Speakers 2014

Aly de Groot (Darwin)

De Groot is a visual artist from Darwin, influenced by the diversity of cultures and the intensity of climate and landscape in Northern Australia. As a contemporary fibre artist she recognizes the importance of basketry in relation to environment and cross-cultural exchange. Since 2005 she has been involved in many creative projects with Ghost Nets Australia (www.ghostnets.com.au) and worked with Indigenous rangers, weavers and schools so as to find creative avenues to dispose of this dire environmental threat, whilst creating widespread awareness about the impact of discarded marine debris upon sea life and remote coastal communities. She is currently working on a large public art commission for the City of Darwin, with Larrakia Nation elder, Bilawara Lee, which will see her woven forms interpreted as large cast jellyfish figures residing permanently seaside in the East Point Nature reserve, Fannie Bay, Darwin.

‘Aly de Groot is a visual artist from Northern Australia who takes the traditions of basket-making and weaving, then drags them kicking and screaming into strange new places’ As seen on Art Nation, ABC TV, March, 2011

Banatjarl Womens Group (Katherine region)

The Banatjarl Women's Council was formed in 2003 in response to Jawoyn women's call for a focus on family, women and healing. Since then, the council has been working toward their goal of establishing a family and healing centre. They have identified the Banatjarl area in King Valley as a place for their dreams to come to fruition. They have also renamed the council 'Banatjarl Strongbala Wumin Grup' - a Kriol name that recognises the council as a group of Indigenous women from many different language areas but who all share the language of Kriol.

Aunty Bea Ballangarry (Coffs Harbour NSW)

Aunty Bea Ballangarry is a Gumbaynggirr Elder from the Coffs Harbour region in the Mid North Coast NSW. At 71, Aunty Bea describes herself as ‘just crossing the threshold’ with the work she is here to do. Aunty Bea is a tireless volunteer in education, community development, crisis intervention and advocacy of women’s issues. With qualifications in Aboriginal and Islander Studies and Women Studies, Aunty Bea is also a survivor of family violence and believes her skills in community, personal and political areas have been acquired through these experiences. Aunty Bea has transformed all her suffering into positive, intelligent strategies for personal and community action that has earned her an Order of Australia AM (2006), the Grace Roberts Award for Community development (2007) and Coffs Harbour Citizen of the Year (2008) and recently was honoured on the National Treasure Roll.

Aunty Bea is a co-founder of WOW Women Of the World Coffs Harbour and has been integral in establishing a Story Circle model for wellbeing. This Story Circle concept was developed from her childhood learning where she was supported to be strong in the ‘old ways’ of cultural learning through listening and ceremony. Aunty Bea is now taking this model for Story Circles in to many community organisations which include the sectors of health, mental health and trauma and recovery. Aunty Bea believes ‘story heals’.

Bess Nungarrayi Price MLA (Alice Springs)

The Hon. Bess Nungarrayi Price MLA is a Warlpiri woman from Central Australia. She is the Minister for Community Services, Statehood, Women's Policy and Parks and Wildlife in the Northern Territory. Bess was born in Yuendumu in the Tanami Desert. Her first language is Warlpiri and she also knows Anmatyerr, Pitjantjatjara, Luritja and Western Arrernte. She became a mother at the age of 13. At age 18, after surviving years of domestic violence, she left the father of the child and began to study to become a teacher. Bess has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Aboriginal Community Management and Development from Curtin University. She has worked in education and training, public administration, the media, community development, interpreting, translating and language teaching and has experience in small business management. Bess was elected to the Northern Territory Parliament in 2012, and was promoted to Cabinet in the portfolios of Community Services, Women’s Policy, Men’s Policy, Parks and Wildlife and Statehood in September 2013. Bess is not only an outspoken advocate for women, children and families in Aboriginal communities but across Australia, campaigning tirelessly for their protection from violence and sexual abuse. In 2013 she was a nominee for the US International Women's Courage Award.

Andy Blaney (Katherine)

Andy Blaney is employed by the Katherine Women’s Crisis Centre as a Family Violence Counsellor. He commenced working in the field of family violence in the early 1990’s as a facilitator of Men’s Behaviour Change Programs or, as they were more commonly known as, Anger Management Programs. He worked for many years as an Alcohol and Other Drugs counsellor, generalist counsellor and as a Senior Clinician in Gambler’s Help programs in both community and prison, the Department of Justice, Juvenile Justice and the Berry St. Community Service and Mental Health Services, while facilitating weekly programs and support groups. In 2008, he returned to the employ of Latrobe Community Health Service to supervise the Men’s Behaviour Change /Family Violence unit which was finally funded by the Victorian Government FACHSIA department. He wrote and facilitated the CHOICES program for Aboriginal Men in 2010 which he co-facilitated at the Wulgunggo Ngalu Learning Centre (DOJ) and the Morwell & Bairnsdale LCHS sites.

