melbourne, australia

Confirmed Speakers


María Claudia López Sorzano, Secretary of Culture, Leisure and Sport, Bogota (COlombia) 

María Claudia López Sorzano was Deputy Minister of Culture (2009-2015) and National Director of Heritage (2003-2009). As Deputy Minister of Culture, she led the national programs of Cultural Coordination, Encouragement of Creation and Research, Cultural Infrastructure and Social Security for creators and cultural managers, among others.

López was a member of the National Committee of ICOMOS Colombia (International Council of Monuments and Sites) and the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. In addition, she has worked as a university teacher at the Javeriana University, the University of La Salle and the Catholic University of Colombia.

Currently the Secretary of Culture, Recreation and Sports of Bogotá, María is convinced that art, culture, recreation and sport are powerful tools of social transformation. Through them, it is possible to build community, strengthen the social processes, and generate dialogue, inclusion and equity.

Faith Gonsalves, founder, music basti & Executive Director, Integrated Development Education Association (INdia)

Faith Gonsalves believes that an inspiring music class can be the beginning of social and personal transformation. She is an educator and social entrepreneur, and founded the “Music Basti” project in India, in 2008. Music Basti connects at-risk children and musicians through an annual music training, song writing and performance program, focused on building leadership and 21st century skills for the students. As the the Executive Director for Integrated Development Education Association (IDEA), Faith leads projects on issues related to education and gender equity in New Delhi, India. Faith was featured in Forbes Asia’s first 30Under30 Asia list in 2016, and through her work has also been a recipient of other national awards.  


Dobe Newton has been a music industry professional for over 47 years and is the current President of the Country Music Association of Australia, member of the Melbourne Music Strategy Advisory Group and Australian Music Vault Advisory Panel.  A singer, percussionist and songwriter, he is best known as the co-author of the iconic “I Am Australian” written with Bruce Woodley from The Seekers, and as frontman for Australia’s pioneering, award-winning bush-rock band The Bushwackers – celebrating their 47th year in 2018.

In 2012 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for “services to the performing arts as performer and advocate”. He has spent 25 years in the music business education sector and is a former Exec Director/CEO of the WA Music Industry Association, the Victorian Rock Foundation and The Melbourne Music Festival.

He has consulted to Victorian and Federal governments on music policy and worked with major industry organisations as researcher/consultant/author.  In 2012, he conducted and authored the report on two major projects -  ‘Melbourne Live Music Census’ (2012) and the ‘Regional Victorian Music Census’ (2013).  At the Music Cities Convention in Melbourne he will release the findings of the ‘Melbourne Live Music Census 2017’.

Bree Trevena, urban strategist & research manager, arup australia (AUstralia)

Bree Trevena is an urban strategist in Melbourne, Australia, working at the intersection of urban planning, creative strategy and cultural policy. She also manages a research program at Arup dedicated to testing new ideas for city transformations, transport, water and energy. Before making the switch to urban R&D, Bree headed up state-wide arts infrastructure projects and creative cities strategies within the Victorian government. She is currently undertaking PhD research on creative industries, the built environment and policy at the University of Melbourne — a field which neatly builds on her earlier research into the ways policy and identity have spatially shaped Melbourne’s music ecologies.

Dr Andrea Jean Baker, senior lecturer in journalism, School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University (AUstralia)

Dr Andrea Jean Baker is a senior lecturer in journalism, School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University. She is recognized as a radio journalist and music historian.
In 2013 she was appointed the academic representative on the City of Melbourne’s Music Strategy Committee; and has presented or chaired panels about global music cities, in 2013 at International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Australia  New Zealand; in 2014 at South by South West, and in 2015 at Australia’s first national symposium about music cities, which was held in Melbourne. 
Using Melbourne as a case study, in 2017 she designed an algorithm to assess music activities in urban contexts, which was published by Sage Open. Andrea’s second book, The Great Music City (Palgrave Macmillan, London) which examines the music, space and identity of various music cities, such as Melbourne, Austin and Berlin, will be published in 2018.

nick tweedie sc, barrister, Owen Dixon Chambers West (AUstralia)

Nick is a barrister practising at the Victorian Bar. He has more than 20 years of experience as an advocate, and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2013.

