Learn about the Asia Pacific Creative Cities Conference panellists

Patricia Adjei, Arts Practice Director First Nations Arts and Culture, Australia Council for the Arts

Patricia is a Wuthathi, Mabuiag Islander and Ghanaian woman from Sydney. Patricia has Bachelors of Arts and Law from UNSW. She currently works at the Australia Council for the Arts as the Director, First Nations arts and culture. She is also a 2018 Churchill fellow and looked at the laws in the USA and Panama that protect Indigenous arts and culture. She previously worked at the Copyright Agency, NITV and Arts Law Centre of Australia in legal roles. She served on the City of Sydney, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory panel and Moogahlin Performing Arts Board. In 2010, Patricia worked at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva as the Indigenous Intellectual Property Law Fellow. Patricia has also worked as a lawyer at the Arts Law Centre of Australia and National Indigenous TV. She is also a published author on Indigenous cultural intellectual property rights.


Prof. Dr. Woralun Boonyasurat, Chiang Mai UNESCO City of Craft and Folk Art Focal Point | Director of Social Research Institute Chiang Mai University

Associate Professor Dr. Woralun Boonyasurat Learning B.A. in Thai Art, Chiang Mai University, M.A in History of Architecture and Ph.D in Architectural Heritage Management and Tourism at Silpakorn University. She has played an important role in the Viharn Phra Chao Pun Ong Restoration Project that won Merit Award in 2008 - UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation Project, which has been an exemplary conservation project, that actively cooperates with the local community, monks, photographer, traditional craft persons and local authorities.

In 2009, she attained Excellence Award in Art and Culture Conservation to “The Little People in Conservation Group” by the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage. She’s written many publications, which highlight architecture and cultural heritage. Aside from lecturing at Faculty of Fine Arts, she is also Focal Point of UNESCO Creative City Network: Chiang Mai and Director of Social Research Institute, Chiang Mai University.

Timothy Chin, Senior Director of Arts and Heritage, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth in Singapore


As Senior Director (Arts and Heritage) at the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), Timothy formulates and drives strategies, policies and programmes related to the development of Singapore’s cultural landscape. His key partners include the National Arts Council, National Heritage Board, and Singapore’s cultural institutions. Timothy is also the Trust Secretary of the Cultural Matching Fund established by MCCY to promote cultural philanthropy.

Prior to his current appointment, Timothy worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including at the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta and High Commission in
New Delhi. He has also worked at the Ministry of Education. Timothy is currently a Board Director of the Singapore Art Museum, the Singapore Arts School Limited, and SISTIC. Learn more about the work of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth in Singapore here.​

Paula Cuff, Māori Strategy & Partnerships, Creative New Zealand

Paula is a relationship builder, connector and senior manager of Creative New Zealand who leads its national strategy for Māori arts (ngā toi) and vision to make ngā toi Māori “visible everywhere and highly valued, as part of New Zealand’s distinct identity, which is admired globally’’. Often Paula advocates across the most senior areas of government and into the Pacific region.

Before joining Creative New Zealand in 2016, Paula worked at governance and operational levels assisting iwi (tribes) and organisations to achieve their strategic goals. She has more than 20 years’ experience managing and delivering public and private sector projects and significant historical Treaty settlement sector experience including advocating for iwi claimant groups and negotiating and implementing a wide range of funding and contracting programmes. Paula is passionate about using her influence to achieve more positive results for Māori, in a meaningful and substantive way that produces benefits for all New Zealanders. Paula is of Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Ruahine, Nga Rauru and Te Atiawa tribal descent. She is mother to four sporty teenage boys, and lives in Wellington NZ.

Limin Cui, Director of Department of Creative Cities at Beijing Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Planning and Design Institute

Limin Cui has been Director of Department of Creative Cities at Beijing Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Planning and Design Institute since January 2018. He has also served Head of Cultural Heritage Protection Department at Beijing Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Planning and Design Institute from 2007-2013. His other professional experience also includes Chief Engineer at Beijing Guowenya Conservation and Development of Cultural Heritage CO., Ltd from 2013-2018. Cui graduated from North China University of Technology, and holds a bachelor’s degree of architecture.

Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of the Macau Government Tourist Office and Macao UNESCO City of Gastronomy focal point

Maria Helena came on board the Marketing Department of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) in 1988, and throughout the years organized many local and overseas tourism exhibitions, conferences, seminars, marketing, and promotional activities of different scale. She became one of the two Deputy Directors in September of 1998, where she continues to be highly involved in the marketing and promotion of Macao as a tourism destination. She was appointed as Director of MGTO in December of 2012. In 2016, Ms. Fernandes was awarded the Medal of Merit – Tourism by the Macao Special Administrative Region Government. Maria Helena concurrently serves as Coordinator of the Tourism Crisis Management Office of the Macao SAR Government and is member of the Tourism Development Committee, Economic Development Committee, Cultural Advisory Committee, Committee of Cultural Industries, Urban Planning Committee, Investment Committee, among others, of the Macao SAR Government. In May 2018, Director Senna Fernandes was elected as Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Secretary/Treasurer 2018/2020.