 Cath Bowdler (Katherine)

Cath Bowdler is currently the Director of Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre in Katherine in the Northern Territory. She is an arts administrator, curator and academic who has worked extensively with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and artists over the last 20 years. She has been Director of 24HR Art in Darwin, Lecturer at Charles Darwin University, Director of Wagga Wagga Art Gallery and lecturer at Charles Sturt University. She holds a PhD from the Australian National University in the field of Aboriginal art and culture. She is co-director of WOW Katherine 2013 and 2014.

Catherine Marriott

Having worked in Agriculture her whole life, Catherine is inspired by the people that work in our amazingly diverse, progressive and contributing industry. Catherine has worked both here in Australia and also globally in agriculture and has developed a passion for and deep understanding of the role that Australian agriculture plays in feeding the world, caring for our country and providing opportunities for future generations.A director, facilitator and professional speaker, Catherine has developed specialist skills in leadership, communication, self-awareness coaching (MBTI Accredited), professional networking, project management and developing international relationships, she is passionate about living and learning and sharing her knowledge and experiences with others. Catherine is on a number of committees and also plays a vital role as one of four independent directors on an International Federal Board, the Indonesian Australian Partnership for Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector, working closely with Minister Barnaby Joyce.

 Cathy Hunt (Brisbane)

Cathy Hunt is a successful consultant and business woman, with twenty-five years experience providing advice to governments, architects, planners, arts and cultural organisations and artists in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. She has worked on local, state and national cultural policies and plans (including Creative Australia), major precinct and facilities developments (including the development of Godinymayin Arts and Culture Centre in Katherine), on major events (including as co-ordinator of WOW in Australia) and with individual artists and companies.

She has been pioneering research and thinking on new approaches to financing for the non profit sector, including the creation of QuickstART a micro-loans scheme to assist artists to develop their work. Cathy is a Director of Positive Solutions and has served on the Board of a number of arts organisations, including Events Queensland and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. She is a passionate advocate for artists and the arts, for equality of opportunity particularly in the area of education and cultural expression, and for access to the internet and a swimming pool wherever you may be!

 Cerise King (Katherine)

Cerise is an Indigenous woman, born and bred in Katherine. She is a bodybuilder and former ALP Candidate for the seat of Katherine and remains active in politics. Cerise is interested in natural bodybuilding, social justice and human rights. She works in Aboriginal languages and volunteers at local radio station 8KTR.

Claire Nicholl

Claire has been the Manager of Babbarra Designs for the past 2 years and textiles supervisor for the year prior. Babbarra Designs is a manufacturer of fine indigenous textile art, based in Maningrida in central Arnhem Land and operate out of the Babbarra Women’s Centre. The Women’s Centre in Maningrida provides employment and training opportunities for women through the establishment and operation of appropriate small business enterprises. Babbarra Designs, their textile art business, is one of the centre’s major activities.The Maningrida region of central Arnhem Land is one of immense cultural and linguistic diversity. The work of the textile artists depicts the landscape, dreaming stories, spirit beings, bush foods and bush crafts from their country surrounding Maningrida.

Chantal Ober (Katherine)

Chantal Ober is a 24 year old proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman. Her mother is from the Mamu Bagirbarra clan of the Innisfail area Nth Qld and her father is from the Koey Buway Samu clan of Saibai Island in the Torres Strait. She grew up in Batchelor and Palmerston before moving to Katherine when she was 18 years old. During the 7 years she lived in Katherine she worked at Batchelor Institute, child care centres, Clyde Fenton Primary School and Katherine West Health Board.

She is currently working at the YMCA Katherine as a Youth Worker and has been in this position since August 2012. One of the YMCA programs is the Girls Group, which aims to provide a safe, supportive, fun environment for young girls in Katherine. They have recently completed their first Fashion Parade Project at the Barunga Festival 2014 and are making another appearance at this year’s WOW Festival.

She is also a member of Heritage Christian Church and runs the Church Youth Connect group as well as the Shine Girl Program, which is delivered in Katherine High School and St Joseph’s Catholic College. She was awarded Young Citizen of the Year, 2014 at the Katherine Australia Day Awards and also appointed to the position of Australian Government Indigenous Young Member for National Youth Week 2015.

 Clare Pearce (Katherine)

A Katherine resident for 14 years and an NT original for her whole life Clare Pearce spent much of her childhood in and around Darwin’s rural area and remote communities from Jay Creek near Alice Springs to Minjilang in Croker Island and many points in between. Clare has always managed her work life balance to her advantage, meeting her future husband while they were both trainees finding their way around the Parks and Wildlife Commission in the very late 1980’s.

Clare has worked for the Parks on and off for around 15 years and in between managed the Greening Australia nursery in Katherine and had a wonderful time working with the team at the Mitre 10 nursery while her 2 children were growing up. A love of living outdoors and a need to reconnect with nature on a regular basis has led to a career filled with amazing opportunities, wonderful people and a fulfilling life.

