Art and heritage advisory panel

Stained glass window by Auguste Fischer. Photo by Artificial Studios.

Learn more about our Arts and Heritage Advisory Panel members.

The Art and Heritage Advisory Panel provides expert advice and support to achieving the visual art, public art and heritage interpretation projects, services and activities that our Council provides to our community.

Specifically, the panel focuses on:

  • Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, strategic vision and direction for Darebin’s public art gallery and heritage house
  • Darebin Art Collection, oversight of the Darebin Art Collection Policy and expert advice on acquisitions and commissions
  • Public art, oversight of policy in relation to artwork and creativity in public spaces and expert advice on acquisitions, commissions and new opportunities for art to interact with the public realm
  • Financial sustainability, funding streams and investment opportunities including guidance on Bundoora Homestead Foundation Fund, growing the fund and spending decisions

Nominated Councillors

  • Cr Susanne Newton (Co-chair)
  • Cr Tim Laurence

Ramona Barry (Co-chair)

Ramona Barry has a diverse arts background specialising in craft and design that is firmly rooted in a community context.

She was the facilitator of the highly successful Craft Lab, Craft in the Gardens and Camp Craft series at Bundoora Homestead.

She is the General Manager (People, Projects & Programs) at Bridge Darebin a community-based organisation that delivers a diverse range of programs from fine art/craft classes and workshops, makers market, social enterprise café, and pre-accredited training. Ramona also maintains her own craft-based art practice with a focus on textile technique and design.

Giovanna D’Abaco

Giovanna D’Abaco has 30 years' experience in managerial roles in the arts, culture and tourism sectors. This includes nine years at Tourism Victoria (now Visit Victoria) and 26 years at State Library Victoria as Events/Program Manager.

Giovanna spent three years in London where she worked as an account manager for public relations consultancies. Clients include the City of Lyon and Tourism New South Wales.

Sue Thornton

Sue Thornton is creative producer and arts management professional. With a background in performing arts and stage production, Sue is drawn to projects that champion the arts, activate public spaces, connecting people and communities.

Currently employed at the University of Melbourne, Sue has produced major public performances, symposia, seminars, launches and conferences for the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA).

Recent major events that Sue has produced include Art 150, a year-long celebration of 150 years of art at the VCA; Dance 40, a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Dance at the VCA and the official launch of the Stables, the VCA’s innovative complex of student studios and exhibition spaces. 

Madeleine McClelland

Madeleine is an accomplished arts manager with expertise in local government and community cultural development. She currently works as Creative Industries Officer at Mount Alexander Shire, and previously worked at Nillumbik Council and Melton City Council. Madeleine has previous experience working in non-profit arts and community organisations in programming, fundraising and communications. She has worked for arts organisations including The Song Room, Queensland Arts Council, and Museum and Gallery Services Queensland. Madeleine has skills in identifying community needs, facilitating program development and nurturing partnerships to support desired outcomes.

Victoria Jones

Victoria Jones has worked in the creative industries in the UK and Australia for over 20 years. She has extensive experience of working within complex environments with diverse teams, having led creative projects for Transport for London, the National Health Service, Melbourne Metro Tunnel & the Level Crossing Removal Project.

She has led the commissioning of over 100 site specific art commissions, managed large art collections, devised participatory programs, curated multiple exhibition spaces, programmed regular events and performances etc and developed the required creative strategies to support these.

Victoria has developed many creative programs from scratch including the Creative Communities program for London Underground, multi award winning GO Create! at Great Ormond Street Hospital and the ARCH creative program for Royal Children’s Hospital.

Victoria fully understands and harnesses the transformative potential for arts and culture, with a specialist interest in the public realm.

Zoe Bastin

Zoë Bastin is an artist. Her expanded choreographic practice considers exhibition, installation, publication and performance as part of the same political project - the reorganisation of societal structures that limit bodies.

Zoë considers situations, movements and objects as connected in artistic production, her projects operate within academic, gallery, theatre and public art realms traversing artistic modes. This practice emerged during visual art studies (BFA, Hons) considering the sculptural potential of the physical body. She studied, then later taught, at Mangala Studios in Carlton, an important site in the lineage of Australian German Expressionist Dance (est.1970). In recent years her research has become increasingly interested in the complexity of practices, ideologies, and aesthetic modes of making within settler Australian legacies of dance and their intersection with visual art. In 2021 she completed a PhD at RMIT University.

Zoë has previously exhibited & performed widely and shares her research at conferences and by hosting workshops within Australia and Internationally. She is currently a lecturer at Deakin University.