Binota Moy Dhamai, Executive Council Member, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

Binota Moy Dhamai, an Indigenous Jumma-Tripura from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), Bangladesh. He has more than 15 years working experience on human rights and indigenous peoples at the national, regional and international level. He is currently the Executive Member of the Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples (Adivasi) Forum, and Executive Council Member of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Chiang Mai, Thailand – representing South Asia Sub-region, Convenor of the AIPP Human Rights Program Committee and Member of the Environment Program Committee. He is a Member of the Board of Trustee of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples (UNVFIP), Member of the Board, International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net).

Since 2009, he has been acting as the Coordinator of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Caucus to the UN Permanent Forum on indigenous issues (UNPFii) and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP)―a subsidiary body of the Human Rights Council.

He was part of the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP 2014) and played role as the Co-representative of the Asia region to the Indigenous Global Coordinating Group (GCG) from May 2012 to November 2014. He has experienced working on the promotion of core international human rights treaties, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and the applications of the UN Special Procedures, Treaty Monitoring Bodies and the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council. He is passionate about indigenous people’s issue, advocate and follower of issues that deal with the development of indigenous peoples’ empowerment.

Pippa Dickson, Director of Asialink Arts, University of Melbourne

Pippa is the Director of Asialink Arts. Asialink is Australia’s leading organisation for the promotion of public understanding of the countries of Asia and of Australia's role in the region. Since 1991 Asialink Arts has been expanding the horizons of Australian artists and forging connections with arts professionals, institutions and organisations. Pippa has extensive arts leadership experience having worked as a director, project manager and consultant in the private and public sectors for close to twenty years. She was formerly Chair of Design Tasmania, and Co-Chair of the National Craft Initiative for the National Association for the Visual Arts and the founding CEO of the Glenorchy Art & Sculpture Park (GASP) from 2008 until 2016. At GASP Pippa was responsible for formulating and implementing strategic priorities, as well as governance structures, partnerships and funds development, raising over $10million for architectural projects and national and international art commissions. In this role Pippa led a strong community consultation campaign and advocacy at a Local, State and Federal level, working with varied communities as well as arts, civic and business leaders to facilitate change and develop a shared vision. In the region, she is an International Advisor to the Cheongju International Craft Biennale (South Korea) 2017 and 2019 and undertook a mentorship at the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (Hong Kong) with former CEO Michael Lynch, AO CBE in 2015


Douglas Gautier, Artistic Director & CEO Adelaide Festival Centre

Douglas Gautier is CEO & Artistic Director of Adelaide Festival Centre. Douglas’ program innovations include Adelaide Festival Centre’s Adelaide Guitar Festival and Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival. A showcase of cultural links between Australia and Asia and a dynamic platform for engagement, OzAsia Festival is Australia’s premier international contemporary arts festival focusing on Asia. Since 2018, OzAsia features the Jaipur Literature Festival, a satellite event of the cultural phenomenon that celebrates the stories and heritage of South Asia and takes a global view of contemporary literature and critical thought.

Douglas Gautier came to Adelaide Festival Centre after leading one of the world’s great arts festivals as Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival. A resident of Asia for 25 years and with international experience in media, tourism, and the arts, he remains closely connected and active in fostering Asian-Australian cultural engagement. Douglas held the posts of Deputy Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Director of Corporate Affairs and Marketing for STAR TV (the Asia-wide satellite television network of Newscorp). He was founding Vice-Chairman of the Asian Arts Festival Association and a board member of the Asian Cultural Council (Rockefeller Foundation).

In 2013, Douglas was elected Chair of the Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres (AAPPAC). AAPPAC is the peak cultural body in the Asia-Pacific region with its membership including capital city arts venues across Asia Pacific. He is also the Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for Arts and Cultural Leadership, a member of the new Australia-Singapore Arts Group, an Executive Councillor of Live Performance Australia, an advisor to the Hong Kong Arts Festival, a Flinders University Councillor, and an adjunct professor of the University of South Australia.

Douglas Gautier was a key driver in the successful bid for Adelaide’s accreditation as a UNESCO Creative City for Music and in 2016 was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the arts and the community.

Xin Gu, UNESCO Expert - Diversity of Creative Expressions, Lecturer Monash University

Xin Gu is the director of the Master of Cultural and Creative Industries (MCCI) at Monash University in Australia. She has published widely on urban creative clusters and agglomerations, cultural work, creative entrepreneurship, cultural and creative industries policy, media cities, maker culture and cyberculture in China. Xin has worked with policy initiatives in the UK, China and Indonesia to support small-scale local creative industries development services.

Her work focuses on the transformation of creative cities and the creative economy under different social, economic and political conditions. Xin is the world-leading expert in contextualizing Western discourses in Asia and of convergence and divergences in the globalized creative economy. Xin’s current research concerns the digital creative economy, looking at the democratization of creativity through vast transformative digital media ecosystems. To read some of Xin’s work, click here

Geon Soo Han, Bucheon City of Literature focal point

Geon Soo Han is Professor in the Department of Cultural Anthropology, Kangwon National University in Korea. He studied Anthropology at Seoul National University (BA) and University of California at Berkeley (MA and Ph.D.). His research fields are anthropology of tourism, international migration, refugee and diaspora, human trafficking, multicultural policies, and African studies (focusing on Nigeria and Ghana). He is a member of committee for the multicultural family policy, committee for the foreigners’ policy in the Prime Minister’s Office and a member of the refugee committee of Korean government.

