Artistic Advisory and Selection Panel

Small Town Transformations was independently assessed by an artistic advisory and selection panel:

  • Regional arts leader ROB ROBSON (CHAIR) is Manager of Arts and Culture at Baw Baw Shire Council, Chair of the Victorian Association of Performing Arts Centres (VAPAC), and former member of the Regional Arts Victoria Board 2006-2014. His work has spanned many fields including working as a teacher for 27 years, managing various regional performing arts venues, as well as working as a foundation board member and Artistic Director for the SheppARTon Festival. Highly respected across the state, Rob is committed to creating opportunities for community engagement in the arts, providing accessible points for community inspiration as core to maintaining healthy and sustainable communities.
  • Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and educator DEBORAH CHEETHAM AO made her international debut in 1997 and has performed in the theatres and concert halls throughout Australia, in the UK, the US and New Zealand. In April 2007, Ms Cheetham was awarded a two-year Fellowship from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. This fellowship allowed her to create Australia’s first Indigenous opera, Pecan Summer. The success of Pecan Summer led to the creation of Short Black Opera Company, a national not-for-profit opera company devoted to the discovery and development of Indigenous opera singers. As Artistic Director of Short Black Opera Company, Deborah has assisted many Indigenous singers to find their voice. In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Ms Cheetham was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for “distinguished service to the performing arts as an opera singer, composer and artistic director, to the development of Indigenous artists, and to innovation in performance”. In March 2015 Ms Cheetham was inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.
  • DR JAN VAN SCHAIK is co-director of MvS Architects, and researcher and lecturer at RMIT University. Jan’s work privileges the civic qualities of architecture, celebrating the rich relationship between human beings and their spaces. Jan has developed strong expertise in the crossovers between the creative sectors, the built environment and the communities and economies that rely on them, including masterplanning work with Mildura Palimpsest Biennale, in Hamilton with local advocates for the Australia Felix Museum of Arts History and Culture, and with Creative Spaces on affordable space for the creative industries. MvS Architects has received awards for the Centre for Ideas, the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, Wattle Avenue House, and the Edithvale Seaford Wetlands Centre and has twice been the recipient of the Premier’s Design Award. Jan is currently involved in the instigation and development of three cultural institutions in regional Victoria.
  • Freelance director of theatre, festivals and outdoor spectacles IAN PIDD’s theatre credits include Artistic Directorship of Back To Back, plus ten years of works at Snuff Puppets, where his productions have travelled the world. With Snuff Puppets Ian has created large-scale, outdoor theatrical works in Japan, Singapore, Brazil, and in many parts of Europe and Australia. Ian has been the artistic director of festivals as diverse as Moomba and The Works and was for six years Chair of Melbourne Fringe. He is co-artistic director of boutique festival The Village, and was founding Artistic Director of Junction Arts Festival in Launceston. Ian has sat on funding panels for the Australia Council, Arts Victoria, Arts Tasmania and the City Of Melbourne.
  • CAITLYN BARCLAY is a theatre and film practitioner, currently completing a Bachelor of Performing Arts at Monash University. She is an assistant director on Australian independent series Sonnigsburg for Rock Bottom Productions, and works extensively with Barking Spider Visual Theatre. Originally from Swan Hill, Caitlyn was a founding member of the Swan Hill Youth Theatre Ensemble and was the first Young Artist in Residence for the Fairfax Festival in 2011. She recently returned to the festival as their tutor in puppetry. In 2012 Caitlyn was a participant in Regional Arts Victoria’s first Creative Leadership Program. From this program she has gone on to work with Regional Arts Victoria’s Education & Families team, as well as the Regional Victoria Living Expo, Showcase Victoria, and was a panellist at the 2014 Regional Arts Australia Summit. Caitlyn has since worked across Melbourne in theatre, film and radio, and has been involved in projects for Sydney Festival, Next Wave Festival, St Martin’s Youth Arts Centre, MTC Neon, FOLA and Spring Fashion Week, amongst others. In 2014 she was a finalist for Young Victorian Achiever of the Year.