His practice is focused primarily on planning law. 

Nick also loves guitars, and he loves loud music. In fact, if he had been able to make his Fender Jazzmaster sounds even vaguely the way Tom Verlaine makes his sound on Marquee Moon he would never have contemplated being a lawyer. 

But he is a very ordinary musician, and instead decided to do what he could to help other, more talented, people make and play music.

In 2012, he became involved in assisting SLAM in their efforts to reform Victorian planning liquor and laws to make it easier for people to run live music venues. The SLAM campaign resulted in several significant changes to those laws, including the introduction into Victorian planning schemes of the Agent of Change principle through clause 52.43- Live Music and Entertainment Noise.

Ben Berthelot, President & CEO, Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission (usa)

Ben Berthelot is the President & CEO of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission. Statewide he serves as the Past President of the Louisiana Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, on the Louisiana Tourism Development Commission, and board of the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association.

He is very active in the local community and serves on numerous boards and commissions including the UL-Lafayette Alumni Council, South Louisiana Community College Foundation, New Hope Community Development, the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team, the Arts+Business = Culture Fund at the Community Foundation, and the Advisory Boards of Scenic Lafayette and the Bayou Vermilion Preservation Alliance.

Berthelot was a founder and Charter President of the705 Young Professional Group, and in 2005 was named one of Chase Bank and The Daily Advertiser’s 20 Under 40.

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Peter Bingeman, Chief Executive Officer, Visit Victoria (Australia)

Peter Bingeman was appointed the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of Visit Victoria in May 2016.

Having achieved a double degree in Economics / Marketing and Philosophy at the University of Melbourne, Peter commenced his fast-moving consumer goods career with Procter and Gamble and has since worked for Cadbury / Schweppes, Kraft and Mondelez.

Over the last decade Peter has held senior leadership positions across sales and marketing. He has been instrumental in organisational success where acquisitions have changed the landscape considerably. Prior to joining Visit Victoria Peter was Managing Director, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indochina with Mondelez International.

Having lived In Singapore and Malaysia for four years, Peter brings his global business, change management, and strategic marketing / sales experience to Visit Victoria.

Hieu Chau, editor, Meld Magazine (Australia)

Hieu Chau is the editor of Meld Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing international students with news and events happening in and around Melbourne. Meld Magazine has operated within the international student space for the last 10 years and during Hieu's time as Meld's editor, he has led an editorial team that has worked closely with local community organisations, student groups, universities and government all to further enrich the international student experience in Australia. With more than five years of experience working with various international students at Meld, Hieu's keen interest in Asian pop culture and entertainment has also led Meld to cover international artists such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Nathan Hartono, B.A.P and many more.


brian ritchie, bassist, violent femmes & music curator, mona (TASmania)

Brian Ritchie originally came to worldwide attention as bassist and multi-instrumentalist for the American band Violent Femmes. He has also performed and recorded with artists such as Rodriguez, Lou Reed, Australian Chamber Orchestra and many more. He is a licensed teacher and performer of the shakuhachi, Japanese Zen flute.

Brian moved to Tasmania in 2007 and became the Music Curator at Mona (Museum of Old and New Art). In this capacity he organises MONA FOMA and Synesthesia festivals, combining music, sound art, visual art, dance, spoken word, and theatre. MONA FOMA has twice won the coveted Helpmann Award for Best Contemporary Music Festival. Brian and his team organises over 100 performance events at Mona every year. Brian enjoys mentoring Aboriginal musicians at the annual Bush Bands Bash in Northern Territory and as part of Bleach Festival on the Gold Coast. 

Fiki Satari, Chairman, Indonesia Creative Cities Network (indonesia)

Fiki Satari, born in Bandung, Indonesia, co-founded Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF) in 2008 and became its Program Director (2008-2012), and Chairman (2013-2017), a hub for Bandung creative communities that focuses on urban solutions through design thinking and urban acupuncture. He currently chairs Indonesia Creative Cities Network (ICCN) with about 150 member cities from throughout Indonesia. Next to his occupation as a lecturer in the Faculty of Economy and Business in Padjadjaran University, he also owns AirplaneSystm, a pioneering clothing & apparel brand, and is also the principal & co-founder of BUiLD (Bandung Urban innovation Lab & Development). As the chairman of Karang Taruna Youth Group for Bandung City, Fiki succeeded in reforming the organisation to be more progressive and independent. He lead the management team of Bandung Dossier for UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) that has brought Bandung to become UCCN City of Design since December 2015. 



