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Equip Leadership Toolkit Participants Announced

Participants Announced for Equip Leadership Toolkit

Congratulations to the talented participants selected for our national program: Equip – Leadership Toolkit.

Alexandra Ellen, Angie Goto, Emily-Rose Wills, Holly-lee Dickson, Jana Castillo, Josephine Mitchell, Lillian Hearne, Madison Siegertsz, Meg Riley, Mish Graham, Olivia Hamilton, Samantha Lang, Steph Young, Sue Jo Wright, Thea Jade and Tiffany Wong have been selected for this valuable opportunity.

This unique and comprehensive career development and leadership program has been designed for women and non-binary people with disability or who are d/Deaf to develop skills towards becoming influential leaders in the arts. The program will provide a cross-disciplinary approach to building confidence and capacity for tomorrow’s arts leaders through connecting them with mentors and experienced leaders to develop the skillsets required to be a confident, creative and compassionate leader. This initiative includes a variety of workshops and webinars presented by Accessible Arts, Creative Plus Business, Arts Law Centre of Australia, and Dr Jane Miskovic-Wheatley, as well as established leaders within the arts, cultural & disability sector.

Equip – Leadership Toolkit is produced by Accessible Arts with support from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women.

About the Participants

Alexandra Ellen
Alexandra Ellen is a Meanjin/Brisbane based visual artist and theatre maker. She believes that as artists, we are story tellers and is very passionate about disabled stories being told by authentic voices. This underpins all her art and advocacy work. She regularly participates in Access Arts workshops and programs. Over the last six years, she has contributed to many collaborative exhibitions including with Access Arts, Art from the Margins and Recovered Futures. She the Artistic Associate at Indelabilityarts and a member of their ensemble. She recently premiered her play, Betsy and I at Undercover Artist Festival in 2023.

Angie Goto
Angie Goto is an Australian Deaf artist who has a unique interpretation of her surroundings through figurative and abstract art. She has successfully exhibitions in Sydney and abroad. She has been a finalist in various art prizes such as Ravenswood Art Prize, Paddington Art Prize, Fisher’s Ghost Art Prize, Michael Reid’s National Emerging Art Prize and many others. Angie works part time as an Artist Educator at the MCA and Powerhouse Museum where she focus on special projects for the Deaf and HoH audience. She also does freelance work at AGNSW, Hazlehurst Art Centre, Campbelltown Art Centre. Angie is also an art mentor and has worked with artists who are Deaf and people with disability.

Emily-Rose Wills
Emily-Rose Wills, an artist and administrator, is a prominent figure in the Tasmanian arts and events industry. Based in kinimathatakinta/George Town on lutruwita/Tasmania’s northern coast, her work explores the intersection of identity and geography. After earning a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts at the University of Tasmania in 2015, she moved to Hobart, contributing significantly to the Southern Tasmanian arts scene, particularly with Mona Foma and Mona. Now back in Northern Tasmania, she works as Arts and Culture Officer for the George Town Council, fostering community creative initiatives. Her career includes roles with many notable Tasmanian arts organisations.

Holly-lee Dickson
Holly-lee is an emerging Wiradjuri artist born on Dharug Country in 1990. After redirecting from a healthcare career in 2020 due to changes in her personal health and wellbeing, she embraced a more authentic creative life. Holly-lee experiments with various mediums and is increasingly drawn to New Media, collaborative, and community-based art for interactive sensory engagement and the positive impacts of connection. Her work explores mental health, invisible chronic illness, neurodivergence, and cultural identity. She views her exploration of her inner self, the world around her, and her place in it as a conduit for the universe coming to consciousness, with art as the means of communicating that journey.

