About the Program
Now in its eleventh year, Emerging Creative Leaders invites participants to explore new ideas of leadership, take risks in their practice and gain confidence to be a successful and influential arts practitioner.
Over a series of workshops and discussions, attendees will be supported to expand their understanding of the community arts sector, develop new skills and capabilities and create new industry connections.
Image by Shuttermain.
Meet the 2021-2022 Emerging Creative Leaders
Bhairavi Raman is a skilled Indian-Australian violinist and improviser interested in voicing bicultural identity through artistic expression. Extensively trained in both Western Classical and Carnatic forms, she uses the violin as a metaphor for her lived experience navigating two cultures. She has 15 years of experience across Australia and internationally, with over 300 performances to her name, including shows at some of South India’s oldest and most distinguished music venues. Collaboration is at the heart of Bhairavi’s creative practice. She has produced acclaimed works with local and international artists across disciplines including poetry, spoken word, movement, dance and theatre. Outside of performance, Bhairavi also runs a grassroots not-for-profit organisation called Gamaka, which aims to cultivate engagement in Carnatic music.
Christa Jonathan is an Indonesian-born Third Culture Kid with a keen interest in exploring the liminal spaces in which they exist through arts. They are the Programs Manager at Western Edge Youth Arts, having previously worked for the Wheeler Centre, AsiaTOPA and Union House Theatre. Christa’s stage management credits include The Legend of Queen Kong Episode II (Midsumma at Arts Centre Melbourne), Romeo is Not the Only Fruit (MICF at Malthouse Theatre) and Taxithi (fortyfivedownstairs). Christa has never been monolingual and is fluent in four languages (…so far). They can often be found reading graphic novels and cuddling other people’s dogs.
Derrick Duan is an emerging interdisciplinary visual artist based in Naarm, with a deep fascination for animation, photography and design. Duan’s practice thrives in collaborations that allow the freedom to experiment, initiating dialogues about identity, immigration, the anxiety of modern living, and their experience within the PoC and queer community.
Born in China, 1998, Duan has spent their formative years drifting between continents. They bring this open, mosaic-like way of life to each project, and turn a documentary eye to their ever-shifting surrounds, using images and videos as a mimetic device to preserve intangible moods and stories.
Evrim Şen is a Turkish creative working across the community media sector. She fell in love with producing podcasts and audio dramas; excited about the opportunities they’re creating for emerging artists. Evrim’s currently the General Manager at SYN Media, a youth community broadcaster, concerned about the lack of inclusive representation in the Australian media landscape. Her goal is to create a space for young, marginalised voices to broadcast stories and lead conversations about their experiences. She’s been developing her practice in the community arts since early 2017 and has collaborated on youth projects with multiple community broadcasters and Regional Arts Victoria.
Helen Kwok is a multimedia artist and designer who creates playful installations, experimental games, and public play activations. Her creative practice often involves blending the digital and physical, crafting work that playfully extends beyond the screen. Since 2020, Helen has worked with the City of Melbourne, Moreland City Council, Bunjil Place, Moomba Festival, and State Library Victoria on projects that encourage families, kids, and adults to play in social and public spaces. In 2021, Helen was one of four emerging artists nationwide selected for NAVA’s inaugural mentorship program. Helen is a first generation Hong Kong immigrant based in Naarm (Melbourne).
Latifa Elmrini is a visual artist, writer, spoken word poet and educator working with postcolonial narratives, historic memory and narratives of Otherness. Latifa exhibits regularly in local galleries as well as contributing to publications and anthologies.
Michael Chan is 38 years old and lives in Geelong. In 2016, Michael joined Back-to-Back Theatre through Writing & Acting for Film & TV Project as an Artist in Residence. In June 2019, Michael was appointed as a guest artist with the Ensemble to act as an understudy before landing a leading role for the work The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes. Last year Michael undertook a My Story project through the City of Greater Geelong. Early this year Michael performed La Mama’s production of Breeders and will soon be performing the upcoming production of Dear Mama: There’s Something Maybe I Should Tell You.
Miss Cairo has been performing for the last 23 years, and has been in the professional industry for the last 11 years. They specialise in Cabaret, Burlesque, Singing, Acting, Dancing, Theatre, TV, Film and writing. Their focus is on advocating for queer people, trans people and people of colour. Miss Cairo is the founding Director of The People of Cabaret, and organisation dedicated to nurturing and amplifying artists of colour.
Nyaruot Ruth Ruach
Nyaruot Ruth Ruach is a South-Sudanese photographer and writer who uses art to understand herself, explore elements of her surroundings, heal and create comfort within her blackness.
Nyaruot’s art explores the experiences of being an African of the diaspora, also the after-effects of assimilating to western culture. She pays a lot of homage, understanding her cultural identity and what it means to be a black woman on stolen country. She believes as a third culture kid, it’s her obligation to shape avenues and pathways within the creative fields for the generations of African artists wanting to create their narratives and challenging the normal structure that fails to represent our vast communities.
Porobibi is a West Papuan artist, currently based in Naarm. He uses storytelling through music, spoken word and community organising to highlight movements of resistance and the continuity of culture, particularly of First Nations people and people from migrant and refugee backgrounds like himself.
He has a background in grassroots advocacy work and is passionate about using creative projects to develop accessible opportunities, engage in collaborative works, and share cross-cultural storytelling through people’s lived experience. Porobibi has been involved in creative projects through the City of Yarra, Collingwood Neighbourhood House, and CoHealth Arts Generator.
Sean Miles’ practice centres the correlations between trickster archetypes in ancient mythologies and contemporary queer attitudes, actions and resistance tactics. They focus on the stories of Māui and how his powers of shape-shifting and interdimensional travel are used to undermine structural authority to benefit those with less privilege and access.
Sean applies simplistic and immediate methods of transformation to at-hand material and to environments as a means to reveal the transformative potential of our everyday make-up. They manifest visions that confront the ongoing damage of colonial and heteronormative social structures and concurrently foster spaces for contemplation, healing, liberation and regeneration.
Tracy Chen is a musician and part-time worker in community health, with interests towards peer learning and process-centred practice. Past collaborations include Eternal Dragonz, OzAsia Festival and co-production as a resident with Brighter Sound (UK).
Emerging Cultural Leaders Alumni
Hineani Tunoa Roberts
Reagan Romero Maiquez
Leah Jing McIntosh
Tegan Ollett (Nash)
Victoria Nicole Cini
Hanann Al Daqqa
May Saba Sabet
Roberta Joy Rich
Kate ten Buuren
Jose (Pepe) Inostroza Aqueveque
Ana Rita Pires
Sajeewa Gayan Amaraseela, Anthigngna Marakkala (A.K.A Saj)
Geskeva-Lola (Mazna) Komba