Sadia Sadia is a Canadian-born British installation artist working across a wide variety of media, including sound, still and moving images. She is also an award-winning record producer and writer. Sadia began her career by becoming one of the first women in the world to be signed to a major label as a record producer, and was the first female member of the British Record Producer’s Guild under the chairmanship of Sir George Martin. 
Sadia’s installation works comprise multiple elements of imagery and sound to create immersive environments, frequently incorporating the manipulation or distortion of time. Her interests include the experience of the transcendent within immersive environments, the universality of experience, how temporal sensory experience is consumed, and the movement towards authenticity. 
Sadia’s work is held in the permanent collections of ACMI and QVMAG in Australia. She divides her time between Melbourne and the United Kingdom, where she is based out of Real World Studios in Box, Wiltshire.

Will Straw, James McGill Professor of Urban Media Studies, McGill University Montreal (CAnada)

Will Straw is James McGill Professor of Urban Media Studies at McGill University in Montreal. He is the author of Cyanide and Sin: Visualizing Crime in 1950s America, and of over 150 articles on urban culture, cinema and music. He runs a blog which tracks developments around the world in the development of new approaches to cities and their night-time cultural activities. Will Straw also researches the history of disco music in Montreal, crime tabloid newspapers around the world, and the cultures of record collecting. Dr. Straw speaks regularly about music and cities on Canadian and international media, and at music festivals such as MUTEK and Pop Montreal.

Helen Marcou, Co-founder SLAM, Co-owner Bakehouse Studios, (AUStrlia)

Twenty five years ago, Helen and her partner Quincy McLean founded Bakehouse Studios.

In March 2017,  Helen was inducted to the Victorian Women's Honour Roll. Helen is a co-founder of grassroots movement SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music) - an activist group that staged the SLAM rally of 2010 where 20,000 protesters marched on Parliament House in Melbourne in support of Live Music. The SLAM rally was described as “the largest cultural protest in Australia’s history”.

Helen continually advocates for reforms in the contemporary music sector and has worked to ensure live music is firmly on the political agenda. Helen is a member of the Victorian State Government’s Live Music Roundtable. She called for and was instrumental in the formation of the recently government funded, Victorian Sexual Harassment and Assault of Women in licensed venues Task Force.

 In 2010 Helen was listed on Melbourne Magazine‘s top 100 Most Influential & Creative Melbournians; and nominated as  Female of the Year in Rolling Stone magazine; as well as being awarded The Age EG Award for Outstanding Achievement for services to the music community.

Robin Malau, CEO, Wali Kota Musik & Deputy of Marketing, Indonesia Creative Cities Network (Indonesia)

Robin Malau is an Indonesian music serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building award-winning music ventures. He is the recipient of British Council's “Young Creative Entrepreneur” award for his digital music aggregator startup. In another life, Robin was the guitarist for legendary hardcore band Puppen, whose song 'Atur Aku' made it to Rolling Stone magazine's “The Best Indonesian Songs Ever” list.

Robin's latest initiative is Wali Kota Musik (Mayor of Music), where he empowers governments and NGOs to use music as a tool for development.

He also acts as the Deputy of Marketing, Indonesia Creative Cities Network, an association of cities and regencies with 150 members.