Jana Castillo
Jana Castillo is an award-winning Australian dancer. Jana won a Green Room award for best performer in 2023, and an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer in 2018. Recognized as one of Sydney’s top choreographers in 2022, she is also an inclusivity consultant for screen and stage. Named a “Dancer to Watch” by Dance Australia magazine in 2020, her recent projects included an aerial duet called “Love” for Sydney Pride Festival 2023, and the performance of “Castillo” at the Chaillot in Paris in 2024. She also toured “Mana Wahine” with Okareka Dance Company in New Zealand, Canada and the USA in 2024. Jana was a lead motion-capture actor for films including “Planet of the Apes” and “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” Growing up in Wodonga, she earned a scholarship to the VCA Secondary School in Melbourne and graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2009. Jana has worked with leading artists in Australia and New Zealand across dance, theatre, opera and film, touring internationally with companies like Australian Dance Theatre, Shaun Parker and Company and Opera Australia. Her life was featured in the SBS documentary series “Perspective Shift” in 2019.

Josephine Mitchell
With a background in tourism, community engagement, and museum education, Josephine cares deeply about creating safe and inclusive experiences for people with disabilities. Grounded by her lived experience of Autism, she provides accessibility and inclusion support with a particular interest in museums, galleries and associated festivals and events. Josephine has collaborated on a variety of projects including the playful and inclusive exhibition ‘All the Best, From Martin Edge’ which included a purpose-built Quiet Room to support neurodivergent families. Josephine is currently Accessibility Coordinator for the Abbey Medieval Festival, hosted by the Abbey Museum of Art & Archaeology, which sees over 25,000 people attending this annual event.

Lillian Hearne
Lillian (she/her), PhD, is a transdisciplinary performer, creator, and theorist: a trans neuroqueer singer, multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone, piano/keyboard), musical director, and composer/arranger living and working on stolen Gadigal land. After debuting as Mary in Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s (2023) Great Comet, and working as Assistant Musical Director for Hayes Theatre Co.’s (2023) A Little Night Music, Lillian premiered her first musical as Composer and Musical Director / Keyboardist in Trans Theatre Collective’s (2024) No Love Songs for Lady Basses at the Old Fitz Theatre, working to progress musical theatre in its scope, casting, and imagination, leaving regressive, restrictive tropes in the past where they belong.

Madison Siegertsz
Madison Siegertsz is an emerging producer and co-founder of the non-profit organisation ‘clarice would like a word’, ensuring underrepresented communities are not being priced out of the privilege of participating in the creative arts. Her youth chat television series Couch 44 which aired on Channel 44, earned Madison and her team nine nominations at the Antenna Awards, winning Outstanding Direction and Best Youth Program. Since Couch 44 first aired in 2021, Madison has produced multiple short films that have been officially selected for BAFTA and Academy Award-qualifying film festivals. Madison also earned the Flinders University 2023 Early Career Alumni Award for her significant contribution to the creative industries sector, showcasing South Australian talent and ensuring an accurate representation of neurodiverse communities on screen. She is also planning to return to study for her Masters in Social Work to explore how to combine the film industry and community programs to build a bigger and more inclusive creative hub.

 Meg Riley
Meg Riley (they/she) is a disabled and autistic visual artist, educator and arts worker. They currently work as an access coordinator for Access2Arts, where they do creative access consultation, present disability training for arts organisations, and support disabled artists to further their careers. They have also published their arts writing for Neoterica and fineprint magazine, and are the recipient of a 2023 Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability Grant. Her emotional visual arts practice focuses on examining the human experience through observation, including figure drawing and portraiture.

Mish Graham
Born in Ballarat and now based in Melbourne, Mish is a dynamic visual artist whose vibrant works are inspired by global travels and nature. With bold brushstrokes and emotive colours, her art reflects life’s profound experiences. A leader in her field, Mish has been selected for prestigious artist residencies, and her work is showcased in solo and group exhibitions worldwide. Her pieces celebrate life, capturing joy and beauty, and aim to inspire and connect with viewers on a deep level. Mish’s artistic leadership and innovative techniques continue to captivate and inspire audiences globally.

Olivia Hamilton
Olivia Hamilton is a ceramic artist, writer and researcher originally from Sydney, Australia. She is interested in concepts of materiality, identity, space and time. She makes semi-functional pots that begin on the pottery wheel, and are then altered or have sculptural additions attached. They are decorated with marks made with underglazes and carving, with lush, glossy glazes, and with metallic lustres and colourful enamels. Her art practice is a conversation between maker and material: an attempt to make the physical limits of invisible illness visible, a permanent record of the maker’s state of being at the moment of creation.