He has researched the creative cities in Korea extensively and a member of advisory committee for the UNESCO Creative Cities of the Korean National Commission for UNESCO. He publishes many articles on the issue of migrant workers, marriage-based migrant women and their families, human trafficking victims, and multicultural policies in Korea, including African migrant views on Korean people and culture and Multicultural Korea: Celebration or challenge of multiethnic shift in contemporary Korea

Maree Grenfell, Resilient Melbourne Learning and Network Manager, Resilient Melbourne, Deputy Chief Resilience Officer 100 Resilient Cities Network representative

For the past five years Maree has been Melbourne’s Deputy Chief Resilience Officer for the 100 Resilient Cities program – pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, developing and now implementing Melbourne’s first resilience strategy. Maree is an accomplished change strategist with a track record of achievement across the community, private and government sectors. Her work focuses primarily on complex multi-stakeholder initiatives and pioneering projects to build capability, and collaborative capacity at a neighbourhood, city and national level.

A strategic and creative thinker, she brings a new mindset to old themes. She draws on an eclectic background in urban design, sustainability, social psychology and economic impact to create and deliver transformational programs that shift mindsets and practice around inclusive communities and resilient environments. Her signature strength is working with people, identifying and resolving barriers, bringing clarity and purpose to projects while injecting creativity and enthusiasm. Her goal is a community-centred future in which cities and human wellbeing are interdependent.

Eric Falt, Director and UNESCO Representative for the UNESCO New Delhi Office

Since May 2018, Eric has served as the Director and UNESCO Representative for the UNESCO New Delhi Office, which covers Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. Eric previously served as Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information at the Paris Headquarters of UNESCO, with the rank of Assistant Secretary-General of the UN. He oversaw the work of the organisation in the political field and guided UNESCO’s communications and public information efforts. Prior to this, he served as Director of the Outreach Division at the United Nations Department of Public Information in New York, and as the Director of Communications for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), at its headquarters in Nairobi. Eric has also worked for the United Nations in Pakistan, Iraq, Haiti and Cambodia.

Dwinita 'Tita' Larasati, Bandung UNESCO City of Design focal point

Dwinita 'Tita' Larasati was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, before pursuing her study at Industrial Design Program, Faculty of Art & Design, Institute of Technology Bandung (ITB). She continued her study at Design Academy Eindhoven, then completed her doctoral degree at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. Returning to Bandung, she co-founded Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF) in 2008 and currently chairs the organisation (2018-2022). She chaired Bandung Creative Economy Committee (2014-2019), and now acts as the focal point for Bandung City of Design for UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) since 2015. In 2014 she chaired a Working Group for Creative Economy that produced recommendations for Indonesian Creative Economy, and has since been deeply involved in constructing creative economy bills & regulations for Bandung Municipality and West Java Province.

In 2015 she co-founded Indonesia Creative Cities Network (ICCN) that connects creative communities & initiatives in more than 200 cities all over Indonesia; now serving as ICCN Deputy for International Relations. She is also the Vice President, Science & Society, of The Indonesian Young Academy of Science (ALMI). Her main occupation is as a lecturer and researcher at ITB, while creating and publishing graphic diary in her spare time. Read more about the Bandung Creative City Forum here.


Joseph Mitchel, Artistic Director of OzAsia Festival

 Joseph is an experienced arts festival and theatre director. Currently Artistic Director of OzAsia Festival in Adelaide, his first festival program was delivered in September 2015, setting new records for audience attendance and introducing a bold new contemporary-focused vision for Asian arts in Australia. Under Joseph’s stewardship, OzAsia Festival has been referred to as Australia’s ‘necessary festival’ by RealTime Arts for its unique focus on contemporary Asian arts and as an avenue to support Australian-Asian arts collaboration. Prior to OzAsia Festival, Joseph worked as Senior Director and Producer at Luminato Festival in Canada (2014) and Executive Producer for Brisbane International Arts Festival in Australia (2011 – 2013).

Joseph is also an accomplished theatre director and was engaged at Queensland Theatre Company (2006 – 2011) where he directed more than 10 productions including Waiting for Godot, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Ruby Moon, Man Equals Man, Beckett x 3 and a wide selection of new and classic Australian works. Most recently he directed Boojum! (2019) for the State Opera of South Australia. Joseph completed his formal education at Victorian College of the Arts with a Graduate Diploma in Theatre Direction (2004) and at Newcastle University where he majored in Film, Journalism and Theatre (2001).

Ms Nisha, Director of Office and UNESCO Representative to the Pacific States 

Nisha is the Director of Office and UNESCO Representative to the Pacific States, Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands (Republic of), Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Nisha brings around 30 years of experiences to her current role as the Director of Office and UNESCO Representative to the Pacific States. Of her experiences, around 24 years have been focused on multi-sector development and humanitarian emergency response, including child and women’s rights, gender equality, education and training, labour and human rights, peace building, disaster risk reduction, emergency response and recovery, governance reform, and development initiatives focused on local and national capacity building.

Prior to working with the UNESCO, Nisha worked internationally with Oxfam GB, Christian Aid, UNDP, UNIFEM and the ILO in several countries in East and Horn of Africa, South Asia, and Arab States, and with civil society organizations in India. In her current role, Nisha coordinates UNESCO’s programmatic work covering education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture and intangible heritage, and information and communication in the sub-region. Read more about the UNESCO Office in APIA here

Justin O’Connor, Professor Creative Economy, University of South Australia

Justin O’Connor is Professor of Cultural Economy at the University of South Australia, and visiting Professor in the Department of Cultural Management, Shanghai Jiaotong University.