His extra curricular includes teaching entrepreneurship in universities, speaking at international conferences, running Indonesia’s Independent Music Conference and “Asian African Music Week” — a showcase festival in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Kok Tse Wei, Deputy Director FOR Music, Singapore’s National Arts Council (NAC) (Singapore)

Kok Tse Wei is the Deputy Director for Music at Singapore’s National Arts Council (NAC). He believes that music has the power to transform lives and should be accessible to people from all walks of life. Over the course of more than a decade, Tse Wei has published stories as a music journalist; worked with New York City-based organisations such as Jazz at Lincoln Centre, the League of American Orchestras, and Spaceworks in various capacities, from communications and marketing to research; and taken on a range of roles at the NAC, from PR to arts education and youth arts. Currently, Tse Wei leads a team of nine to formulate and implement music policies and programmes, with the aim of inspiring people and connecting communities through music, putting Singapore on the global map in the process. Tse Wei has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and an MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University in New York City.

Hugh Nichols, Manager Statewide Strategy and Planning, NSW Government’s Cultural Infrastructure Program Management Office (CIPMO) (Australia)

Hugh Nichols is Manager Statewide Strategy and Planning at the NSW Government’s Cultural Infrastructure Program Management Office (CIPMO), within the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. One of the first of its kind internationally, CIPMO was established in April 2017 to provide centralised NSW Government cultural infrastructure planning and project delivery across the state.

Hugh previously spent close to a decade working in various roles in the cultural divisions of the City of Sydney, including as Cultural Strategy Manager and most recently as the City’s first Live Music and Performance Strategy Advisor. In that role he co-authored the City of Sydney’s Live Music and Performance Action Plan, developed and implemented funding programs for music and performance venues, provided guidance to the music sector on regulatory and governance matters, led internal policy reform as well as conducted strategic research and advocacy.

Mr. Kenjiro Fukamachi, CEO, FreeStyle Inc (Japan)

Kenjiro was born in Fukuoka, Japan in 1961. He discovered his life’s passion in music at the age of 9, and later started the band “Nel Soap” with Nobuo Tani, a former guitarist of the Rockers, a famous band in Japan. After college, Kenjiro worked at a travel agency where he planned and organized concert tours and music events.

He appeared on KBC’s TV program “Duòmo” when it started broadcasting in 1989, and is still regularly seen in the media. Kenjiro also continues to work as a music/ event producer in Fukuoka. He has contributed to the annual music festival “Sunset Live” as a producer/ MC, and “Fukuoka Music Month,” held every September, as the general producer.

Also working as a writer and professor, he aims to energize the City of Fukuoka and spread its unique background as the birthplace of many music legacies throughout Japan and to the world.

Archie Roach, Musician, (AUSTRALIA)

There are few Australian voices in the debate on social justice and Indigenous welfare that resonated as strongly as Archie Roach’s. His impact on this country’s musical landscape is equally strong.

When Archie released his debut album “Charcoal Lane” 25 years ago, his song “Took The Children Away” shone a spotlight on the impact of the forcible removal of Indigenous children from their families and brought it to the attention of the global community. At the time, the song won two ARIA Awards and an international Human Rights Achievement Award (making Archie the first person ever to receive this award for a song).

Three decades after the release of “Charcoal Lane”, his work continues to reflect the struggles and issues facing Indigenous Australians as well as exploring universal themes of love, friendship, family and community.

Archie has released 9 albums, his latest is called Let Love Rule and explores the many faces of love, calling for great care, more love and unity as we face the future.

Kim-Marie Spence, PhD Scholar, Crawford School of Public Policy (ANU), Former Head of Creative Industries for Jamaica. (Australia/ jamaica)

Kim-Marie Spence is a former Head of Creative Industries/Film Commissioner for Jamaica and had been part of initial discussions of Kingston as a Creative City. She has also worked as a UNESCO consultant both in Jamaica and France on its intangible heritage program.  She is currently a PhD scholar at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University (ANU). Her research focuses on various experiences of creative economy development, cultural diplomacy and cultural policy in the non-West.  Kim- Marie researches Reggae (Jamaica), Bollywood (India), K-Drama and K-pop (South Korea).

Kim-Marie is also a Rhodes Scholar and her research at Oxford University focused on kuttiyattam, Indian Sanskrit dance theatre, and the impact of state and international preservation programs. She has also sat on the boards of the Caribbean’s only tertiary performing arts school, the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts; the National Land Agency of Jamaica; and the Entertainment Advisory Board of Jamaica. Kim-Marie is also a co-founder of Caribbean think tank, CaPRI (Caribbean Policy Research Institute). She recently hosted NSW’s Dancehall King/Queen Competition in Sydney.

