Level 3 | Arts Business - City of Sydney Creative Studios

Nardi Simpson | L3.2

Nardi Simpson

Nardi Simpson is a Yuwaalaraay storyteller from the NSW northwest freshwater plains and is a musician, composer, performer, and novelist. A songwriter and performer with vocal duo Stiff Gins for twenty-five years, Nardi was a winner of the 2018 Black & Write! Fellowship.

Her first novel, Song of the Crocodile, was published in 2020 with Hachette Australia and went on to win the 2021 ASAL Gold Medal and be longlisted for the 2021 Stella Prize and Miles Franklin Awards.

In 2024, Nardi will release her second novel, The Belburd, with Hachette Australia, compose music for three new First Nations Operas, complete a PhD in composition at the ANU School of Music, and write and record Stiff Gins' fourth studio album, Crossingskin Rd.\

In-Between Pictures | L3.3

Vonne Patiag

Maren Smith

In-Between Pictures is an Australian Production Company splashing colour on Australian screens. The creative partnership of Vonne Patiag and Maren Smith, we tell fresh and unexpected scripted stories for the big and small screen, with joy and heart.

Our work includes Halal Gurls, a world-first Hijabi comedy series for ABC Australia, nominated for an AACTA, AWGIE, and SPA award, and winner of the Prix du Public (Audience Award) at Marseille Webfest. Our short film Tomgirl was broadcast on SBS Viceland for the 40th Anniversary of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Vonne Patiag - Co-founder, Director, Creative
Vonne is an AACTA, AWGIE, Logie, and SPA Award-nominated Filmmaker and Actor based in Western Sydney. His credits include Significant Others (ABC), The Unusual Suspects (SBS), Here Out West (ABC), Too Many Ethnics, Tomgirl (SBS), and Halal Gurls (ABC).

He was a participant in the prestigious TIFF Filmmaker Lab 2021 in support of the feature adaptation of Tomgirl and was part of the Talent USA Delegate 2022 sponsored by Screen Australia. In 2020, he produced and co-wrote The Unusual Suspects alongside Oscar-nominated Producer Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford at Aquarius Films, and the feature film anthology Here Out West with Co-Curious and Emerald Productions.

Maren Smith - Co-founder, Director, Strategy
Maren is a Producer of Film, Television, and Radio from the Central Coast of NSW, Australia. Her work includes One Less God (dir. Lliam Worthington), which won the Grand Jury Prize and Industry Choice Awards at Los Angeles' Dance With Films 2017 and was awarded Best Film at Byron Bay Film Festival 2017. The film would go on to be theatrically released in the UK, USA, India, Japan, Korea, and Australia.

Her short films Hook Up (dir. Laura Nagy), Qupid (dir. Jessica Flood), Tomgirl, and Too Many Ethnics (dir. Vonne Patiag) have screened across Australia and internationally at festivals. Maren also produces children's television and animation, including the original short-form series Alphabet Street (dir. Harrison Woodhead) for Disney Junior Australia and New Zealand.

Heaps Decent | L3.4 

Nerida Woods - General Manager/CEO

Heaps Decent is an Australian organisation empowering young people to express their creativity through music and multi-media. Heaps Decent increases arts access and opportunity, providing mobile and online production resources and collaboration with professional artists, supporting the development of exciting new work with a unique identity.

Nerida joined the team at Heaps Decent in 2012 with a rich history in arts management. Prior to her former role as General Manager for Shopfront Contemporary Arts and Performance, she spent several years in the UK as a Company and Tour Manager, and in Australia as a stage manager at the Sydney Opera House, freelance production manager, event coordinator, and management consultant.

Music NSW | L3.4

Joe Muller - Managing Director

Laura Murdoch - Executive Producer

MusicNSW is the state music body in NSW. We are a not-for-profit organisation, funded by Create NSW. MusicNSW empowers and connects artists and industry. They do this through a range of programs and services, including FEEDBACK, Levels, and Sound Advice. MusicNSW’s programs and services empower and develop our music communities so that diverse NSW artists and industry can thrive locally, across Australia, and internationally.

Joe Muller - Managing Director

Joe Muller joined MusicNSW in November 2023 with over 15 years of experience as a festival curator, creative producer, venue programmer, artist manager, independent label owner, and artist. From 2021, he was the Music Curator for Vivid Sydney and has also curated music programs for Queensland Music Festival, Taste of Tasmania, Newtown Festival, and Melbourne’s CHANGES festival.

Laura Murdoch - Executive Producer

Laura is MusicNSW’s Executive Producer and works across all MusicNSW metro, regional, Western Sydney, and all-ages programs as well as managing MusicNSW’s funding rounds. Laura is a ten-year veteran of the creative event and entertainment media industries with a strong focus on audience engagement and relationship building.

Level 6 | Digital Media - City of Sydney Creative Studios

Jane Slingo EMC | L6.1


Kerry Johnson | L6.5

Kerry Johnson

Burrundi Theatre for Performing Arts was established in 2020. Burrundi translates to "black" in Southern Yiradyuri dialect and is inspired by the vision and spirit of the Black Theatre (1972-1977). Executive Founder and Artistic Executive Director, Wiradjuri descendant Kerry Johnson, trained at the Aboriginal Dance Theatre Redfern from 1988 to 1990. On the historical site of Black Theatre is the site of the Aboriginal Dance Theatre Redfern. Kerry Johnson completed her training at the National Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre Glebe from 1991 to 1993.

Burrundi Theatre for Performing Arts, established in 2020, is inspired by the vision and spirit of Black Theatre (1972-1977). Founder and Artistic Director Kerry Johnson trained at ADTR from 1988 to 1990. The historical site of Black Theatre is on the block of the Aboriginal Dance Theatre Redfern. Kerry's introduction to Gadigal country has been through the black arts, rooted in ideals synonymous with Black Theatre: sovereignty, self-determination, justice, equality, and survival.