He was part of the UNESCO 2005 Convention ‘Expert Facility’ (2012-8) and a board member of Renew Australia. Justin has two ARC Discovery projects: UNESCO and the Making of Global Cultural Policy: Culture, Economy, Development, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific; Urban Cultural Policy and the Changing Dynamics of Cultural Production​, looking at Melbourne, Berlin and Milan. He has just completed an ARC Working the Field, a study on graduate careers of creative arts programs in Australia and China, and two previous ones on Creative Clusters in China and Australia and The MONA Effect. He is the author of the 2016 Platform Paper After the Creative Industries: Why we need a cultural economy and is finalising a book with Xin Gu Red Creative: Culture and Modernity in China (Routlede). He is co-editor of the 2015 Routledge Companion to the Cultural Industries, and with Rong Yueming (2018) Cultural Industries in Shanghai (Intellect). Justin produced a research paper on the cultural economy for ACOLA on Cultural Industries and Comparative Advantage, a scoping paper on Creative Industries and Soft Power for DEFAT, and a study of creative industries in Tasmania for Creative Island and Department of State Growth.

Craig Ritchie, CEO of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Craig Ritchie is an Aboriginal man of the Dhunghutti and Biripi nations and is the Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

Craig joined AIATSIS as Deputy CEO in April 2016, and was formally appointed CEO in May 2017. Craig has worked in other senior roles within the APS, most recently in the Department of Education and Training 2011-2016 in roles heading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education, higher education access and participation for people from low-SES backgrounds, and international student mobility, as well as founding Director, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in the ACT Government. Craig has extensive experience in the community sector, including as CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) - the peak advocacy body for Aboriginal community controlled health services.

Craig is the only Indigenous Commonwealth Government agency head and a founding member of the APS Indigenous SES Network. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Technology Sydney where he also serves on the ViceChancellor’s Industry Advisory Board. Craig studied History, Classics and Education at the University of Newcastle and has a post-graduate qualification in management and is currently completing his PhD at the Australian National University. His thesis topic is Culture and Policymaking: Towards Better Aboriginal Policy and explores the cultural basis of contemporary policymaking and researching the recalibration of policymaking systems on the basis of Aboriginal culture.

Raymundo Rovillos, Professor of History & Chancellor University of the Philippines Baguio

Dr. Raymundo D. Rovillos has been Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Baguio since 2012 to the present. During his term as Chancellor, he has repositioned the 7th Constituent University of the University of the Philippines System as a hub for culture and arts in the Cordillera and Northern Luzon region, Philippines. Under his watch, the UP Baguio Ethnographic Museum as established, which now serves as the nucleus of creativity and innovation in crafts and folk arts in the University and the region. Dr. Rovillos was also instrumental (as a key mover) in the application process leading to the declaration of Baguio City as the first Philippine city to be included in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in October 2017. He now serves in the Advisory Council of Baguio Crafts and Arts Collective, Inc. (BACCI) which he helped to establish. His areas of research and development interests include: indigenous studies, ethnohistory, heritage (public history) and gender and development.

Bill Spurr, SA Economic Advisory Council

Bill has had an extensive career in the tourism, hospitality and event industries in South Australia. A former Chief Executive Officer of the S.A. Tourism Commission Bill currently chairs the Board of Adelaide Venue Management Corporation (responsible for the operations of the Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide Entertainment Centre and Hindmarsh Football Stadium). He is also a board member of ZoosSA and a member of the Premier's Economic Advisory Council.

Bill is an adjunct Professor of Tourism at Flinders University and was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2015 for "distinguished service to the tourism, to education, particularly through international marketing, to the arts and sports as an administrator of institutions and events, and to the community of South Australia." To find out more about the South Australian Tourism Commission, click here.

Kanoko Tamura, Director of Communication Design, Sapporo International Art Festival

Image credit: Hajime Kato

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Tamura runs Art Translators Collective, an organization specializing in interpretation and translation in art. She explores the possibilities of creative communication and translation as a mediator while working in many fields, including interpretation, translation, editing and publicity in Japanese and English. She also works as a translation director responsible for coordinating optimal dialogue strategies according to the context of a given event or publication.

In April 2019, Tamura was appointed as the Director of Communication Design for Sapporo International Art Festival 2020, to thoroughly braid together the relationship between the artists, the exhibition, and the viewer. In the Global Art Practice Program of the Graduate School of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tamura teaches a course to nurture communication skills for young artists as a part-time lecturer. She graduated from Tufts University (U.S.) with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and Architecture in 2008 and from Tokyo University of the Arts with a B.A. in Inter-media Art in 2013. She is a member of Arts Commons Tokyo.

Mathew Trinca, Director of National Museum of Australia, ASAG Co-Chair

Dr Mathew Trinca is the Director of the National Museum of Australia, Chair of ICOM Australia, and Co-Chair of the Australia Singapore Arts Group.