 Dani Mattiuzzo Ford (Katherine)

Dani grew up in Darwin, NT, to an Italian father and Australian mother. From a very early age, she had a strong sense of social justice and fairness, as well as being a bossy, mother hen! At the age of about 12 she decided she was going to be a police officer, and, at 16 she joined the NT Police as a police cadet. She was the youngest cadet in the two-year program. After a couple of months the program was axed and she was propelled into mainstream policing as a 17 year old Constable - too young to go into pubs and had P plates on the police car. She worked in Darwin and Nhulunbuy for a few years before transferring to Katherine. She has worked in many areas of policing but always finds herself bouncing back to working with kids. She has been involved in the Road Safety Council, St Joseph’s School Board, running of Blue Light Activities and Good Beginnings. She has been awarded the Australian Police Medal and the Australian Bravery Medal, and teaches yoga and group fitness classes.

 Deb Kilroy (Brisbane)

Deb Kilroy OAM, MLB, GDLPrac, BSocWk is a former prisoner, Principal Lawyer of Kilroy & Callaghan Lawyers and CEO of Sisters Inside – an independent community organisation in Brisbane, that advocates for the human rights of criminalised women and girls. Kilroy is a strong, active advocate for the implementation and monitoring of human rights within women’s prisons and works against discriminatory practices. Kilroy has participated in several international meetings, including the expert meeting to develop the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measure for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules) and the Commission on the Status of Women sessions annually. She is the first person convicted of serious criminal offences admitted to practice law in Australia. Her expertise is in criminal defense law.

 Fay Miller (Katherine) Mayor of Katherine

Fay Miller arrived in Katherine late 1989 and fell in love with the lifestyle and the community spirit and to decide to make Katherine her home. She has been involved in a wide variety of community activities since that time, including social photographer, owning a tourist park and licensed general store, Chairperson and executive member of the Katherine Region Tourist Association, board member of NT Tourist Commission, board member of Tourism Training NT, board member of Katherine Hospital, elected member of the NT Legislative Assembly and first elected as an Alderman to Katherine Town Council in 2002. She was elected Mayor of Katherine in March 2012 along with 6 elected members to Council.

  Georgia Underwood (VRD region)

Georgia is a 3rd generation Northern Territory pastoralist who has grown up in the bush, living on cattle stations in the Alice Springs district, the Gulf of Carpentaria and the southern edge of Arnhem land. Georgia now lives on and manages Riveren Station in the Victoria River District of the Northern Territory with her husband Michael. There they are raising their finest achievements Xavier, Christina and Alexandra. Georgia’s tertiary qualifications include a Bachelor of Science majoring in genetics, and two years of a commerce degree in finance and accounting, both from Monash University. Like most of the women in the bush, Georgia is actively involved in industry and community organizations, she is involved in the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, Isolated Children’s Parents Association, Victoria River District Conservation Association, has just completed 6 years as deputy chair of Territory Natural Resource Management, and is chair of the Katherine School of the Air School Council.

Giovanna Webb (Darwin)

Giovanna was born in Bogota (Colombia), and studied animal husbandry and production. She graduated with the University Medal. She applied her skills to the relatively new and innovative field of reptiles (commercial production of caiman skins, iguanas and boa) for the international market. It was through this occupation that she met and married Professor Grahame Webb, considered one of the world’s leading experts on crocodile conservation, management and sustainable use.  They own and operate Wildlife Management International Pty Limited (WMI) which, amongst other things, developed Crocodylus Park and The Wildlife Company. She immigrated to Darwin in 1997 and became an Australian citizen in March 2003. Their family tourism and crocodile skin business in Darwin continues to expand, housing 10,000+ crocodiles destined for the high-end European fashion houses, and being the largest private tourist attraction in Darwin. Their family has long-standing relationships with traditional Aboriginal families from Arnhem Land and Giovanna has been actively involved in training programs aimed at advancing the opportunities for Indigenous women within the crocodile industry.

Grace Lillian Lee (Cairns)

Grace Lillian Lee is a fashion designer based in Cairns, Australia. An Honors Graduate from RMIT University, she works as a curator and mentor within a fashion dialogue. Grace creates bespoke designs - practicing cultural craftsmanship into contemporary forms to inspire and inform. Grace collaborates to explore innovation and technique and has showcased in San Francisco, New Zealand, Melbourne and Sydney. Grace continues her work via working within Australian Indigenous communities to help translate art into fashion. Collaborating with Darnley Island in the Torres Straits and working alongside communities in Darwin, Port Moresby and Cairns to create a gateway and platform for Indigenous design to be seen in a contemporary way.

Helen Summers (Darwin)

Helen has been in private optometry practice in Darwin for 16 years, with nine visiting clinics in regional and remote areas across 1500 sq km of the Top End, including Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Jabiru (Kakadu), Adelaide River, Batchelor and Arnhemland homelands. In 2013 she was awarded National Business Owner Award and NT Telstra Business Women for the Year. In 2014 she became an Australian Business Woman's Hall of Fame inductee. Helen has an interest in dry eye and anterior eye disease, glaucoma and macula management, contact lenses, children’s vision, neuro-optometry conditions and Indigenous health and embraces the latest in technology and research ideas. The practice is in partnership with Flinders University and hosts final year students for training and mentoring. In April 2014 Helen relocated her practice and opened as Australia’s flagship Nikon concept practice.

