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Innovative New Program Supports Disabled and Diverse Emerging Arts Leaders

Accessible Arts and Diversity Arts Australia are excited to announce the eight successful applicants who will be undertaking paid internships as part of the Disability and Culturally Diverse Internship Program. Led by Accessible Arts and run in partnership with Diversity Arts Australiand a range of arts, cultural and screen organisations across NSW and the ACTthese exciting internships include specialised industry training and work experience for each intern at a cultural organisation. 

“This is an exciting opportunity to gain valuable insights into the kinds of organisations and work available in the arts and cultural sector, whilst forming connections as emerging creative sector workers,” says Liz Martin, Interim CEO of Accessible Arts.  

“This is a significant program, and we’re confident that increasing the representation of arts workers who live at the intersection of disability and cultural diversity will result in many important outcomes for these communities and the creative sector,” said Lena Nahlous, CEO of Diversity Arts Australia.      

The selected interns will be working across arts organisations including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Screen Australia, Lismore Gallery, Shopfront Arts, the Museum of Australian Democracy, APRA AMCOS, the National Portrait Gallery and Story Factory.  

The internships will be in a variety of creative and technical areas including marketing, curating, production, arts administration, public programs, writing, producing, and editing within music, visual arts, theatre, and publishing. A work program will be developed based on the skills and interests of each intern alongside the opportunities and requirements of the participating organisations. 

“The legacy of this program will be a network of cultural access consultants who will help improve access to arts, culture and community events for people with disability from underrepresented culturally diverse backgrounds,” says Liz Martin. 

Watch the below video to hear directly from the graduating interns about their experiences completing the program.


Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Internship Participants:

Karime Baylis – Internship at Lismore Gallery 

Byron Bay based DJ and Producer Karime aka K-Hz is Australia’s pioneering music machine and is an icon of the bass music scene between the Byron Bay and Brisbane circuits. Renowned for his diverse, high energy and hard-hitting selections, K-Hz is racing his way to the top faster than the BMPs of his sets! 

Shasha Gong – Internship at the Art Gallery of NSW 

Shahsa is a Chinese born, Sydney based artist. Releasing music under the alias feiloka, she also creates an ambient music and trauma-informed tarot podcast called tarot songs podcast. An advocate for CALD people with disabilities, she is very passionate about dismantling the patriarchy and telling her story as a complex PTSD survivor.  

Gloria Guo – Internship at Shopfront Arts 

Gloria is a queer Chinese-“Australian” living on Wangal land. She writes, performs and edits poetry. Her work has been published in the Westwords LGBTQ+ Writers anthology. She is currently studying politics and environmental humanities at UNSW. She has a keen interest in critical social theory, ethnic studies and social justice. 

Jessica Kejun Xu – Internship at APRA AMCOS       
Jessica is a researcher, music educator and emerging artist learning to listen deeply and find community in diaspora through a synergy of creative and research practices. She grew up on Gadigal and Wangal Country, a child to Chinese migrant settlers, with an interest in what it means to make home on someone else’s land. Jess uses a mix of creative channels to move through condensed chronic pains and feel out decompressing desires. 

Geirthana Nandakumaran – Internship at Screen Australia 

Geirthana works on unceded Wallumdegal land; figuratively caught between the shores of Tamil Eelam and (so called) Sydney. Her artistic practice investigates liminal identity, relating her environments through spatial and cultural investigations of selfhood, and her Sri Lankan Tamil-Australian cultures. She wrangles conceptual ideas to create documentary type works rooted in photography and performance.  

Marisa Pasicznik Ross – Internship at Story Factory 

Marisa was born in Brazil and studied graphical arts, business administration and environmental technologies. She has completed a Diploma and a Bachelor of Visual Arts. Finding her inspiration and healing in nature, her artworks give a voice to our global environment. She is interested in sharing her life experience to help others to express through nature and art. 

Aleyn Silva – Internship at the Museum of Australian Democracy 

Aleyn was born in Singapore and was raised primarily in Yass. She was confronted with racism, ableism, homophobia, and for the greater part of her life, was unaware that she is neurodivergent. Her lived experiences have galvanised her to advocate for greater representation and amplification of BIPOC and neurodivergent voices. Her creative practice includes writing articles, creative writing, art and singing.  

Shona Thomas – Internship at the National Portrait Gallery 

Shona is passionate about social justice and inclusion and wishes to use visual art to connect people and help inform a larger audience about marginalised lives. She has a BA in Development Studies from the Australian National University and has worked with NGOs in the pursuit of equality. She practices charcoal drawing, watercolour and oil painting.  

This program is supported by the Commonwealth Government Department of Social Services.


Image Description: Headshots of the eight selected interns from top left to bottom right: Karime Baylis, Shasha Gong, Gloria Guo, Jessica Kejun Xu, Geirthana Nandakumaran, Marisa Pasicznik Ross, Aleyn Silva and Shona Thomas.