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Cultural Capital?


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

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... Read more

Claire Spencer

Claire Spencer has been Arts Centre Melbourne’s Chief Executive Officer since November 2014. Prior to Arts Centre Melbourne, Claire was at the Sydney Opera House for nearly 12 years, her last role being Chief Operating Officer, a role she commenced in October 2010. In this capacity, Claire was res... Read more

Katrina Sedgwick

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 ... Read more

Jonathan Holloway

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. Previously Jonathan spent six years as Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, ... Read more


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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.