Isisara Bey (New York)

Isisara Bey is the co-ordinator of WOW Harlem, New York. She is Journey Agent, an intuitive guide, pathfinder and facilitator of insight and empowerment for the passage from where we are to where we were born to be.  As founder of Journey Agent Productions, she designs, produces and leads live events, workshops, coaching sessions, conferences and retreats for individuals, groups and teams. For seven years, she concurrently served as Vice President of Programs & Education for Count Me In For Women’s Economic Independence (CMI), and Journey Agent for its signature Make Mine a Million $ Business, Urban Rebound and Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp national programs. Prior to joining CMI in September 2007, she was Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Sony Music Entertainment, directing the company's corporate strategic philanthropy, non-profit, government and external outreach, and popular employee enhancement activities. As part of Sony Music’s government affairs team, she served on the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board. Before that, she was director of Corporate Affairs for Sony Pictures in Los Angeles, having been selected from a national search for its Management Associates fast track executive training program. Her professional career began as an award-winning, on-air morning drive personality and producer for WEAA.FM, and news writer and producer for WJZ-TV, both in Baltimore, MD.

Jess Sullivan (Darwin)

Jess Sullivan grew up on Cave Creek (cattle) station just outside Mataranka and went to boarding school in Alice Springs at 12 years old. She was introduced to the game of Australian Rules through high school and since then has umpired, played, coached and managed in a number of different teams from school to national level. When she finished school she completed a traineeship with AFLNT and is now employed as the AFL Darwin Rural Development Co-ordinator working mainly with kids, females and multicultural communities from Howard Springs to Pine Creek and Jabiru across to Dundee Beach.

Jo Dodd (Darwin)

In 1999 Jo Dodd co-founded Viva La Body along with her partner Micko Srbinovski.  Initially a natural soap and body product business it has expanded to include fashion and jewellery design. Viva La Body operate a boutique based in Darwin City and trade at various local markets and also have an online store. Jo has lived in Darwin for over 21 years and holds a Batchelor of Fine Arts degree from Charles Darwin University. Inspired by nature, all things fragrant and a deadly drum beat Jo creates some really unique soap!

Jo Nixon (Alice Springs)

Jo Nixon arrived in Alice Springs 22 years ago to begin a career as an audiologist working in the remote communities learning about indigenous cultures and people. Although she continues as an audiologist her life took an unexpected turn when Aunty Ado Dunlop arrived to her house with 100 beanies she had made with the indigenous community at Yuendumu. They decided to have a party to sell the beanies and make money for the ladies so they invited all their friends had a band and made pumpkin soup. That party was 18 years ago and Jo’s skills have developed in grant writing, marketing, workshop delivery, accounting, volunteer coordination and the list goes on. They now have one Australia's most quirky iconic festivals: the Alice Springs Beanie Festival. Over 7,000 beanies, 9,000 visitors and $170,000 turn over in four days. They are one of the worlds many stories of ‘from little things big things explode’.

Jude Kelly OBE (London)

Jude Kelly is the Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, Britain’s largest cultural institution, and founder of the WOW - Women of the World Festival. She founded Solent People's Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, was the Artistic Director of the York Festival and Mystery Plays, and later became the founding director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse. In 1997 she was awarded the OBE for her services to the theatre. She has directed over 100 productions including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, the English National Opera, the Châtalet in Paris and in the West End. Jude left the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2002 to found Metal, which through its artistic laboratory spaces provides a platform where artistic hunches can be pursued in community contexts. It has creative bases in Liverpool and Southend-On-Sea. Jude is chair of Metal, member of the London Cultural Strategy Group, Visiting Professor at Kingston and Leeds Universities and the Shanghai Centre for the Performing Arts, and was a member of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Board. The WOW Festival, launched in 2011 at Southbank Centre in London is a global festival taking place in New York, Baltimore, Australia, India and across the UK. Jude is co-director of WOW Katherine.

Julia Cannon

Julia was originally born in Moree, NSW but moved to Far North Queensland when she was a young child. She has done a range of jobs including as a deckhand, working in a merger broking firm, as an assistant in a preschool, even a stint as a governess and ran a Live In Horsemanship School (1975) before converting the business to a boarding house for remote boarders, run in conjunction with Downlands College, Toowoomba. She managed a property in the Gulf of Carpentaria (Lyrian) before moving to the Cape York Peninsula, to live at Rutland Plains Station for nearly 19 yrs.
She was involved in the local Isolated Children's Parent's Association and was nominated to be their first Fundraising Officer for Qld State level.
The family left Rutland Plains after buying the Burke & Wills Roadhouse, south of Normanton Qld, which she owned and operated for 9 years, selling after her husband Peter was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Julia has recently been involved in doing casual work as a relief cook in the very isolated aboriginal communities in the APY Lands.

