloway (Melbourne Festival) – well known for their work in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and beyond – will get serious with Wheeler Centre director Michael Williams. Together, they’ll address the most pressing questions, confront the immediate challenges and exercise their keen instincts, as they explore the artistic future of Melbourne.
Are we still a city of big dreams and new voices? Are we maintaining the cultural edge that’s earned us the badge of Australia’s cultural capital? And do we take ourselves too seriously, or is there a sense of humour about our treasured status as the home of black clothes, cafes with crates and the perfect flat white?
We’ll get beyond laneways and trams, in an honest assessment of who we are … and where we’re going next.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.
He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian and elsewhere.
Claire Spencer has been Arts Centre Melbourne’s Chief Executive Officer since November 2014.
Katrina has been Director & CEO of ACMI since 2015. She has a particular interest in supporting cross-disciplinary practice and an extensive background as a commissioner, creative producer and festival director. Her previous roles include Head of Arts for the national broadcaster ABC TV as well as founding Director/CEO of Adelaide Film Festival. The Festival’s $1 million AUD AFF Investment Fund was recognised with a week-long celebration at MoMA in 2011. She is on a number of arts and advisory boards, and in 2020 was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to performing arts, screen industries and visual arts administration.
Jonathan Holloway is Artistic Director Designate for the Melbourne Festival, having just completed four successful years as Artistic Director of the Perth International Arts Festival.