Under Dr Trinca’s leadership, the National Museum has developed strongly engaged national and international programs that focus on bringing alive the stories of Australia for audiences around the country and overseas. The Museum has partnerships and programs with a range of cultural institutions abroad, including organisations in Singapore, China, Japan, Vietnam, France and the United Kingdom. Mathew’s interests span the 20th century history of Australia, with a focus on the social and cultural relationships between Britain and Australia. He also has a professional interest in the historical and contemporary links between Australia and Asia. His publications include contributions to debates on museum theory and practice, the history of Australian travel to the United Kingdom, on convictism in Western Australia, and on that State’s constitutional history.

Hiroko Tsuboi-Friedman, Board member, Kanagawa Prefecture Arts and Cuture Promotion Council, UNESCO Expert Facility

Hiroko is a member of the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility on the governance of culture, supporting various areas of the implementation of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the Board for Kanagawa Prefecture Arts and Culture Promotion Council. She works closely with CSOs such as Odawara Citizens Working Group, International Council of Museums (ICOM) and its Japan Committee and International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity dealing with cultural policies from wide angles.

Prior to becoming a Director at Shiroyama Consulting Ltd., Hiroko was a Senior Policy Researcher of the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, focusing on Cohesive Society policy in charge of international youth exchange, bringing strategic enhancement of impact and quality of various programmes to increase diversity awareness and cross-cultural understanding for youth development, international cooperation and cultural diplomacy with countries of all regions of the world. She has experience in art exhibition organization, performing arts management and translation/interpretation with focus on arts and culture, youth, finance, intellectual property and patent issues. Hiroko’s special interests include culture and sustainable development, cultural diversity and competency, and capacity building for youth.

Manawa Udy, Founder, Ngahere Communities, Indigenous Enterprise

Manawa is the founder and managing director of Ngahere Communities, as well as the founder and creative director of Bob + Bob Creative. She was born and raised on the shores of Lake Rotorua, New Zealand. Manawa grew up within Te Ao Maori (the Maori world) amongst her wider whanau (family), where she was taught that people, and our natural world, are the most important things. Manawa has a varied background, which has seen her work as a photographer, storyteller and innovator. She has spent many years as a youth mentor and held several youth and community development roles within Auckland Council. Her diverse experience in social innovation and entrepreneurship has been applied to start initiatives that benefit at risk young people, refugees and now the creators, innovators and entrepreneurs of Manukau (South Auckland), New Zealand.

Manawa has founded multiple social impact initiatives, including Ngahere Communities, a social enterprise building an intentional community of creators, innovators and entrepreneurs in South Auckland, New Zealand. They are the operators of Te Haa o ManukauBob + Bob Creative, a digital storytelling agency specialising in telling stories of social, cultural and environmental impact using today's digital platforms, Puketapapa Community Driving School, a one-for-one model driving school, providing support to young people and ethnic women in NZ’s most ethnically diverse community, Mt Roskill and Mustard Seed, an Augmented Entrepreneurship Pathway, providing development for early stage entrepreneurs and low risk, high impact purchasing diversity avenues for corporate and government agencies. The Mustard Seed Creator Studio opens in Spring 2019.

Sandy Verschoor, Lord Mayor City of Adelaide

Sandy is a first-generation Australian of Dutch, French, Portuguese and Ceylonese descent. Her parents gave her a deep-rooted understanding of business, an adventurous spirit, commercial acumen and a love of the arts. 

Sandy was elected as an Area Councillor in the 2015 by-election and served as Deputy Lord Mayor from June 2017 to November 2018. She has had a career in both the public and private enterprise, not-for-profits, and Local and State government, including three years as General Manager City Culture and Community Services for the City of Adelaide.

Sandy has contributed to the success of Adelaide’s thriving arts and culture community for more than two decades, including having been CEO of the Adelaide Fringe and the Adelaide Festival, as well as producer of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas in 2018. She has been on numerous boards including the Adelaide Convention Bureau, Premier’s Climate Change Council, Adelaide Film Festival, Capital City Committee, as well as a trustee of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust and Chairs a disability housing solutions organisation Aliro Ltd.

As Lord Mayor, Sandy is keen to keep costs low for residents and businesses by reducing red tape, strengthening Adelaide’s global reputation for culture, climate change action, and entrepreneurialism, preserving Adelaide’s heritage, and enhancing the city’s precincts and main streets for the benefit of local small business owners and the community. Read more about the City of Adelaide here.

Jean Wee, Director, Preservation of Sites and Monuments, Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Heritage Board, UNESCO World Heritage

Jean Wee was appointed the first director of the Preservation of Sites and Monuments (PSM) in 2009. PSM’s key function is to research and identify for preservation, structures of significance for recommendation to the government. She has been involved in shaping preservation policy as well as defining and driving the role of the PSM to ensure that Singapore’s built architectural heritage is protected and restored.

Previously, Jean was the Assistant Director at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) in charge of education and outreach as well as curator for Indian Art. She has curated several art exhibitions merging art with other disciplines and was commissioner for Singapore’s participation in the 2005 Daejeon Digital Art Festival in Korea. She also curated From the Everyday to the Imagined, the SAM’s only exhibition featuring Progressive Indian Contemporary artists and was invited to guest curate at the National University Museum in Seoul (2007). From 2017, she was curator of National University's conservation property, the Baba House.