Kavisha Mazzella  OAM (Melbourne)

"A power and presence that's beyond words" Colum Sands ARIA award and a former Port Fairy Artist of the Year winner, songbird Kavisha Mazzella’s original songs lyrical ingredients include humour, poetry, social justice and the spiritual. Combine this prowess with the voice of an angel and you have the experience of a Kavisha concert. Singing in English and Italian, she will take you on an uplifting boundary-crossing journey of well-crafted stories and songs ringing with echoes of Celtic, Fado and Gypsy influences that will strike a resounding chord within. With 6 solo albums under her belt, she has sung and given vocal workshops at national music festivals and abroad. In 2011 Kavisha was awarded an Australia Day Honour for her contribution to music and reflecting the experience of refugee, multicultural and indigenous communities through performance.

Kim Mahood (ACT)

Kim Mahood, who grew up on the Tanami Desert, is the author of Craft for a Dry Lake (Random House 2000) which won several awards for non-fiction including the Age Book of the Year and the NSW Premier’s Award. Her essays are published regularly in journals and collections, and the essay ‘Kartiya are like Toyotas: White Workers on Australia’s Cultural Frontier’, was included in the Best Australian Essays 2012. She was awarded the 2013 Peter Blazey Fellowship for a non-fiction work in progress, and co-edited Desert Lake: art, science and stories from Paruku.

She is also a practising artist with work held in state, territory and regional collections. She lives near Canberra, and spends several months each year in the Tanami and Great Sandy Desert region, working on projects with Aboriginal traditional owners. She was awarded the 2014 HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship at the Australian National University.

Kirsten Engels (Katherine)

Kirsten Engels has lived in Katherine for the past three and a half years with her husband and three children. Both are Police Officers and have served in New Zealand, Queensland and now the Northern Territory Police Forces.  On the 1st of January 2012, she decided to train for a bodybuilding competition. On the 27th of September that year she competed and took out the Ms Physique NT title at the INBA show and then placed 4th in the National Championships. In 2013 she competed again and won the overall Geelong Conquest Classic WFF title, first in the Darwin WFF Tall Division and came 3rd in the Southern Hemisphere Championships Masters Division. Her current goal is to qualify and compete at the WFF World Championships in November 2014 on the Gold Coast.

Leigh Tabrett (Brisbane)

Leigh Tabrett has worked as a teacher, university administrator and public servant, and as an advisor to State (Qld) and Federal Governments on higher education, and in arts and culture. She has worked on affirmative action for women in universities, and led national policy reforms on quality assurance in higher education, and on access and equity for people under-represented in higher education. She is a keen student of leadership, and now works on leadership development, as a change agent, and as a commentator on arts and cultural policy matters. Her involvement with WOW reflects a lifetime of advocacy for women and women’s access to education, and the fact that she is the mother of two daughters.

Linda Joy

Linda Joy is a Darwin based arts educator and practicing visual artist.   From a young age she was inspired by oil painting and photography, studying the later at the Queensland College of Art in the early eighties and culminating in a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the nineties.Linda moved to the Territory in 1994 where she got stuck, likely for the rest of her life, investing her time and creative energy raising her three beautiful, successful and good looking daughters. Currently her practice is focused on drawing with ink on canvas where she synthesizes observations of Top End landscapes from aerial perspective using water as the keystone of composition.  Linda Joy recently won the Katherine Art Prize and presented her second solo exhibition ‘Water for Object’ at Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, September 2013.  Her artistic journey is underpinned by her journals. These are extensive reflections of not only her Australian and international travels, but also the development of her love for ink and charcoal. With her daughters having flown the coop recently, she has a few luxuries on her hands; spare time, peace, quiet and bedrooms that can be converted to studios. Hence her arts practice has unfolded again.



Lisa Mumbin (Katherine)

Lisa was born and raised in Katherine and she is a Jawoyn representative on the Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre Board of Directors. Lisa’s traditional country is Jawoyn country. Lisa has been involved in Godinymayin over many years to provide cultural assistance throughout the development of the centre.  Lisa’s focus is on cultural maintenance, women’s support and youth and in addition to the Godinymayin board she is involved in many organisations such Kalano Community Association, Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service, the Northern Land Council and the NLC Women’s group and ABA Board.  In 2013 Lisa was elected Chair of the Jawoyn Association. Lisa’s involvement in these organisations and committees helps her to provide strong representation and support to her people and help future generations learn the importance of leadership in their communities.

Lizz Bott
Lizz (that’s right, there are two z’s) is the Chief Executive Officer of Merrepen Arts, Culture and Language Aboriginal Corporation which owns and manages the Merrepen Arts Centre.
She is the youngest of five girls and has lived in the NT for 15 years, having been born and raised in Brisbane. Lizz is the proud mum of Lydia who brings her great joy in life.
Lizz has spent the past 9 years working in remote communities from Wadeye to Nauiyu (Daly River) focusing on community development, sustainable enterprise and advocating for those most at risk.
Frank and fearless has been her approach in reviving Merrepen Arts over the past 5 years and this is evident through the success and accolades which Merrepen Arts have received and through the art centre’s strong market presence.