The fight for black rights and freedoms is expressed through the political expression of black arts. Burrundi's vision is intrinsic to our tribal arts, dance, songlines, and stories. It represents a modern-day arts revolution, fired by a collective of perspectives and platforms of black activism within the arts. Burrundi is a futuristic expression of multidisciplinary art practice, rooted in tribal customs and philosophies.

Arts to Burrundi are spiritual, inspired by our experiences, thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It stirs the inner depth of our creativity to act, believe, and do the impossible. Burrundi Theatre's mantra is life, hope, truth, and love. Burrundi Theatre respectfully acknowledges the trailblazers, founders, and artists associated with Black Theatre (1972-1977)

Level 7 | Visual Arts - City of Sydney Creative Studios

NAVA | L7.1

Penelope Benton - Executive Director

The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) is a membership organisation established in 1983. NAVA brings together the many voices of the contemporary arts sector to improve fundamental conditions of work and practice. They achieve this through advocacy, education, and their code of practice.

Penelope Benton has been NAVA's Executive Director since early 2021, following her role as General Manager from 2015 to 2020. Currently living on Gadigal land, she is also an artist with a collaborative practice and recently became a mum. She has previously worked as the Manager of Arc @ UNSW Art & Design, General Manager of the College of Fine Arts Students' Association, and was Co-Artistic Director of Art Month Sydney 2013.

Penelope was a Co-Director at Firstdraft from 2007 to 2008 and a Co-Founder/Director of The Red Rattler, an artist and activist-run performance space in Sydney's inner west from 2008 to 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) from the University of Newcastle, a Masters in Art Administration from UNSW, a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from UTS, and completed a Masters of Fine Arts at UNSW in 2017.

Diane Busuttil | L7.2

Diane Busuttil (credit: Shane Rozario)

Diane Busuttil is a socially-engaged dance artist, educator, and filmmaker whose work is recognised in Australia and internationally. She holds a BA in Dance and a Master’s degree.

In 2000, after studying BODY at the International Women’s University in Germany, she relocated to Berlin and toured major dance and theatre festivals in Europe, Asia, and the United States with various leading dance and theatre companies, as well as working in opera and circus. Her award-winning experimental short films, including screendance works, have toured to over fifty International Queer and Women’s film festivals.

In 2015, Diane returned to Sydney to be her father’s carer. In 2018, she founded Creative Caring, which brings dance theatre and music programs to seniors, focusing on the union of arts and health as remedies for personal and social ills. Her collaborative community programs are regularly delivered to aged care facilities, dementia care units, and at the Sydney Opera House for the monthly Spring for Seniors dance theatre sessions.

Her philosophy is that movement is a primary expressive language and a strong artistic tool that binds people, through creativity, to their community. Diane has completed various courses through Dementia Australia and the University of Tasmania and is a qualified Dance for Parkinson’s facilitator. She is a member of AHNNA (Arts Health Network) and an associate of The CAD Factory.

Abby Murray | L7.3

Abby Murray

Abby Marie Murray is an emerging artist working on Gadigal land across painting, textiles, sculpture, and installation. Her vibrant work is motivated by the borders we place around personal and familial silences within a practice that engages a circular and restorative notion of memory and material. Often referencing Magical Realism, Murray’s practice is a reckoning of the obsessive and laborious traditions of art and craft as she aims to highlight the absence and disappearance of the forgotten.

Abby has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from Columbia College Chicago and recently graduated from UNSW Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours). She has exhibited consistently in NSW, including UNSW Galleries, ADSpace, DrawSpace, GoodSpace Gallery, Live in Art, AirSpace Projects, and Sydenham International, and was recently awarded Highly Commended at the Jenny Birt Painting Prize.

Abby was born and raised in Michigan, USA, and immigrated to Australia in late 2019.

Antonia Pesenti | L7.5

Antonia Pesenti 

Antonia is a Sydney-based architect and illustrator/book creator. She was awarded the Sydney University Medal and moved to Paris after finishing her degree in architecture. Antonia worked in Paris for 8 years with Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Agence Philippe Starck. Parallel to her work as an architect, Antonia spent her time documenting Paris through drawing, developing a passion for illustration and picture books.

Today, she combines directing the multidisciplinary design practice Studio Fable with illustrating, designing, and making beautiful books, including the bestselling Alphabetical Sydney. She is known for her cross-disciplinary and imaginative approach to a diverse range of projects, spanning from interior design to graphic design, placemaking, and public art projects.

Simon Greiner | L7.6

Simon Greiner

Simon Greiner is a cardboard artist and illustrator. He has exhibited his cardboard sculptures in a solo show at the Chrissie Cotter Gallery and most recently created an installation for the Newtown Art Seat. In 2023, a private commission built as the centrepiece for a wedding was featured in Vogue Australia.

Simon is also the inaugural winner of the Officeworks Create-a-thon, where he was locked in an Officeworks store overnight to build a creation of his choice exclusively from store materials in six hours. His illustration work includes several children’s books as well as the front cover of the New Yorker Magazine.

Felix Jackson | L7.7

Felix Jackson

Felix Jackson (they/them) is an emerging artist and arts worker from Western Sydney. In 2023, they completed their Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts at NADC. Their work is rooted in autobiography, drawing upon lived experience and communicated through sculpture, installation, and performance.

Felix is one of the recipients of this year’s Magnetic Places Grants from Penrith City Council, with their community art project involving local trans youth. This project is the basis of their upcoming solo exhibition at Penrith Regional Gallery. Felix is also the co-founder of Riff Raff ARI, an artist-run initiative based in Penrith.