Jean played a key role in Singapore’s effort to gazette its inaugural UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015 and has represented Singapore at UNESCO World Heritage Committee meetings and associated fields of work. She has contributed to several juries and committees on architectural heritage and is currently a governing Board member of SEAMEO - Project in Archaeology in Fine Arts (SPAFA). She has edited and authored publications - Decoration & Symbolism in Chinese Architecture (2013) and Connections: History and Architecture, City Hall and Supreme Court (2016). Read more about the Preservation of Sites and Monuments in Singapore here.

Mark Wee, Executive Director of Design Singapore

Mark leads the Council in driving and implementing national policies on design as DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) continues on its Design 2025 journey—which is to make Singapore an innovation-driven economy and a loveable city, by design. 

Before joining Dsg, Mark led the Experience Design practice at ONG&ONG, the design group’s innovation and strategy arm, alongside founding his own award-winning architectural practice ANNEX A. Mark is a design thinking pioneer in Singapore, having designed award-winning innovative experiences for the public and private sector. He has redefined user experiences for clients such as the Housing & Development Board, Singapore Airlines, the Singapore Stock Exchange, FRANK by OCBC, and Sentosa, alongside many others.

An award-winning architect, Mark was recognised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in 2017 as the top 20 Under 45 architects in Singapore that would define the next generation. He also represented Singapore at the 2008 La Biennale di Venezia. A keen educator, he has taught a wide range of design subjects from architecture and interior design, to most recently teaching digital innovation and service design at NUS Institute of Systems Science. Mark is passionate about how good design is key to shaping more desirable products, services, and places for people, and how it is increasingly being seen as an effective tool for social change. His book Let's Experience Design! is available in most major physical and online bookstores.

Zhou Xiaoping, Artist, Director & Curator of Special Research Projects, Museum of Chinese Australian History   

 Zhou Xiaoping is a Melbourne-based artist and curator, born and educated in China. Since 1988 he has been actively engaged with Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land and the Kimberley. 

He has created a unique artistic style by incorporating his new Aboriginal experiences into the traditional Chinese classic painting that he had learnt in China. Chinese and Aboriginal arts and cultures meet in his artworks, generating a new aesthetic while telling his story in Australia. Zhou's collaboration with the late Jimmy Pike resulted in the first exhibition of Aboriginal art work at Hefei Jiuliumi Art Museum, Hefei, China in 1996, and then held at the National Gallery of China in 1999.

He was the driving force behind the ten-year Trepang: China and the Story of Macassan--Aboriginal Trade project from 2002 to 2011, in collaboration with Professor Marcia Langton, Foundation Chair in Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne, which led to several exhibitions and a significant publication. Zhou was the principal artist in Trepang: China & the Story of Macassan – Aboriginal Trade, both at The Capital Museum in Beijing and the Melbourne Museum in Australia in 2011. Zhou has held 50 solo exhibitions worldwide, and has published two Chinese language books on his experiences with Aboriginal communities. He has worked on a mural project at Mutitjulu in Central Australia. In 2014, he was invited to undertake a residency at the University of French Polynesia and Museum of Tahiti and its Islands. 

Most recently, Zhou was awarded the Australia China Council grant to tour his solo exhibition Dialogues with The Dreaming – the art of Zhou Xiaoping in Australia. The key component of the project is to conduct educational lectures at 15 major universities and 6 public talks at community libraries, to create dialogues with local artists during the exhibitions to share the stories of Aboriginal culture through his personal experience as a Chinese Australian artist. Check out more information about Zhou Xiaoping here.

Ting Xu, Shenzhen City of Design Promotion Association (SDPA) and Shenzhen UNESCO City of Design focal point

Ting Xu is the Secretary-General, Shenzhen City of Design Promotion Association (SDPA). SDPA is a semi-official and non-profit body commissioned by Shenzhen municipal government to manage and brand the City of Design program. It is the focal point for UNESCO Creative Cities Network program, maintaining liaison with UNESCO and other creative cities around the world. Other missions of SDPA include planning and executing major design projects such as the Shenzhen Design Award for Young Talents (SDAY), consolidating different design forces and resources in Shenzhen for the benefit of the design community and the city as a whole, (e.g. branding Shenzhen designs and the city itself), enhancing the exchange and cooperation in the creative sectors between Shenzhen and other cities around the world, facilitating
design education and student exchange programs, etc.

SDPA is also the organizer of Shenzhen Design Week and Shenzhen Global Design Award (SDA). Ting was the co-curator of the 2nd and 3rd HK-SZ Design Biennale, and curator of HK-SZ Creative Furniture Exhibition. Before heading SDPA, Mr. Xu was the director for communication and cooperation for Shenzhen Creative Culture Center, initiating and executing the first edition of Shenzhen Design Award for Young Talents (SDAY), managing cooperative design projects between Shenzhen and other cities, exploring for global design cooperation and partnership, and promoting Shenzhen creative industries internationally. Learn more about the Shenzhen City of Design Promotion Association here and the Shenzen Design Award here.

