Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee

Do you live, work, or study in Nillumbik, or have a strong connection to the Shire? Would you like to play a part in shaping the development of arts and culture in our community?

Nillumbik Shire Council is seeking expressions of interest from local people with a range of backgrounds and experiences to join our Arts and Culture Advisory Committee for a two-year term.

The committee meets regularly to provide specialist advice to Council and enable community participation in the development, implementation and evaluation of arts and culture.

Detail on the committee objectives, membership, meeting frequency, the role of committee members and more is provided in the Terms of Reference(PDF, 311KB).

This is a great opportunity to both contribute to arts and culture in Nillumbik and also benefit your own professional or personal development.

If you want to be involved, and have relevant expertise, experience or lived experience, a good understanding of related local issues, a desire to provide feedback to Council on arts and culture, and a willingness to contribute collaboratively and constructively - we encourage you to apply. 

Nominations close at 11.59pm on Thursday 20 June 2024. 

Submit a nomination

All nominations will be assessed against the selection criteria that is listed in the Terms of Reference

You will be notified of the outcome of your nomination Monday 2 September 2024; and the first meeting of the new committee will be in December 2024.

If you have any questions please contact

Apply here

Purpose and objectives

  • Provide feedback and advice to Council regarding key issues relating to arts and culture.
  • Provide a forum for dissemination and consideration of information to the local community and assist Council to communicate, consult and engage more effectively with the broader Nillumbik community.
  • Keep Council informed of the artistic and cultural needs of the community.
  • Consider and provide advice to Council on the development and implementation of its policies, plans and services that impact arts and culture.
  • Advise on the acquisition and de-accessioning of artworks in accordance with the Nillumbik Shire Art Collection Policy.
  • Act as the Project Reference Group for Arts and Cultural Development projects and policy reviews.
  • Act as the nominated independent assessment panel for Arts and Cultural Development open applications.
  • Contribute to a cycle of continually assessing and improving Nillumbik’s Arts and Cultural Development programs

Meeting frequency

The Advisory Committee will be held quarterly. Exceptional meetings can be called if necessary.

Committee period

The Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee has a crossover of committees and an annual nomination process.

Committee members are appointed for a two-year term. 

  • 2023-25 Committee commenced 25 September 2023.


At Council's Extraordinary Meeting held each November, two Councillors are appointed by Council as the Chairperson and alternate delegate of the Committee (Deputy Chairperson).

Committee members for 2023-2025

Cr Geoff Paine


Yu Fang Chi

Yu Fang Chi is a Taiwan-born Australian artist working within textile, silversmithing, photography, installation, and public art. In her practice, Chi explores the processes of weaving and the position of human body. Grappling with contemporary issues such as environment, emotional cognition, time’s flowing passage and explorations on gender and culture, Chi’s work uses processes of repetition, ephemerality, and the interplay of light and shadow to open discussions around contemporary society's pressing topics.

Chi gained a doctorate from RMIT University and received Diana Morgan Gold & Silversmithing Prize in 2018. She has exhibited extensively, since 2008 her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at the International Handwerksmesse Munich, The Museum of Arts and Crafts ITAMI Japan, The Gallery of Art Legnica in Poland, Beijing International Jewelry Art Biennial and so on. Yu Fang Chi’s work is held in the collections of Gold Museum in Taiwan, Korea Cheongju International Craft Biennale, and Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, France.

Cassie May

Cassie May is a freelance curator and collection management specialist. She has worked with a broad range of art and cultural organisations from local Councils and community groups to commercial art galleries, public and private collections. 

She managed Neospace, a contemporary art gallery in Collingwood (2012 - 2019), is a former Museum Accreditation Manager (AMAGA) and has curated exhibitions including Coming Home (2014); a survey of the history of Bundoora Homestead, City of Darebin, as a Mental Repatriation Hospital (1920 - 1993) for returned servicemen from the First and Second World Wars and later conflicts. 

Cassie is also an arts writer and has contributed to publications including Provenance, Journal for Public Record Office of Victoria, INSITE (Museums Australia Victoria), Museums Australia Magazine, UN magazine and Trouble magazine. She has a Masters of Creative Arts and a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Hons.).

Sandi Miller

Sandi Miller is the Editor of the Warrandyte Diary and Manningham & Nillumbik Bulletin and has loved being part of her community for twenty-five years.

After completing her Journalism degree, she took the reins of Warrandyte Diary, along with her partner James, after stepping out from behind the television camera. Prior to that, she had spent more than twenty years at the ABC, where she worked on a range diverse programs: from Natural History Documentaries to Current Affairs, News, Arts, Drama and Comedy. Being the editor of the Diary and more recently the Manningham and Nillumbik Bulletin has also afforded her an opportunity to become part of the fabric of the local community, getting to know anyone and everyone with a story to tell.