Gareth Syvret

Gareth Syvret is a Curator, Archivist and Researcher. He holds a PhD in Photographic History from De Montfort University, UK. His research interests include photographic histories in island geographies and the instigation of collaborative work between artist, curator and archivist on visual practice, writing and exhibitions. He is currently Curatorial Program Lead at Maroondah City Council. His curatorial projects include: Of Embers, ArtSpace at Realm, Melbourne (2023); Social Fabric, ArtSpace at Realm, Melbourne (2022); Dressing Up: Clothing and Camera, Museum of Australian Photography, Melbourne (2020), Capital, Ballarat International Foto Biennale (2019); and Entre Nous: Claude Cahun and Clare Rae, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2018).

Jacina Leong

Jacina Leong is an artist-curator, educator, and researcher. Working in the cultural sector for fifteen years, Jacina is committed to the role that cultural organisations can play in bringing people together to explore and respond to complex and converging crises: through situated, responsive, and purposeful forms of engagement. She is a former Co-Director of Bus Projects, Public Programs Curator for The Cube and Ipswich Art Gallery, Producer for the Creative Industries Precinct, an ACMI CEO Digital mentor, and founding member of the Guerrilla Knowledge Unit. Jacina has writing published in the Journal of Public Pedagogies, Routledge Companion to Mobile Media Art, and Dystopian and Utopian Impulses in Art Making: The World We Want. She is currently a Sessional Academic at RMIT and La Trobe universities, where she teaches art theory, and is completing her PhD on the complexities of caring in and through practice in a pandemic-impacted world.

Asha Bee Abraham

Asha Bee Abraham is a Singaporean-Australian artist and arts worker who lives and works on Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung lands. Asha works at Footscray Community Arts as Industry Development Manager, managing artist development programs and arts advocacy initiatives.

Asha brings her experience working as an independent artist, producer and at organisations such as Footscray Community Arts, Arts House, and RMIT. Asha has sat on grant assessment and arts advisory panels for the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne and Merri-bek City Council.

Prior to moving to the arts in 2013, Asha worked in the sustainability sector at City of Melbourne, Moreland Energy Foundation, as well as in Thailand and in the UK where she completed her MSc in Human Ecology.

Katherine Campbell

Kat Campbell (she/they) is a curator based in Naarm and formerly in Meanjin. For the past decade, Kat has worked in Artist Run Initiatives, council and university museums and galleries in public programming, education, exhibition management, and curating. Focused on community building and inclusive museum and gallery practices, their arts work centres on the gallery as a forum for storytelling and the intersections of culture, subjects, and place. Kat has worked across national and international projects, including 89Plus and The Ballarat International Foto Biennale, and is currently a curator at Town Hall Gallery. She is a Thornbury local and is passionate about engaging the community and celebrating Darebin’s rich arts and culture.

Amelia Marra

Amelia Marra is a Pakeha museum professional living and working on Wurundjeri land, passionate about people, problem-solving and progressive practice.

Currently based at the Victorian branch of the Australian Museums and Galleries Association, Amelia has worked with a broad range of museums, galleries and volunteer-run organisations, providing training, expert advice and strategy with a focus on peer-based connections to industry expertise, and centring user experience. Amelia has also worked in exhibition and policy development with museums and local government organisations.

Amelia has contributed to industry guidelines such as the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries (Second Edition) and has sat on the Assessment Panel for the Public Record Office Victoria's Local History Grants Program.

Amelia supports cultural organisations to translate their missions and values into policy and practice. She has an inclusive, people-focused approach, maintaining a deep engagement with sector-wide trends and developments, in particular with First Peoples cultural protocols and engagement, visitor experience, social impact and contemporary collecting.

Bala Starr

Bala Starr is director of La Trobe Art Institute, La Trobe University’s centre for contemporary art and custodian of the university’s art collections. She is based at La Trobe’s Melbourne Campus in Bundoora and in Bendigo.

Bala has extensive experience in leading and managing curatorial projects, collections and major partnerships. For six years until late 2019, she was director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore. She previously served as senior curator at the University of Melbourne’s Ian Potter Museum of Art, and held leadership positions at the Melbourne International Biennial and the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia. Throughout her career, Bala has advocated for independent artists and curators, intergenerational exchange and under-recognised collections and art practices.

Uncle Alan Brown

Uncle Alan Brown is a Gunditjmara man currently living in Darebin. He is an Ambassador for the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and is co-chair of the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee. Uncle Alan was previously a judge of the White Gumbri art award that ran at Bundoora Homestead for many years. He has also worked at Melbourne Museum in managerial roles on Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

Kate Bonser

Kate is currently the Place Engagement & Activation Officer at Melton City Council. She has over three decades of experience in placemaking, community engagement, and art and cultural projects. Kate has previously worked at Kingston City Council and Knox City Council is arts programming, events and development roles.

Image: Stained glass window by Auguste Fischer. Photo by Artificial Studios.