Yang Zhi, Minister Counselor for Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

Mr Yang is currently the Minister Counselor for cultural affairs at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, graduated from the English Dept of Heilongjiang University, Beijing University for Foreign Studies and the Scandinavian International Management Institute respectively, EMBA; since 1989, he joined the Bureau for External Cultural Relations of the Ministry of Culture, People’s Republic of China and worked respectively in the Division of African Affairs and the Division of Protocol; during 1991-1996, he was posted as the Third and Second Secretary  respectively in the Chinese Embassy in Denmark;since 1996, he was respectively appointed as the Assistant Policy Adviser in the Division of Western European Affairs and later in the Division of Asian Affairs, Deputy Director and Policy Adviser and later Director of the Division of Multi-lateral Affairs (at the same time as the Director of the Office for Cultural Events of Beijing Olympic Games); in 2009, he was promoted as the Assistant Director General of the Bureau for External Cultural Relations (in charge of the Division of Multi-lateral Affairs, Division of Arabian Affairs and Office of Expo Cultural Events); in 2010, he was promoted as the first Director General, International Training Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-pacific Region under the Auspices of UNESCO; in 2014, he was appointed as the deputy Director General of the Bureau for External Cultural Relations (in charge of the Division of African Affairs, Division of the Chinese Cultural Center Planning, Division of Chinese Cultural Center Management, Division of Passport and Visa).

In the capacity of the positions above, he has been active in the field of multilateral cultural diplomacy and in the field of intangible cultural heritage safeguarding at the international level and get involved in relevant policy and rules and regulation drafting. He has been involved in organizing many international events including international meetings(ASEM Cultural Ministerial Meetings), arts festivals (Meet-in-Beijing International Arts Festival, Beijing International Music Festival, Shanghai International Arts Festival, Xinjiang International Folk Dance Festival and Chengdu International Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival) and music competitions (China International Violin Competition, China International Piano Competition and China International Singing Competition). He was also in charge of organizing the work of submitting Chinese intangible cultural heritage elements or best safeguarding practices to be inscribed in the lists or register at UNESCO. As a member of the Chinese delegation, he participated in the whole process of the drafting of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Convention of Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions as well as their operational guidelines. As the president, he successively chaired the 5th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions in 2011.

Ji-Young Yoon, Busan UNESCO City of Film

 Taking advantage of her experiences of studying design management in overseas, Dr. Yoon became a prominent and active leader in the field of city brand strategy. She obtained her master’s degree from Decorative Arts Career of Accademia di Belle Arti di Milano di Brera, Italia, studying ‘Public Policy Design-Povera Arte’ and Doctorate’s degree from Design Management of Brunel Uiversity, UK, studying ‘A Conceptual Model for City branding Based on Semiotics’.

Based on this in–depth knowledge, she made a great contribution to the successful completion of various projects while working as a research fellow in Busan institute, a think-tank that focuses on the Busan city policy development for improving the quality of life of citizens. Her research fields are city branding and marketing strategy, city culture content, cultural policy and city design, etc. In particular, she was also designated as a member of Advisory Committee of ‘UNESCO Creative City of Film Busan’ this year, as well as a member of jury for evaluating applications of candidate cities in the field of film.

Satu Teppo, Head of Industry Development, Partnerships and Engagement, South Australian Film Corporation

Satu joined the South Australian Film Corporation in 2018 as the executive responsible for industry and skills development, partnerships and communications. She has extensive experience in business, strategy and policy and has worked in leadership roles across private and public sectors in Europe and Asia Pacific. She is particularly interested in cultural policy and creative industries.

Satu started her career at the Finnish National Gallery in her native Finland before a career change led her to senior positions at NASDAQ in Europe and Asia Pacific. Since moving to Australia in 2011, she has held senior roles at Renewal SA and Arts South Australia with responsibilities including policy and program development, economic development initiatives and community and stakeholder engagement.

She holds a BA (Hons) in History of Art from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management from University College Dublin.

Millie Millgate, Executive Producer of Sounds Australia

As Executive Producer of Sounds Australia, Millie is responsible for the roll out and representation of the Australian music industry at key international music events, including; SXSW (Austin, USA), The Great Escape (Brighton, UK), Reeperbahn Festival (Hamburg, Germany), Jazzahead, Classical:Next, AmericanaFest, Folk Alliance International and A2IM Indie Week.

She has been instrumental in the growth of Sounds Australia worldwide, having overseen the marketing, networking and showcasing activity undertaken at 73 different international events (many multiple times), in 66 cities, across 23 countries since 2009.

In 2011 Millie was honoured by Sydney’s FBi Radio Station with the "SMAC of Year” Award, in recognition of her efforts with Australian musicians internationally and in 2012 was inducted into the Yearly Music Conference Awards, UK (YMCA) Hall of Fame for Outstanding Achievement: Music Export. In 2016 she was awarded a National Live Music Award (Industry Achievement) and has placed in the AMID ‘POWER 50’ list of the top 50 most powerful people in the Australian music industry, since its inception in 2012.

In 2017 Millie graduated from Harvard Business School, Executive Education (Business of Entertainment, Media and Sport) and was also the industry Partner Investigator, alongside academics from Newcastle and Monash Universities for an Australian Research Council (ARC) awarded project,Born Global: The economic and cultural value of Australian music exports, released in July 2019. In 2018, Millie was invited to be one of the 5 Australian judges for Eurovision and is an Industry Panel member for the $1,000,000 American Express Music Backers Program.

Becc Bates, Director for Creative Industries, Department for Innovation and Skills

Becc is responsible for the development and delivery of strategies that stimulate growth in the creative industries, and, the facilitation of coordinated support for organisations and Statutory Authorities: ​SA Film Corporation, Adelaide Film Festival, JamFactory, Music Development Office and St Paul’s Creative Centre​​.