Chris Robb, CEO, Mass Participation Asia (Indonesia)

Chris is an author, highly sought after international speaker, high impact consultant and CEO of Mass Participation Asia. With over 30 years of experience, Chris has impacted millions of people by delivering some of the largest mass participation sports events across three continents. Having managed some of the biggest “disasters”, Chris translates these invaluable lessons to help others achieve personal and business success. Today, Chris reaches out and inspires others through public speaking, consulting, advising, and hosting Asia’s only mass industry conference, Mass Participation Asia.

Larry Heath, Director, Heath Media (AUstralia)

Larry Heath is the Director of Heath Media, an Australian publishing and events company who run the National Live Music Awards in Australia and curate a series of live music events internationally. Larry founded and publishes the AU review, one of Australia's most popular music websites and regularly writes for music publications around the world. The site's travel section, AU Abroad, brings the travel and music worlds together through groundbreaking experiential travel content. In addition, Larry programs the Australian Music Week Film Festival and was recently instated as the A&R Manager of Music Sales Australia.

Siu Chan, Unit Manager, Arts, Culture and Venues, Yarra City Council (Australia)

 Siu Chan manages Arts Culture Venues and Events at the City of Yarra, with 20 years of experience in the arts management and 14 years in local government.

Yarra, a small inner Melbourne council of 19,500km2 and 90,000 residents, claims to be the live music engine room - venues include The Corner Hotel and The Tote.

Until 2017 Sing Sing Studios in Cremorne hosted A-listers from Lady Gaga to Powderfinger. The building has since been bought by Investors as the area goes through an extraordinary property boom; the suburb is now the tech hub of Melbourne.

Over the last 5 years Siu has been working on local government strategies to keep the creatives in a gentrifying city. Initiatives include grants for live music venues, planning and land use controls and engaging developers to value the existing cultural assets of a city and incorporate these into developments rather than displace them.

Shane Homan, Associate Professor in media studies, Monash University (AUstralia)

Shane Homan is Associate Professor in media studies at Monash University, Melbourne. His most recent book is Popular Music Industries and the State: Policy Notes, co-authored with Martin Cloonan and Jen Cattermole (Routledge, 2016).  Shane is currently leading an Australian Research Council project, Interrogating the Music City: pop and the cultural economy of Melbourne (2016-2018), examining the heritage and histories of Melbourne popular music.

Maria Amato, General Manager and CFO of The Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AUSTRALIA)

Maria is results oriented and has worked in the Arts and not-for-profit sector for over 25 years specialising in finance and business management. She is currently the Chair of the Creative Industry Advisory Board for the Australian Institute of Music and has held former positions as CEO/CFO of the Melbourne International Film Festival and board member of Music Victoria.

Penelope Layton, Development Manager, Lendlease (AustraliA) 

Penelope Layton (Penn) has a passion for the creation of truly unique, creative human centric urban spaces. With over 20 years’ design industry experience across multiple disciplines in Australia, Middle East and Europe she is experienced at delivering projects from the initial phases through to final on-site construction.

She has completed roles for global developers and architectural practices, along with smaller boutique design firms.   Penn joined Lendlease over three years ago across multiple Lendlease urban development projects at varying stages of the development life cycle recently accepting a role as National Manager Design + Masterplanning, Urban Regeneration.  This role sees Penn working on world class precincts influencing design outcomes in Australia’s urban spaces.

 Penn’s design aesthetic looks at the human scale and experience; elevating the traditional high street shop front to an interactive, layered, public realm experience. For Penn, curated public art, precinct activation, neighbourhood connection to place and authentic design elements create memorable places that appeal to all human senses.

Kim Tran, Director of Policy & Governance, Live Performance Australia (LPA) (Australia)

Kim Tran is the Director, Policy & Governance at Live Performance Australia (LPA). In her role, Kim oversees LPA’s annual ticket attendance and revenue survey, which provides vital statistics about the live entertainment industry. Kim is also responsible for overseeing the Ticketing Code of Practice and other ticketing related matters. Over the last 18 months, much of Kim’s time has been spent looking at the issues surrounding the secondary ticket market and how industry can appropriately respond to these issues.