Katrina Fong Lim (Darwin)

Katrina was born in 1961 in Darwin, the fourth of six daughters of respected local couple Alec and Norma Fong Lim. Alec was a businessman who became Lord Mayor of Darwin in the 1980s. Katrina completed her primary and secondary education in Darwin, graduating from Darwin High School in 1979. She was an AFS1 Exchange Student to the USA for the 1978-79 school year. Katrina worked for thirteen years with the Commonwealth Public Service, undertaking a variety of jobs in a range of government departments. She then left the Public Service to work in the not for profit sector where she worked for 20 years including time at the YWCA, Crafts Council, NT Centenary of Federation and most recently as the Executive Director of Australia Day Council NT. Katrina was voted Lord Mayor of Darwin in April 2012, and together with twelve elected Aldermen, will lead the 21st Council of Darwin for a period of four years. Katrina lives with her husband Tony Waite in Nightcliff. She names her five sisters and mother as her strongest supporters and influencers, with the values and ethics instilled by her late father Alec Fong Lim still guiding her today.

Lorraine Kabbindi White (Melbourne)

Lorraine was born in Darwin in 1991. Her mother is a West Arnhem Kunwinjku Mok clan woman and her father, a non-Aboriginal Australian. She grew up with her mother’s family in Gunbalanya and at Kabulwarnamyo on the traditional country (Mankung Djang) of her late grandfather, Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek AO, and with her father at Jabiru, where she went to school. She learned to paint her grandfather’s style at his side, both at Kabulwarnamyo and on his frequent visits to her home in  Jabiru. In December 2010 the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney launched a retrospective of her grandfather’s paintings. Along with several of his other grandchildren, she was commissioned by the MCA to undertake a large-scale mural as an additional feature of this exhibition. Lorraine had a successful, sold out, first solo exhibition of paintings in 2012 at Qdos Art Gallery in Lorne, Victoria: Kundenge bok – footsteps. In December 2013, Lorraine was honored to be invited to the opening of the National Museum of Australia’s “Old Masters” exhibition to represent her grandfather’s painting contributions.

Madeleine Egan (Melbourne)

Madeleine Egan is a young woman using digital tools to help rural and regional communities communicate with the Australian public, with decision makers and the media. She works with grass-roots groups, all over Australia, who are working to protect what they believe are our most important resources - clean water, farmland, healthy communities and a safe climate - from the impacts of coal and gas mining. Madeleine believes that everyone should feel they can take part in the decisions that shape their lives, and is passionate about using technology to make that happen.

Marie Munkara (Darwin)

Of Rembarranga, Tiwi and Chinese descent Marie was delivered on the banks of the Mainoru River in Arnhem Land by her two grandmothers and spent her early years on Bathurst Island. Her first novel Every Secret Thing (University of Queensland Press) won the David Unaipon Award in 2008 and the NT Book of the Year in 2010. Her two children’s books Rusty Brown and Rusty and Jojo (Laguna Bay Oxford Press) were launched in January 2014 and her second novel A Most Peculiar Act (Magabala) in May. Marie is currently working on her third and fourth novels (depending on what mood she’s in) and the TV mini-series for “Every Secret Thing”. Marie lives in Darwin with her teenage daughter and a menagerie of cats, dogs, frogs and the occasional visiting python.

Margaret Duncan (Katherine)

Margaret Duncan is a Ritharrngu /Ngandi who was born and lived at Urapunga in the Roper region for many years, is an artist who has been working with Mimi Arts since early 2006. Margaret loves to paint and is also an accomplished carver and painter of the birds and animals around Urapunga where she now spends a lot of her time.  In 2010 Margaret took on the task of remote art worker at her home community Urapunga.  She is employed by Mimi Arts and is in charge of developing an art group there. Margaret has four children. Her daughter, Tasha, is severely physically disabled and Margaret has cared for her for 22 years.  Her dedication and tenancity and her general positive and happy outlook on a difficult life under constant duress are to be greatly admired.

Mary Watare Weru (Katherine)

Mary Watare Weru was born at a coffee farm in a village near Mt Kenya in the central province of Kenya, East Africa. As the youngest of ten children, Mary learnt early that everyone had a place and a role to contribute to the family, her role when not at school was to take the family cows and goats grazing, and to the river. After completing primary and secondary school, it was beyond a dream come true when Mary got an opportunity for further studies in Australia. Mary completed and excelled at a bridging course at Eynesbury College in South Australia which led to an offer by The University of Adelaide to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce. Dating back to her student days, Mary has worked and volunteered in various community organisations involving Youth Empowerment, Accommodation and Respite, Rehabilitation, Aged Care, and Indigenous Health. Mary is currently part of Community Development Unit at a Community Controlled Aboriginal Corporation in Katherine, Northern Territory.

Mary maintains a strong commitment and involvement in initiatives that aim to educate and empower youth as well as reduce cultural disadvantage.