Becc was instrumental in the establishment of the state’s Music Development Office (MDO) which brought together the arts and industry areas of the State Government to recognise music as an industry as well as a creative endeavour. In addition, Becc drove the development of the St Paul’s Creative Centre. Programs delivered by the MDO facilitate pathways to support emerging musicians and include initiatives that encourage creative collaboration, and export market development.

The MDO is one of the three Executive Partners, along with the Adelaide Festival Centre and the City of Adelaide, working to meet the obligations of Adelaide’s designation as a UNESCO City of Music. The St Paul’s Creative Centre is an industry development initiative in the form of a co-working and creative industries precinct, located in the heart of Adelaide. St Paul’s is a semi-curated space which provides an environment for complementary creative businesses to co-exist, bringing together a mix of students, community groups, funded arts organisations, not-for-profits and commercial start-ups.

Prior to this, Becc was a partner in a music management company and worked with many artists in; career development, business development, strategic direction, tour management and international contract negotiations.

Helene George, Founder / Managing Director, Creative Economy


Helene is Founder and Managing Director of Creative Economy, a consulting practice specialising in strategic development of cultural and creative industries, with an innovative framework for sustainable development. Since 1992, Creative Economy has provided strategic advice in regional and national policy, cross-industry strategy, investment, and initiated a range of industry development programs in creative business and entrepreneurship, cultural tourism, music business, contemporary dance, Memento Australia program for visual arts and craft, and worked extensively with Indigenous cultural enterprises in remote Australia. Ms George has over 20 years’ experience as an executive in local government, as a manager and consultant for government, creative companies, cultural infrastructure, and Indigenous organisations and as a cultural and trade representative throughout the Asia Pacific. Her many appointments include being a UNESCO Expert for the International Fund for Cultural Diversity and an Expert for the UNESCO 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions’ as well as a Member of the Prime Minister's Working Party for Creativity in the Innovation Economy. Notably, Ms George authored the first creative industries strategy in Australia in 2001 for Brisbane City Council; conducted the first Situational Analysis of Cultural Industries in Pacific Nations for the Secretariat of the Pacific, was a keynote speaker at the First International Cultural and Creative Industries Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing; and a Trustee for the Queensland Performing Arts Centre 2007- 2013. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and was honoured with an AusDavos Future Leaders Award for her work with Creative Economy. She recently authored a chapter, The Transformative Force of Culture in Sustainable Development in the publication New Humanism and Global Governance published by World Scientific Publishing.

Karina Lester, Senior Aboriginal Worker, The University of Adelaide & Aboriginal Co-Manager, Mobile Language Team (MLT)

Ms Karina Lester is a Yankunytjatjara Anangu woman from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands) in the far North West of South Australia. Karina grew up in the remote community of Mimili in the beautiful Everard Ranges, with her father’s people and is very determined to keep her language alive and ongoing for the future generations. Karina currently works for the Mobile Language Team (MLT) as Aboriginal Co-Manager and Senior Aboriginal Language Worker at The University of Adelaide, supporting the Aboriginal languages of South Australia in revival, maintenance and reclamation programs. She hosts a weekly community radio show at Radio Adelaide called Nganampa Wangka ‘Our Languages’, talking up SA Aboriginal languages and the great work happening across the State. She is also an Anangu Interpreter and Translator and sees her role as a very important role for Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Language speakers to be understood but also appreciated and respected. Karina is also a keen anti-nuclear activist, sharing not only her late father’s (Yami Lester) story but her grandmother’s story of the British Nuclear Tests in the 1950’s – 1960’s and speaks strongly about the impacts felt by her people. Her recent works have been with the Noble Peace Prize Award Recipients iCAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) UN Treaty Negotiations (Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons); SA Royal Commission into International Waste Storage facility and the National Waste Storage facility – WE SAY NO! Campaign. In 2018 Karina joined the list of iCAN Ambassadors along with current Ambassadors Robert Tickner – ex Australian director of the Red Cross and the former federal Labor Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Scott Ludlam – ex Greens spokesperson on nuclear issues and Melissa Parke – ex federal Labor MP for Fremantle and international human rights lawyer.

The Hon. David Pisoni MP, Minister for Innovation and Skills


The Hon David Pisoni MP was elected as the Member for Unley in 2006 and has lived in Unley with his wife and children for more than 20 years, after growing up in Salisbury, South Australia. David undertook a furnishing trades apprenticeship and later his cabinet-making abilities led him to a role as managing director of his own manufacturing/retail company between 1984 and 2006. David was a Director of the National Furniture Association, President of the Unley Chamber of Commerce and an active member of the Unley Main Street Association. Prior to being sworn in as Minister for Industry and Skills in March 2018, David served as the Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure. He is also part of the Parliamentary Economic and Finance Committee. David is a passionate about ensuring South Australians have the skills necessary for future jobs and that industry is supported to enable those employment opportunities. As Minister for Industry and Skills, David is focused on delivering the Liberal Party’s commitment to create 20,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships and developing a comprehensive Defence Workforce Plan. David Pisoni is an enthusiastic MP who is passionate about representing and working for his local community and the state.

Additional panellists will be announced soon.