ACT Natimuk’s board comprises seven members, drawn from the membership of the organisation.
Current Executive positions are Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and three Committee Members.
The strength of ACT Natimuk’s board has been an ability to ‘shapeshift’ and arrange its capacity around the individual projects it chooses to deliver. This model has allowed the organisation to achieve a high level of cultural agency (self-determination and creative independence) over the
past 18 years.
Executive meetings take place every two months, alternating every two months with Committee meetings open to the wider membership of the organisation.
2021 BOARD, COMMITTEE & STAFF
CHAIR – SUE PAVLOVICH
Sue has been Chair of ACT 2018-19, Secretary 2020 and Chair 2021.
From 2016-2020 Sue also curated the Goat Gallery. She holds a Masters in Visual Art from Monash University and teaches Art at Horsham College. Her art practice investigates the engagement with the audience who are both observer and participant. This places her practice between movement and visual art forms, in community contexts and gallery shows.
VICE CHAIR – D’ARCY MOLAN
D’Arcy Molan joined the board as Vice Chair of ACT Natimuk in 2021 and has been a member since 2019, not long after moving from Melbourne in late 2018. He is a musician, composer, writer, and teacher based in Natimuk. His arts practice stems from his grandmother Audrey Huntly, who was a jazz musician and community arts organiser in the Apsley/Edenhope areas of the Wimmera region (north-west Victoria). D’Arcy studied music performance at Box Hill Tafe and Monash University in Melbourne, majoring on saxophone. He has performed solo and with bands (jazz, ska, hip-hop, original explosions) and been involved in multidisciplinary art projects at venues and festivals throughout Australia and New Zealand.
D’Arcy developed a passion for reading and writing after going back to university to study teaching in his mid-twenties. After graduating as a teacher, he completed Honours and Master degrees in literary studies and creative writing. He is currently a PhD candidate in literary studies and creative writing at Deakin University and his thesis focuses on the transformational possibilities of community arts and the postcolonial politics of placemaking through his non-Indigenous family connection to the Wimmera. His work investigates the Wimmera through critical engagement and poetic interventions, and is partly a case study of Natimuk (and by extension ACT Natimuk).
TREASURER – MARY FRENCH
Mary is a long time ACT Natimuk Board & Committee member. She is a Natimuk artist who worked on the original Natimuk Space and Place performance in 2003 as director of shadow puppetry. Since then she has partnered with communities across Victoria and further afield to explore aspects of environment and local culture via the mediums of light, shadow and puppetry.
In 2013 Mary studied at the Theatre of Light and Shadow in Germany with performance artists, visual artists and puppeteers from all over the world. This led to the development of ‘Lantunda’, a shadow performance that reinvents existing band rotunda structures as giant lanterns. Debuting at Nati Frinj, Lantunda has gone on to feature at special events and festivals in many parts of Victoria.
An artistic highlight of the last ten years was the co- creative directorship of Flock, a partnership with aerial performance company Strange Fruit, in 2011. Elements of Flock included aerial performance and the creation of one hundred and sixty life size, articulating white bird puppets.
Working with the Bendigo community in 2018, Mary oversaw the making and activation of a series of shadow puppets for Poppet, a site specific large scale performance on the iconic Poppet head structure in Bendigo.
Most recently, Mary directed shadow elements of ‘Galaxias’, for Geelong After Dark 2019 and worked with youth theatre company, ‘Kick Up the Arts’ to create animated screen backgrounds and props for their acclaimed production of ‘Lord of the Flies.’
During the 2020 pandemic Mary collaborated with Black Hole Theatre and artists working in the medium of puppetry to devise a film reflecting current issues. She also developed a travelling version of Lantunda that will provide flexible audience viewpoints from both the interior space and the exterior.
SECRETARY – ABBY WATKINS
Abby Watkins joined ACT Natimuk as Secretary in 2021. grew up in Geelong, Victoria where she trained for gymnastics, gaining selection on Victorian and Australian teams and receiving an athletic scholarship to U.C. Berkeley in California in 1988. At Berkeley, she trained in contemporary dance technique and performance and also began rock climbing in nearby Yosemite NP. These two movement inquiries have formed the basis of Abby’s practice and professional life for the past 30 years. The physical and lyrical sensation of climbing is what has held Abby’s attention through a professional climbing and mountain guiding career. There is beauty and power of the way deep time has shaped our natural world. This defines the pathway across rock, ice, glacier and snow brings Abby joy and connection to nature. This connection has informed the way she teaches and leads people through the landscape. As a climber and a dancer, she naturally found her way into vertical dance, using climbing ropes and harnesses to access outrageous spaces to dance. She has worked for three different vertical dance companies in three different countries over the past 25 years.