Sandi also produces documentaries and other video content with, and for, the local community, including a recent series on the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios program, and profiles of Montsalvat exhibitions including Bryan Dawe and the NPCA.

Sammaneh Pourshafighi

Sammaneh Pourshafighi is a Queer genderfluid Muslim who arrived in Australia as a refugee after the Iranian Revolution and grew up on the problematic paradise of the Gold Coast. Her ancestral tribes originate from Isfahan, Gilan, and Kurdistan. Her work frequently examines identity politics, mental health, diasporic tensions, ethno-futurism, and the complex relationships between bodies and environments through an intersectional feminist lens.

As part of a trans-disciplinary practice, Pourshafighi’s work encompasses film, performance art, digital art, poetry, collage, painting and photography often with an emphasis on colour, surprising contrasts and humour. Her works have been exhibited at National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, UCLA, United States as well as being published in British Journal of Photography’s Portrait of Britain Volume 5. Pourshafighi is currently co-creating a performance based work Over The Borderline with feminist arts collective APHIDS as part of the Arts House Culture Lab.

Simone Thomson

Simone Thomson is a Melbourne based Fine Art Artist, Muralist and Creative and is a Woi-wurrung Wurundjeri and Yorta-Yorta Traditional Owner through her mother. She draws inspiration for her art through her spiritual connection to Country and the rich colours and textures of earth and sky.

Simone’s artistic practice stems from her deep spiritual connection to Culture and Country, and a creative urge to produce evocative works which connect people of all walks of life and cultural backgrounds to Aboriginal storytelling. This is demonstrated through her culturally safe holistic art practice which includes traditional Smoking and Welcome Ceremonies conducted by her mother, herself and sister, along with regularly delivered Cultural Presentations.

Committee members for 2022-2024

The Committee comprises the following representatives endorsed by Council:

Name About
Cr Geoff Paine Chair
Cr Peter Perkins Alternate Chair
Cr Natalie Duffy Alternate Chair
Alli Spoor (2022-2024 term) 

Alli contributed actively to the 2020-2022 ACAC Committee and has been reappointed to the 2022-2024. She is experienced in all aspects of the committee role. Alli has a Bachelor of Arts Photography (Fine Art and Commercial Photography) and a Bachelor of Design (Communication Design - Graphic Design). She has worked full time as a graphic designer in Nillumbik for almost two decades and has collaborated with Nillumbik Shire Council over those years, designing various arts, community and cultural projects. Alli has lived in Eltham for 12 years and feels most at home surrounded by the trees and birds. She loves that her job allows her to be creative every day. Alli is immersed in many areas of our local arts and culture. Over the course of her term on the Committee she has been actively engaged in the judging of youth art competitions, shortlisting finalists for the literary awards, allocating heritage, arts and community grant funding, shortlisting and selecting responses for a COVID-19 pandemic public art displays, and approving the purchases of new acquisitions for Shire’s Art Collection.

Chloe Mann
(2022-2024 term)

Chloe works at Araluen, a local organisation service for adults with a disability, where she is a support worker and the Arts Connect Coordinator. She has worked in the disability/allied health sector for six years in a range of roles and responsibilities, each of which has given her insight and connection to people and families living with disability. Chloe is interested in the therapeutic and connective value of the arts and the ways in which they can contribute to relationships and community. Chloe’s curiosity and interest in this area led her to further study in a Master of Arts in Public spaces, Art Therapy, and a certificate in Disability. Chloe's studies have given her experience working in a collaborative cross-sectional team as well as dealing with ethical issues associated with producing work in the public realm. Chloe’s role at Araluen aligns with her values of care, understanding and creativity. She brings vital knowledge of the disability sector to the Committee along with expert knowledge of NDIS and DHS policy and regulation.

Leanne Ipsen
(2022-2024 term)

Leanne was a very active member of the 2020-22 ACAC Committee and has been re-appointed. She is experienced in all aspects of the role. Leanne is a practicing local artist with strong connections to community. She lives and volunteers in Nillumbik and has been a U3A arts tutor for six years. Leanne taught arts, drama and debating at Eltham High for 40 years and is now retired. Leanne has been involved in many community art projects and local exhibitions. As an active Arts & Culture audience member and organiser, she has an excellent awareness of Arts & Culture in Nillumbik.

