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Announcing the 2020 Signal Boost mentors

Read Thursday, 15 Oct 2020

Today, we’re excited to announce the mentors who will work with the Signal Boost programme participants for 2020.

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The Wheeler Centre is excited to announce the mentors who’ve been matched with the 2020 Signal Boost programme participants. These mentors will work with our five aspiring Australian podcasters over 6 months to listen and provide support, encouragement, guidance and honest feedback, as well as, share knowledge and experience and encourage the exploration of new ideas and different ways of thinking.

Jess Fairfax (VIC)
Technical mentor
Mentee: Cherie Minniecon 

Jess Fairfax is an experienced creative producer, broadcaster and arts manager.

From 2011–2016, she worked as a project manager for Multicultural Arts Victoria, overseeing a number of large scale events, workshops, mentoring and creative development programs. 

Up until January 2020, Jess co-presented and produced All Our Stories on PBS 106.7FM. The program aimed to shine a light on local stories and featured poets, writers, musicians and passionate minds who felt mis or under-represented in mainstream media. In the nearly nine years broadcasting Jess interviewed more than 800 guests, including musicians, visual artists, poets, academics, historians, activists, community leaders and curators.

Since 2016 she has worked as a freelance audio producer, creating podcasts and radio documentaries for the ABC, Monash University, Arts Centre Melbourne and Climactic. She has also collaborated with The Little Theatre Company to produce Cafe Philosophique, a series that brought together poetry and music to ask the big questions about the things we often take for granted in our lives. The series ran over three seasons at The Alex Theatre and Hotel Esplanade, in St Kilda from 2017–2019 and was funded by the City of Port Phillip.

Jess is also an experienced grant writer, securing funding from local, state and federal government to execute events, music and video productions and community engagement programs. In 2017 she was an advisory panel assessor for the Creative Victoria VicArts grants.

Jess is currently completing a Masters of Environment at the University of Melbourne, researching the impact of environmental policy and action from the global to the local level. 

Masako Fukui (NSW)
Mentee: Karishma Luthria

Masako Fukui is an independent audio producer, writer and bilingual journalist. She is a regular contributor to ABC RN and teaches audio features and documentaries at AFTRS. She has won a number of international and Australian awards for her audio work.

Previously, she was a bilingual radio and print journalist for major news organisations in Tokyo and Sydney including NHK (Japan’s public broadcaster), the New York Times, and Nikkei, Japan’s major economic and financial daily newspaper.

In a previous incarnation, Masako was a sexuality/health educator. She is also an enthusiastic cook and Japanese cooking teacher. Masako was born in New Delhi. She is now based in Sydney.

Natasha Mitchell (VIC)
Mentee: Linh Do 

Natasha Mitchell is a multi-award winning science journalist, host, audio producer and podcaster with ABC Radio National and ABC Science. She is the presenter and producer of the weekly culture and science show, Science Friction, which won best Science and Medicine Podcast at the 2019 Australian Podcast Awards. She has presented flagship national radio programmes including Life Matters (2012–2016), and as founder of the popular show and podcast All in the Mind (2002–2012). Natasha served as a board member and vice president of the World Federation of Science Journalists, was recipient of the MIT Knight Journalism Fellowship, and her work has been recognised with the New York Radio Festivals’ Grand Prize and four Gold World Medals, amongst other awards. She was co-editor of the book anthology, Best Australian Science Writing 2013 and served on the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Advisory Committee.

She has an engineering degree from Monash University, and a postgraduate diploma in science communication from the Australian National University. She regularly facilitates events, debates and public forums around Australia, including a series of four science dialogues with the Dalai Lama and leading scientists. Outside of work, she gardens, cooks, goes to live music gigs, hugs dogs, does yoga, adores trees and everything botanical, hangs out with friends in country Victoria, and still loves punk music.

Rudi Bremer (NSW)
Mentee: Maddison Miller

Rudi Bremer has been a radio broadcaster since 2012. Having honed her skills at community radio, Rudi initially joined the ABC as a master control technician before returning to her producer roots in 2017. She has a unique perspective on how the ABC works – from chasing interviews to switching satellites.

As the producer of Radio National’s Awaye! and presenter of ABC Kids Listen’s Little Yarns Rudi relishes the opportunity to share her love of performing arts, literature and Indigenous languages – like her own, Gamilaraay.

(Photo credit: ABC RN / Teresa Tan)

Sherre DeLys (NSW)
Mentee: Nicole Pingon 

Sherre DeLys’ multi-disciplinary work focuses on deep listening. Described as ‘symphonic soundscape’ by the Prix Italia Jury 2016, her radio works have received several of the world’s most respected awards for storytelling and sound art, while her audio compositions and documentary soundscapes have been performed at Centre Pompidou, Southbank Centre, Chicago Cultural Center, Sydney Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and elsewhere.

Her recent performance, The Listening Room for The Big Anxiety Festival’s ‘Empathy Clinic’, invited participants to ‘speak, and be heard in silence, without judgement’, and she is currently lending her expertise to UNSW National Institute for Experimental Arts’ felt Experience & Empathy Lab to help develop a therapeutic Virtual Reality experience that allows users to ‘listen in’ to their feelings, thoughts and emotions. She teaches mindfulness to patients and their carers at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Cancer Research Hospital and to emerging Human-Centred Design leaders at RMIT, and she co-develops the ‘Art + Dharma’ education strand at Barre Centre for Buddhist Studies in the US.

Her practice-led PhD research explores how artists can thrive in uncertainty – creative and connected, and builds on a Hemera Foundation Fellowship where she explored the intersection of art, meditation and Buddhist practice. A former Australia Council New Media Arts Fellow, she co-founded the seminal 80s improvising music group Mind Body Split, and since then Sherre has collaborated with many artists and architects making sound installations for museums and festivals including Sydney Biennale and Sydney Olympics, and sound designs for Sydney Theatre Company, along with radio and performance. She’s been a staff features producer for WNYC and ABC, where she also founded a multi-award winning participatory media project described by The Conversation as ‘an outstanding exercise that explored new ways for the broadcaster to listen to its audience and collaborate with them’.

(Photo credit: Cynthia Sciberras)

Timmah Ball (VIC)
Editorial mentor
Mentee: Cherie Minniecon

Timmah Ball is a nonfiction writer, researcher and creative practitioner of Ballardong Noongar heritage. In 2018 she co-created Wild Tongue Zine for Next Wave Festival with Azja Kulpinska which interrogated labor inequality in the arts industry. In 2016 she won the Westerly magazine Patricia Hackett Prize, and her writing has appeared in a range of anthologies and literary journals.

Signal Boost is presented by the Wheeler Centre and is generously supported by the Ian Potter Foundation.

For more information about Signal Boost, visit our project page or watch this year’s programme launch event. 

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