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Regional Arts Development Central West NSW

Introducing Artlands 2023 participants

Artlands 5 artists

Creatives from the NSW Central West have also been selected amongst 80 delegates to Artlands, Regional Arts Australia’s national conversation in Canberra 6 – 8 September.

Congratulations to Amala Groom, Kate Smith, Lusi Austin, Shani Nottingham and Stephen Champion.

Representing a diverse range of voices, artforms, industries, interests and experiences, the participants will be coming together from across Australia to meet on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country, Canberra for the Artlands 2023 gathering.

The participants will be building on the conversations and questions generated in idea submissions and the Artlands Online Roundtable Series.

Artlands 2023 is a multi-staged program and has been designed to highlight the critical priorities that will help shape national advocacy and policy agendas.

Click here to see the full list of participants > 

Amala Groom

Amala Groom is a Wiradyuri conceptual artist who lives and works on Wiradyuri Country in Kelso, NSW. Her practice, as the performance of her cultural sovereignty, is informed and driven by First Nations epistemologies, ontologies and methodologies. Across her practice, Groom proactively seeks to dismantle the Colonial Project by asserting the argument that colonialism is not just disadvantageous for First Peoples but is, in fact, antithetical to the human experience. On a deeper note, Groom intends to make work that speaks to the union of all peoples and to the indivisibility of the human experience that traverses identity, culture, race, class, gender and religious worship.

Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, the Ian Potter Cultural Trust, Create-NSW, and Arts OutWest, Groom recently conducted a residency at the British Museum with The Season; the cultural exchange between UK/Australia (2022). Recent awards include the Create-NSW 21/22 Visual Arts Commissioning Grant for $100K (2022) and the Create-NSW First Nations Creative Fellowship w/ State Library of NSW (2022/23).

Instagram: @amalagroom

Image credit: Alex Wisser

Kate Smith

Kate’s rich arts practice has traversed acting, comedic performance, playwriting, academia, advocacy, and research in arts health with Arts OutWest. Her comedic plays with Drew Fairley toured nationally and internationally (2004-2017).

Recent works for stage/screen: Fast Cars a three-year performance project about Wahluu/Mt. Panorama (creator/ performer 2020-23 Local Stages Bathurst); Roast Night (TV Dir; Rick Donald 2023); Highway of Lost Hearts (Stage Dir; Adam Deusien, 2021- touring nationally 2024); Rich, Creative, Life (podcast 2023); Key note State of The Sector, (TNN 2022); Company member Lingua Franca Theatre, board member Theatre Network NSW. Create NSW Regional Arts Fellow (2019-2022).

Lusi Austin

My love of words really began in childhood and over the years has taken many forms.

I graduated from university with a BA in Drama Performance and have written and performed many scripts including a piece I wrote to be performed in situ for the 75th anniversary of the Cowra POW Breakout.

My affair with words continued throughout the years that I homeschooled our 5 children. Reading aloud a wide variety of texts every day to our kids continued to fuel my own passion for the written word.

As a singer songwriter, my word-love turned into lyrics for myEP ‘Walking Contradiction’ which was released in 2020 just before the first Covid Lockdown.

Shortly after this, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus. This has provided many challenges as I try to find ways to manage the symptoms in my body.

Putting down my guitar has meant I’ve had time to pick up my pen and write once more. My work was featured in Edition 2 of Kindling and Sage. Look out for upcoming pieces in Mona and on The Mighty too. 

I wrote, illustrated and self published my fiirst picture book ‘Jack’s Visit to Cowra’ in December 2021. It is available as both an ebook and a hard cover copy. You can purchase a copy from the National Library Bookshop in Canberra. I have a novella and a stage play currently in the works which keep me busy.

My current writing projects include a novella (in the editing stage) an historical fiction work for young adults based on the story of the POW Breakout told from a young boy’s perspective. It is due for release late 2023. I am also in the development stages of writing a 12 scene play with musical numbers again based on the Cowra POW Breakout. The play is called Intertwined.

Shani Nottingham

A multi-disciplinary artist, my practice is pieced together from many strands — from illustration & commercial work to conceptual art, collages, mixed media, photography, sculptural forms & installation. In recent years I have been working with single use plastic breadtags, transforming them from mundane initial purpose to create something ‘other’.

Whatever the medium, I am drawn to pattern & colour, line & repetition.The theme of collecting is consistent too, as I find solace in the process of creating order from chaos, observing similarities & disparities. I search & find small elements of both beauty & comfort in everyday life, finding moments & objects that bind & comfort, or confront & surprise.

Stephen Champion

Stephen Champion was the Manager of the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (BMEC) from 2003 to 2022. Milestones in this period included:

  • The inaugural APACA (now PACA) award for best performing arts centre (2008) plus two successive nominations
  • Establishment of Catapult, the national youth circus & physical theatre festival (2005 – 2016)?
  • Establishment of the BMEC Local Stages program (2007 – present) with seed funding from Create NSW, the Australia Council for the Arts and Bathurst Regional Council
  • Establishment of the Inland Sea of Sound festival (2010 – present)
  • Establishment of the Bathurst Writers’ & Readers’ Festival (2015 – present)
  • Establishment of the BARN residency project (2022 – present)

Stephen was a core member of Circus Oz in its first six years (1978 – 1984), devised his own work Suspense (1984) and performed with many groups including the Meryl Tankard Dance Theatre (1984, 1985 & 1989), the Nimrod Theatre (1987) and Sydney Theatre Company (1985 & 1987).

Stephen was an Associate Director with the Second Studio of Wroclaw, Poland (1986) and Associate Director and then Artistic Director of Jigsaw Theatre Company in Canberra (1988 – 1994). From 1995 to 2002 Stephen worked for the Sydney Festival managing the Domain concerts.

He is a former Chair of the Board of Regional Arts NSW and former Board Member of Arts on Tour and Theatre Network NSW. He has been a peer reviewer on numerous occasions for Create NSW and the Australia Council for the Arts.

Stephen is currently the Project Coordinator for the BARN (Bathurst Arts Residency NSW), a major performing arts residency space with associated accommodation being built at Chifley Dam south of Bathurst. This project is being funded by Creative Capital funding from Create NSW and major in-kind support from Bathurst Regional Council.