Michelle Iles (Darwin)

Michelle Iles is Principal Advisor Environmental Studies, Energy Resources of Australia. Her love of the environment brought her into the world of mining and resources where she has excelled. She is a proud ambassador for how the mining industry can work in harmony with the environment and was the Australian Mining Prospect Award’s Mining Female of Year in 2011. After working as a qualified nurse for over a decade, Michelle graduated in Chemistry and Earth Science at Charles Darwin University. Having participated in the grass roots anti-nuclear and anti-mining movements, she was struck by how much conflicting information there was in circulation and decided to train as an environmental chemist. Michelle spent several years heading up a group of scientists and engineers managing the environmental impact of the Ranger uranium mine. She now liaises with Government and stakeholder groups collecting key scientific information and knowledge required for planning the successful rehabilitation of the mine to a standard that will ensure ongoing protection of the World Heritage values of the surrounding national park and the local communities.

Mel Sandy (Katherine region)

Mel Sandy from Wugularr in the Jawoyn region has been a very strong advocate for women and children over many years. She is a traditional woman who is very strong in her culture and is passionate about preserving her community’s language and has translated many documents and books into language and is currently studying Wildlife Management at CDU. Mel has presented at the ‘World Indigenous Peoples Conference: Education 2008’ in Melbourne and at the ‘Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory: Principles, Policy and Practice’ seminar conducted by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Mel was the first woman to chair the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority and was the first committee member on the board of the Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation. She is a registered interpreter with the Australian Interpreter service and recently completed the Diplomacy training program offered through the University of NSW.

Miriam Lieberman with Lara Goodridge and Kate Adams (Melbourne)

African influences blend seamlessly with blues and folk infused melodies in singer songwriter Miriam Lieberman’s music. With her unmistakable voice, 21 stringed West African harp, the kora, as well as her guitar, she is joined by Lara Goodridge and Kate Adams, who add lush vocal harmonies and soaring string arrangements on violin and cello. The trio will play songs from Miriam’s brand new album Birds of the Moon. Prepare to travel in mood from the sinister beauty of the Indian city of Varanasi, to a Mexican love story, to the bright hope of dawn.

Nellie Camfoo

Nelly Camfoo is an Elder and holds Djarada and Murrdu knowledge. She was born on Mainoru Station in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Most of her life has been spent working on or around the Mainoru Station. Her first job was as a goat herder on Mainoru Station while she was a little girl. Later she worked as a cook on stock camps, and as a ringer - roping and tying bullocks, branding, earmarking, and drafting. Before World War Two started, Camfoo was made to work for the Army. She was shifted around the Northern Territory doing washing, cooking and ironing. By the end of her stint, she was getting quite homesick and was happy when they finally let her go home to Mainoru. In the1980s, Camfoo helped set up a women's centre. Camfoo and other women contributed money to help make meals. Due to their successful community work, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs gave them funding money. In 1992, she was selected to be on the inaugural Board of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (BAAPA), and she quickly became the Deputy Chairperson. While on the board she successfully advocated for a Women's Business Sub-Committee, which created an appropriate environment in BAAPA for women to speak about their sacred sites. On the International Woman's Day in 2006, Camfoo was placed on the Northern Territory's Department of the Chief Minister's Tribute list, which honours the achievements of Territorian women and their community work.

Nicola Fearn  (Darwin)

Nicola has worked in professional theatre as a performer, writer, teacher and director since 1980. She is Artistic Director of Darwin-based company Business Unusual (BUU). Formed in 1997, BUU has been creating original work which explores the combination of physical theatre, mask, puppetry and text. BUU past productions include The Pearler, Tracy and Contagion’s Kiss all of which used Top End stories as the inspirational springboard. BUU has toured extensively in regional Australia and remote communities in east and west Arnhem Land, Gove Peninsula, Alice Springs, Batchelor, The Tiwi Islands and Groote Eylandt. Nicky works in the UK regularly with Horse and Bamboo Theatre, one of the UK’s leading visual companies. She was co-founder of Skin and Blisters (London 1987-1991), a circus theatre company that toured major festivals in Europe and the UK and she was a co-founding member of Amsterdam-based multi media group Too Much Art (1984-7).

She is guest lecturer at The Victorian College of the Arts.

Nova Peris (Darwin)

Nova Peris is a traditional owner descendent of the Kiga People of the East Kimberley, Yawuru People of the West Kimberley (Broome) and Muran People of West Arnhem Land NT. Nova was born and raised in Darwin and her mother, grandmother and grandfather are all members of the ‘Stolen Generations’ from respective missions on the Tiwi islands, Moola Bulla of the East Kimberley and Beagle Bay of the West Kimberley. Nova has extensive community experience addressing Indigenous disadvantage, particularly in the Northern Territory. She helped deliver more than 100 health and education checks across communities Australia-wide and has worked to establish the innovative Nova Peris Girls Academy (NGPA) over the past three years, which focuses on keeping Aboriginal girls’ engaged with education.