John Wardle, Director, Live Music Office (Australia)

John Wardle is the Director of the Live Music Office. Established in July 2013, the Live Music Office works to increase opportunities for venue based live music in Australia by identifying and advocating for better policy, regulation and strategy. The Live Music Office was an initiative of its funding partners, The Australia Council for the Arts, the Ministry for the Arts and APRA AMCOS.

As Live Music Office Director, John coordinates Live Music Office operation and activities, working on the ground with the music industry and state, territory and local governments across Australia to develop collaborative live music policy and strategy.

John chaired the City of Sydney’s Live Music and Performance Taskforce alongside working with Wollongong City Council before the establishment of the Live Music Office in July 2013. Recent work includes supporting regional policy development in Victoria, building code and exempt development for low impact entertainment in South Australia, the Cool Little Capital strategy for Canberra, the Northern Territory Music Industry Council and Live Music Census & much more.


Dominique Greco Ryan, Project Manager, Nighttime Economy & Downtown Development Board/Community Redevelopment Agency
City of Orlando (USA)

By expanding her educational experiences far beyond the required lectures, Dominique earned the role as Projects Director for one of Downtown Orlando’s largest ownership portfolios in 2012. She quickly became an indispensable resource in maintaining the success of the group’s several entertainment and hospitality venues, all the while building an invaluable awareness of the nightlife industry that fuels the city in which she serves today. 

Dominique recently accepted the first Nighttime Economy Projects Manager position with the City of Orlando, focused on fostering and enhancing the safety, vibrancy and growth of downtown’s rapidly-expanding nightlife industry. Serving as liaison between downtown stakeholders and the city, Dominique brings a fresh yet polished perspective to this next chapter of local governance.

Samm Farai Monro AKA Comrade Fatso, founder, Magamba Network (Zimbabwe)

Samm Farai Monro AKA Comrade Fatso is one of Zimbabwe’s urban culture pioneers whose work has had a major influence on the country’s hip hop, spoken word and comedy industries. Comrade Fatso is founder of Magamba Network, one of Zimbabwe’s most dynamic organizations working on the cutting edge of culture, media, activism and innovation. Through Magamba, Comrade Fatso’s award-winning projects include Shoko Festival, Zimbabwe’s biggest festival of urban culture & Moto Republik, Southern Africa’s first creative hub.  2017 saw Comrade Fatso named as one of the 100 Great Zimbabweans by the country’s top newspaper, NewsDay.


helen fEng, lead singer, nova heart & co-founder, FakeMusicMedia and NEU Future Fest (china)

Helen Feng is an ex MTV VJane, Radio personality (she moderated The Rockshow on Hit FM — China Radio International — for years and since 2011 mastermind and lead singer of Nova Heart. She is also the co-founder of FakeMusicMedia and NEU Future Fest.

Gary Zheng, Managing director, Musical Fun District Business Management (CHINa)

Gary has more than 20 years of experience in the management of business attraction and business operations in big shopping centres, commercial real estate and cultural tourism projects in mainland China.

He is currently leading the development of the Chengdu Musical Fun District, focusing on industry planning, business attraction, property management and brand promotion, with the aim to eventually rebuild and renovate the Chengdu Musical Fun District from an old district into a music-filled neighbourhood and the dream paradise of world musicians.

Before taking on this project, Gary used to be a senior manager in Tishman Speyer Properties, Bloomage International Investment Group Inc and some well-known domestic real estate corporations and world famous real-estate corporations.



Jesse Elliott is a lifelong champion of collaborative creative efforts, social entrepreneurship, and the power of music and storytelling. He is the founder and songwriter of two rock and roll bands, These United States and Ark Life, who have released 6 albums and performed live 1,200 times in the last decade, from SXSW and Glastonbury to Lollapalooza. Before music recaptured his heart, Elliott wrote books and speeches with economist Richard Florida, co-founded a community nonprofit at the University of Iowa, helped shoot a documentary on water rights in southern Mexico and Guatemala, and ran an Italian deli on the Jersey Shore. With his company Range Music Ecosystems, Elliott and his co-founder Dr. Bryce Merrill researched and wrote the music strategies for the City of Denver and the State of Colorado, and brought together international thinkers on music and community for the City of Austin, the Biennial of the Americas, and more.

