Kerry Comerford, CEO
Kerry is an experienced senior executive in the arts and entertainment industry with over 35 years of experience working with a diverse range of companies from state theatre companies, festivals, orchestras, the indigenous arts to international commercial producers. Kerry’s knowledge and skill incorporates marketing, financial management and human resources as well as market development, commercial licensing and joint venture projects. Kerry has a proven ability in instigating and delivering strategic plans in often complex and challenging environments and has considerable experience as a chair, non-executive, and executive director of commercial, government and not-for-profit boards and committees in the arts, entertainment and tourism.
Liz Martin, Arts Development and Training Manager
Liz is one of NSW’s leading specialists in disability-related access and inclusion for the arts and cultural sector and has over 20 years of experience working within the arts and disability sector as a musician, producer, trainer and advocate. Liz currently works as Accessible Arts’ Arts Development and Training Manager. In this role Liz provides training and consulting services to a broad range of arts organisations across NSW from major companies – such as Sydney Festival, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and Sydney Biennale – to small independent operators. Liz is also a board member of Arts Access Australia, a member of Sydney Festival’s Access & Inclusion Advisory Panel, and an active leader within the arts and disability community.
Michael Badorrek, Marketing and Communications Manager
Michael has over 25 years of experience as a marketing, communications, fundraising and events professional in the fields of media, creative industries, community health and international development. This includes senior management positions with leading not-for-profit agencies in Sydney and Bangkok as well as leading Australian screen industry organisations such as the ABC and Screen Qld. Michael has also worked as an ABC journalist, communications consultant, filmmaker and theatre producer.
Daniel Jaramillo, Trainee Administrator
Daniel is a Sydney University graduate in philosophy and cultural studies. Daniel completed high school at the Australian Institute of Music. Daniel’s skills range from research on all things related to popular culture to writing and thinking critically about topics such as music, news, media, entertainment, politics or sport to ethical and social issues. Since graduating from university in 2016, Daniel has contributed over 150 concert, album, art and film reviews to various websites and publications as well as community radio stations.
Our Trainers & Advisers
- Athena Pavlis-Goard
- Cobie Moore
- Dan Graham
- Daniel Savage
- Emily Dash
- Erika Gelzinnis
- Faye Chamberlain
- Georgie Zuzak
- Glenn McKenzie
- Holly Craig
- Jack Dowdell
- Jeff Wood
- Karen Peacock
- Keith Rutherford
- Madeleine Lidbetter
- Maree Jenner
- Michelle Brown
- Rebecca McCormack
- Riana Head-Toussaint
- Winston Stearn
- Young-Hoo Byun
Emeritus Professor Sharman Pretty, Chairperson
BMus (Hons), Adelaide; Künstlerische Reifeprüfung, Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Freiburg im Breisgau.
As one of Australasia’s most experienced leaders in higher education, the arts and creative industries, Sharman Pretty has served on the senior executive team as Professor and Dean at the Universities of Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne from 1994 – 2010. In 2010, she established Teamsolve, providing consultancy services to the higher and professional education, government and not-for-profit sectors.
Andrew Buchanan, Vice Chairperson
Andrew is a communications and media consultant based in Sydney, with more than 25 years in broadcasting as an announcer and journalist on radio and television with the ABC, including leadership of the ABC’s 60 local radio stations around Australia. He was also General Manager of the ABC’s International Development area with training consultancies in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and South Africa. Andrew is regarded as having special expertise in staff motivation and facilitating corporate change. Andrew has held board positions as Chair of NSW Disability Council, is currently a member on the Board of Cerebral Palsy Alliance and the national Chair of Open Gardens Australia. Andrew was awarded a Public Service Medal in the 1995 Australian Day Honours for services to communication, regional and rural communities.
William Thorne, Treasurer
MCom (Hons), LLB (Hons) BCom (Accounting).
Will currently works for American Express, managing large merchant, B2B and airline risk for the Asia Pacific region. Prior to joining American Express, Will was a manager in KPMG’s Management Consulting division where he worked on a wide range of engagements in the areas of health, community services, education and justice. Clients include NSW Health, Ageing Disability and Home Care, Enable NSW and Ability Options. Will was also awarded the University of South Australia University Medal for his dissertation on strategic performance measurement systems in service organisations.