Samantha Lang
Samantha Lang is an Illawarra based disabled artist and teacher living with multiple chronic illnesses. Lived experience lies at the core of her art practice, which is concerned with the personal narratives, ideologies and social and political dimensions that are infused into everyday spaces and situations. Samantha’s love of research and her exploration of experimental textile art processes provides the foundation that her artwork rests upon. Samantha’s current artworks focus on finding ways to translate her experiences with chronic illness into tangible forms. She works with and within the limitations of time, materials and health.

Steph Young
Steph is an arts manager based in Naarm, Melbourne, currently freelancing while studying a Master in Arts and Cultural Management at the University of Melbourne. Steph grew up in West Gippsland on Gunaikurnai country, hailing from a small Protea and Australian Native plant farm. They discovered a love of live performance as a child and during high school, found this passion could be merged with a penchant for organisation to excel in stage management.
Steph is passionate about cultivating safe and inclusive spaces in live performance, and is working towards roles that allows them to use their experience to guide emerging artists through their first professional projects.

Sue Jo Wright
Sue Jo Wright is a Sydney-based artist specializing in photography, video, and textiles. She uses her language, Auslan (Australian Sign Language), to explore various themes and perspectives. As an arts facilitator, mentor, and speaker, Sue shares her passion for the arts, encouraging others to learn about art and Deaf culture. She regularly hosts Auslan tours in public galleries and museums for the Deaf community.

Thea Jade
Thea Jade is an arts worker hailing from Ngunnawal Land. Currently working as a performing arts educator, her dedication to youth arts, engagement and advocacy is apparent with her history of work with Canberra Youth Theatre, The Youth Coalition of the ACT, NSW Youth Action, and the Polished Man Campaign. As a playwright, she was a 2023 Canberra Theatre Centre New Ideas Lab Artist, and is now the Artist in Residence at The Street Theatre. With multiple works in development, social change is at the heart of each project. She is thrilled to be developing her professional practice in the Equip Leadership Toolkit program.

Tiffany Wong
Tiffany Wong is an autistic actor and director. She is the 2024 Cosgrave Associate Artist for Bell Shakespeare and the Artistic Director of Slanted Theatre. Tiffany is a director for stage, credits include Atlantis (New Theatre), Boom (Slanted Theatre & KXT bAKEHOUSE), Short Blanket (Slanted Theatre & Meraki Arts Bar), Lady Precious Stream (Slanted Theatre & The Flying Nun at Brand X), Three Fat Virgins Unassembled (Slanted Theatre & KXT bAKEHOUSE), and Ching Chong Chinaman (Slanted Theatre). She has also worked as Associate Director on King Lear (Bell Shakespeare), Assistant Director on Top Coat (Sydney Theatre Company), and Directorial Assistant on Murder For Two (Hayes Theatre Co). As an actor, Tiffany is in the feature film Five Blind Dates (Amazon MGM Studios & Goalpost Pictures) released exclusively on Prime Video. Highlights of her stage career include playing Juliet in Romeo & Juliet (Australian Shakespeare Company). Tiffany attended the Peking Opera Summer School at Shanghai Theatre Academy and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney. She is a proud member of Actors Equity.


Image description: Collage of 16 headshots featuring the successful participants selected for the 2024 Equip Leadership Toolkit program. Top left to bottom right: Steph Young, Sue Jo Wright (photo by David Wimble), Thea Jade, Samantha Lang, Olivia Hamilton (photo by Paul Foley), Mish Graham (photo by Bekky Halls), Alexandra Ellen, Meg Riley, Lillian Hearne (photo by Orla Saphron), Emily-Rose Wills (photo by Melanie Kate), Madison Siegertsz (photo by Kyanm Ross), Holly-lee Dickson, Tiffany Wong, Jana Castillo, Josephine Mitchell and Angie Goto.