Abby holds a B.Env.Sc. (Wildlife and Conservation Biology). One of her favourite jobs of all time was as a contract bird survey technician in Canada – surveying birds by ear (she had to learn the songs of 300+ birds) in remote wilderness in British Columbia and Manitoba.
GENERAL COMMITTEE MEMBER – GAIL HARRADINE
Gail Harradine is a Wotjobaluk Post-graduate trained curator and arts practitioner from Dimboola, Victoria with 8 years University study. Her focus has always been on South East Australian First Nations and Clans since her thesis on Aboriginal art in the Melbourne area in the 1990s as part of her Postgraduate work at Melbourne University. Gail is a qualified Secondary teacher and studied Indigenous resource management. Gail has lectured at Federation University (Horsham campus) in Aboriginal Health and Aboriginal history and taught VET/Disability. She enjoys being creative with photography, painting, silversmithing and utilising traditional techniques related to women’s adornment, and working with Wergaia language initiatives. Gail works as Curatorial Manager in Melbourne and travels home to family regularly to progress her art practice.
GENERAL COMMITTEE MEMBER – YINGYING HE
Ying has been an ACT member for many years and is one of the 3 dedicated volunteers who coordinates and runs ACT Natimuk’s much loved Palais de Pixel. A non-committed ex-music student who really just prefers to enjoy, admire and support others’ creative talents. For Ying, ACT Natimuk’s Nati Frinj and Palais de Pixel have been a great way to do all three!
GENERAL COMMITTEE MEMBER – ANTHONY SCHELLENS
GENERAL CO- MANAGERS – TRACEY SKINNER
Tracey Skinner, originally from Melbourne, has a background in multiple arts disciplines. Performing arts featured strongly in earlier years both studying and working in Melbourne, London and Japan as a vocalist and dancer. Her interest in fashion and visual arts led her on a long journey of study and self employment as a textile artist with a strong leaning towards screenprint, also working as a costume creator for many years. She is an Alumni of RMIT and operates a small creative studio space in her current hometown. Her love of movement saw her gain qualifications in Pilates, Barre and Yoga and she teaches classes at her movement studio in Natimuk. She has worked for a number of NFP organisations and through this has grown her experience of project management and community work. After serving on the ACT Natimuk committee for a number of years, she recently joined the organisation as an employee in 2020 and loves the multi pronged approach she needs to apply to the role of General Manager.
GENERAL CO-MANAGER/FRINJ DIRECTOR – HANNAH FRENCH
Hannah French is a visual artist hailing from Natimuk, Regional Victoria. She works across many different disciplines, including animation, projection, illustration, graphic design and as the festival director of the Nati Frinj Biennale. She is continually fascinated by visual storytelling and the possibilities of stories being presented in surprising ways, and often finds herself working in schools and with young people when not burrowed away in front of a screen.
MADE IN NATIMUK PRODUCER – VERITY HIGGINS
Since graduating from the VCA, Verity has worked as a director, actor, project co-coordinator, and lecturer in performing arts.
In 2005 Verity worked in the UK as Assistant Director and actor for North Country Theatre. On returning to Australia she took up a position of Regional Arts Development Officer with Regional Arts Victoria, based in Ballarat. During her time as a RADO Verity coordinated a wide range of regional projects. Her independently produced documentary about a community choir The Big Sing, was acquired and broadcast on the ABC in 2010.
Since returning to freelance work at the end of 2013 Verity has worked as a freelance director, actor & producer. Her most recent theatre work The Freda Experience, about pioneering Australian mountaineer Freda du Faur, had sell out seasons at both the Castlemaine State Festival and NatiFrinj in 2015. Verity coordinated the large-scale environmental knitting project, WARM for SEAM in 2016.
Verity started working for ACT Natimuk on Made in Natimuk from late 2014.
WANT MORE DETAILS ON ACT NATIMUK?
If you would like to learn more about what we do and what we have done, our Annual Reports and Strategic Plans can be viewed here RESOURCES