Elsa Ch'ng
(2022-2024 term)

Elsa works at Tarra Warra Museum of Art as the Manager of External Relations. Previously, she worked at McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery, and has been involved with other arts organisations such as Gertrude Contemporary. She has a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies (Deakin) and a Graduate Certificate in Fine Arts (Art in the Public Space), RMIT. Elsa is passionate about moving art out of the 'white cube' and into the public space. She is currently completing a Master of Art Curatorship at the University of Melbourne. Elsa has excellent knowledge on best practice in the museum and gallery space, in addition to collections and curatorial skills, Elsa also has over a decade’s experience in the arts, community development and advocacy, and has previously worked in community development in the Western suburbs with diverse cultural groups. Elsa has lived in Eltham with her family for 7 years and has extensive knowledge of the arts landscape (both locally and in the broader Melbourne metro area). She is actively engaged in Nillumbik arts and culture. Elsa is passionate about the local community and about advocating for the arts and engaging the community in the arts. She strongly believes in engaging all diverse groups in the community.

Rebecca Davies
(2022-2024 term)

Rebecca contributed actively to the 2020-2022 ACAC Committee and was reappointed to the 2022-2024 Committee. She is experienced in all aspects of the role. Rebecca has been a resident of Nillumbik for many years, having grown up in Diamond Creek, where her ancestors arrived in the 1860's. She has a strong connection to the heritage of Nillumbik. Rebecca has cultural heritage expertise and is also a local visual artist specialising in photography. She has a B.APP Sci in Photography and a Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies. Rebecca is passionate about local history and community exhibitions. She has expertise in collections management and digitalisation (Museums Vic). Rebecca is actively engaged in arts and culture in Nillumbik and has strong knowledge of the Shire's creative landscape.

Terrie Waddell
(2022-2024 term)

Terrie is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor of Languages and Cultures at La Trobe University. During her academic career in Screen and Media Studies at La Trobe, she held the roles of Director of Research by Higher Degree (Humanities 2013-2016) and Head of Creative Arts and English (2017-2019). Terrie is a resident of Eltham and the author of several published books, chapters and peer reviewed articles. During her PhD, she wrote extensively for the arts journal The Melburnian (formerly The Melbourne Report), interviewing theatre practitioners and authors. Having initially trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts before working in film, television, and theatre, she has always been invested in the value and potential of the arts sector. In 2021, Terrie was involved in a collaborative project with Montsalvat and La Trobe University - Filming Young Writers at Montsalvat – which inspired her interest in the cultural landscape of Nillumbik. Terrie’s careers, first as a performer and then an academic with significant leadership roles, gives her a unique perspective on the arts. Her vast experience and skills are unique and add strength to the Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee.

Chris Cook
(2022-2024 term) 

Chris is a practicing artist, a natural history expert, presenter and image maker. Chris has had a rewarding career that has taken him all over the world photographing, filming, presenting and leading expeditions. He is driven by his passion to connect people with the natural world. Chris is currently a presenter at the Melbourne Zoo and a guest lecturer for multiple international companies. Chris's professional work has allowed him to be based anywhere in the world. Chris chose to live locally because of the region’s natural beauty. In recent years, Chris has pursued further education, building on his science degree obtained in 2005. Chris has recently completed several post graduate courses in film making and a post graduate certificate in creative arts at Deakin University (2021). He is currently undertaking an honours degree in visual arts at Deakin. Chris's work focusses on connecting local people to their local natural environment. He has facilitated multiple community art projects including street art and online workshops and has publicly displayed his short films. Chris has been involved in arts programs through Council since 2020, successfully delivering a Live July program and a Nillumbik Artist in Own Residence project for and with the Nillumbik Community. He has recently completed an artist residency at Ivanhoe Library and Gallery. Chris is highly motivated to being part of a process that continues to improves our community and to help others artists thrive in the region.

Mel Paine
(2022-2024 term)

Mel has worked for many years as a visual artist, a children's theatre performer and a youth worker. She brings expertise in social work/youth development to the committee. Mel has lived in Eltham for 10 years and is actively engaged in arts and culture in Nillumbik. She has many connections in the community through her art, family and personal interests. Mel completed a youth-focused Nillumbik Artist in Own Residence project in May 2022. Mel is energetic, has strong communication skills and is a highly motivated person. She loves hearing people's stories. Mel also has experience working in diverse communities and a passion for multiculturalism, reconciliation and connecting (isolated) communities and people.

Jean Verso
(2022-2024 term)

Jean is a historian and archivist. She is an active and involved member of the Nillumbik community. Now retired, she lives on the farm she grew up on, North of Hurstbridge, and has deep and abiding family, social and community ties covering four generations. Jean has been a member, volunteer, and committee member of the Nillumbik Historical Society for 16 years and has been President for four years. She has exceptional research and IT skills. Jean brings with her a deep knowledge of local history and also specific arts and culture historical knowledge. This will enhance the knowledge of the Committee and help inform current arts and culture goals. Jean is also a member of the Yarra Plenty Heritage Network and is able to draw on this expertise as an adjunct to her own.


Minutes from each Committee meeting are confirmed at the next meeting of the Committee.