Kate Lidbetter, Secretary
BA (Syd Uni), Grad Dip Arts Management (UTS), Master of Policy (UNSW), Grad Cert Applied Finance (Kaplan), Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD)
Kate is Chief Executive Officer of Symphony Australia, also known as Symphony Services International. Previous positions have included Director of Music at the Australia Council for the Arts (2005-8), Artist Development Manager of Symphony Australia (1997-2005), Artistic Administrator of the Australian Youth Orchestra (1995-7) and General Manager of Sydney Children’s Choir (1994 -5) and was Chair of Ensemble Offspring until 2014. Kate represents professional orchestras as a Councillor of Music Australia, and is currently Chair of Gondwana Choirs. She regularly participates on panels, committees and juries for various music organisations in Australia and abroad.
Alex Jones, Director
Alex Jones is an advocate for people who are Deaf or have a hearing impairment. Alex is a Co-Founder and Brand Ambassador of Access Innovation Media (Ai-Media), which developed Ai-Live, a real-time word-accurate speech-to-text captioning program using broadband technology which won on ABC1’s The New Inventors. Alex was born to a Deaf family in Michigan, U.S.A., and graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 1997, he was recruited by the Australian Theatre of the Deaf, was the Director of the 2005 Deaflympic Games Cultural Festival in Melbourne and toured Australia with Heads Up!, a theatre-in-education production. Alex played Lyle Slater on the Australian TV drama All Saints from 2001 to 2002. Since 2004, he has served as an ambassador for Don’t DIS my ABILITY and is currently the Chairperson of the Deafness Forum of Australia; a body representing the interests of people with hearing impairments, or chronic disorders of the ear.
David Kay, Director
David is a Director of KPMG’s Health, Ageing and Human Services team. He has more than 15 years’ experience in advising governments and large not-for-profit organisations on human services sector reform, program review and evaluation, strategic and operational planning and operational improvement. The majority of David’s recent work has focused on disability sector strategy and reform and the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). David is currently a Board Member for Muscular Dystrophy NSW and the Chair of the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation Australia. Previously, he was the inaugural director of the Parramatta Artists’ Studios, where he developed an innovative hub for emerging artists.
Michael Dagostino, Director
Michael Dagostino is the director of Campbelltown Arts Centre, a flagship contemporary art institution in south-western Sydney. His passion and dedication is focussed on collaborating with contemporary artists and curators to challenge historical, economic and social frameworks. Michael’s career highlights includes being the chair of Artspace, on the boards of Accessible Arts, FBi Radio, and has had leadership positions on the NSW State Government Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee, Western Sydney Arts and Cultural Lobby and Sydney Cultural Network.
Emily Dash, Director
Emily Dash is an accomplished filmmaker and theatremaker as well as a dedicated industry advocate for arts practitioners and audiences with disability or who are Deaf. Emily has written, produced, directed and/or performed in many screen and stage productions in Sydney and has worked with the ABC and Sydney Opera House. Emily has participated in several Accessible Arts professional development programs and is a member of Accessible Arts’ Advisory Panel.
Jaci Armstrong, Director
Jaci Armstrong has extensive experience in the disability, government and health sectors including positions with NSW and Federal MPs and at KPMG in Sydney. Jaci has also served as National Policy Advisor for Guide Dogs Australia (GDA) where she led strategy and engagement with government and industry bodies. Ms Armstrong also represented GDA on blindness sector peak bodies Vision2020 Australia and Blind Citizens Australia, and was one of four Australian delegates to the World Blind Union. Jaci also has substantial governance experience and currently serves on the boards of People with Disability Australia and HireUp. Ms Armstrong is also a former chairperson of Riding for the Disabled. Jaci has extensive lived experience of disability. Having had significant vision loss since birth, she has benefited from having a Guide Dog as her primary mobility aid for over 20 years. Further understanding of the importance of accessible design, inclusive practices and attitudes has been reinforced by observing the experiences of her twin sister who has cerebral palsy.
Image: AArts staff and advisors in 2019 (credit: Daniel Jaramillo)