Nova was a representative in the Australian Women's Hockey team at the 1996 Summer Olympics, becoming the first Aboriginal Australian to win an Olympic gold medal. In 1997, Nova switched sports to athletics and a year later she became a double gold medalist in the 1998 Commonwealth Games (Kuala Lumpur) winning the 200m sprint and sharing in Australia's 4x100m relay win. Nova was named Young Australian of the Year in 1997. Nova became the first female Aboriginal Parliamentarian after she was elected to represent the Northern Territory in the Senate following the September 2013 election and since has become the Deputy Chair of Joint Select Committee to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution.

Peter Gazey (Katherine)

Peter Gazey was born in England and moved to Perth, with his family, as a 6 year old boy. In his early twenties, he travelled around Australia, working and living in various areas, before settling in Katherine in 1997. His working life started in a Nursing Home, progressing to being an Enrolled Nurse, and then taking on University as a mature aged student to become a Registered Nurse. He has worked in hospitals and remote community health centres as well as diverging into health promotion and education.

Pip Gordon (Coffs Harbour NSW)

Pip is a co-founder of WOW Women Of the World, established in Coffs Harbour NSW in 2011. WOW Coffs Harbour, in synchronicity to WOW in London and Katherine was established locally to bring women of all ages and cultures together and explore ways that connect community under the values of Honour, Respect, Connection, Courage and Empowerment. Pip established and directs the Social Enterprise of WOW; The Gathering Tree, as a collaboration hub for the promotion of projects that are being born out of the connections from WOW. Pip and her family made the decision in early 2014, to step out of the ‘safety net’ of professional, permanent employment, to follow the dream of travelling and working purposefully around Australia. This has led to rich connections including a friendship with Miriam Rose Ungunmeer, a well respected spiritual Elder from Nauiyu Community, Daly River. Together they have brought together women, men and children in Circle, from different parts of Australia, to connect in their commonalities and explore what it means to belong.

Rose Cameron (Darwin)

Rose Cameron has resided in Darwin since 1997 and has been involved in the art industry as a community artist, festival and project coordinator since the early 1980’s. She has a Grad. Dip. in Arts & Entertainment Management. Through 1999-2004 Rose was Business Manager at Northern Editions Print Studio, Manager of Tiwi Art Network and also coordinator of the 2001 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA). Through these positions Rose facilitated the development of exhibitions, projects, sales and marketing activities of Indigenous art and limited edition prints. Her 20 years experience led to the establishment of Nomad Art Productions in 2005, a business enterprise dedicated to the exhibition and marketing of limited editions and collections of fine art and craft from central and northern Australia. Rose is currently Managing Director of Nomad Art, Darwin and oversees the development of cross-cultural projects with partner Angus.

The Hon Sally Thomas AC (Darwin), Patron of WOW Katherine

Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas AC was sworn in as the 20th and first female Administrator of the Northern Territory on 31 October 2011. Prior to this appointment, Her Honour was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory. Her Honour has had a long and active association with the Charles Darwin University, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, the former Legal Aid Commission, Rotary groups and many other community and charity groups in the Northern Territory.

Taylor Fishlock  (Katherine)

Taylor Fishlock is a commercial electrician who was born in Katherine in 1992 and grew up on her family’s cattle station 70kms from town. Growing up at the station she became accustomed to the outdoors and hard work.  Outside of school her days consisted of cattle work, fencing and she always did whatever needed doing. This meant learning to drive vehicles and machinery at a young age. Her dad and his mates often finished a hard day’s work with a music session and Taylor gained a great love for music and especially enjoy singing and playing guitar. She attended Primary school in Katherine and Scotch College in Adelaide, before returning to Katherine to finish Year 12. Taylor loved sport and enjoyed Athletics  and Junior Rugby League as a young child but spent many years competing in Judo at NT and National levels,  eventually represented Australia at the Oceania Games in New Zealand. Her choice of career did not come as a surprise to those who know her.  She is an outdoor girl unafraid of a bit if “Hard Yakka”.

Toni Tapp Coutts (Katherine)

Toni Tapp Coutts is a writer and photographer. The eldest of ten children she grew up on the Tapp Family cattle station in the Katherine region, and managed McArthur River Station in the Gulf with her husband for 13 years.  She has been a small business owner and a Deputy Mayor and Alderman on the Katherine Town Council for 10 years. She has managed community arts projects and major regional festivals. Toni, has in recent years, worked as an Arts and Cinema Manager and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Toni is married with three children and two grandchildren and lives in Katherine NT.

Waltraud Reiner (Melbourne)

Hats are life for Waltraud Reiner. She has been working in millinery for 30 years, and was recently inducted into the Australian Millinery Hall of Fame. She is a designer and a teacher, and her passion for hats has inspired countless students to discover their own. Waltraud launched millinery supplier Torb & Reiner in 2001, at first to provide a greater range of supplies to the students at the Melbourne School of Millinery, where she taught for 13 years. She has since expanded the business to incorporate made-to-measure services and millinery workshops. She is a mother of two, a vegetarian, and a passionate supporter of people and communities. Waltraud is currently studying to obtain a qualification in counseling.