Wenona LOK, co-founder, Imagikai (AUstralia)

Wenona is a co-founder of Imagikai, a full service creative company with specialist understanding of the Asia - Australia market. Imagikai specialises in digital marketing, PR, branding, sponsorship management and talent booking. Imagikai works with companies who are interested in engaging with the Asian audience in Australia, and the broader Asia-Pacific market.

In March 2017, Imagikai co-curated the line up, consulted on student marketing and sponsorship management for the first-ever Asia Pop Fest x Lord Mayor’s Student Welcome. This inaugural event was hosted by the Arts Centre Melbourne and City of Melbourne. Imagikai delivered an array of K-Pop, C-Pop and local talent to a crowd of over 6000. #AsiaPopFest17 trended #5 on Twitter Australia-wide and #24 worldwide.

Wenona’s events and digital marketing experience in the Asia Pacific include managing over 55 music tours, which has attracted over 650,000 attendees.

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Rohan Leppert, Chair, Melbourne Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio (AUStralia)

Melbourne City Councillor Rohan Leppert is a musician who lives and works in Kensington.

Rohan is Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio, which includes music policy and Melbourne Music Week. He is deputy chair of the Planning portfolio.

Rohan established and chaired the Music Strategy Advisory Committee from 2013, which led the creation of the 2014-17 City of Melbourne Music Strategy, the second such strategy designed to improve government’s understanding and support of musicians and the music industry in Melbourne.

Rohan has a particular passion for supporting Melbourne’s vibrant arts scene and cultural heritage, and in supporting Melbourne’s indigenous and emerging artists and the creation of new public art.

Joel Edmondson, CEO, qmusic, bigsound (AUStralia)

Joel Edmondson is the CEO of QMusic, Queensland's music industry development association - best known for their annual delivery of the BIGSOUND conference and festival. Joel's diverse career has seen him work across the gamut of music industry roles, as well as almost a decade leading complex cultural transformation programs in the non-profit and government sectors. He has a keen interest in working with strategic land planners and property developers to ensure our future places are vibrant and accessible, having spent 2013/14 contributing to the City of Whittlesea Growth Area Framework Plan.

Simona Castricum, Musician, and Performer & Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, University of Melbourne School of Design (Australia)

Simona is a Ph.D. candidate in architecture at the University of Melbourne School of Design, a musician, performer, and a broadcaster on Melbourne community radio station PBS. As an
advocate for gender diversity she is a member of Music Victoria’s Women’s Advisory Panel, the Victoria Pride Centre Community Reference Group and a reserve grade coach at Melbourne University Womens Football Club.

She is also a freelance writer for The Guardian, Vice, i-D, Archer and The Lifted Brow. Her essays have been published in Routledge’s ‘Architecture & Culture’, ARM Architecture’s design monograph ‘Mongrel Rapture’ and the ‘Women of Letters’ series. Simona’s advocacy aims to build relationships between queer and gender diverse user groups,
design practitioners and clients to promote more inclusive understandings of gender and sexuality. Through valuing these communities, we create changes in policy, architectural practice and the built environment that facilitate participation, safety and belonging for LGBTIQA+ populations. The imagination of queer futures unveil new possibilities in architecture as a social justice practice.

Frank Henry,  Program Delivery Manager, Pollution Control, Brisbane City Council (australia)

Frank is from Brisbane. He was a musician during the late 80’s and early 90’s before he sold out and got himself a science degree, a haircut and a government job. Between 2002 and 2006 Frank worked with government, music industry and residents to develop and implement the Fortitude Valley Entertainment Precinct, Australia’s first officially designated entertainment precinct.

The precinct has been a major success over the last 12 years in managing the impacts of noise upon residents while maintaining the Valley’s vibrancy and the growth of the Brisbane’s live music scene. The research, analysis, legal drafting and negotiation undertaken by Frank in developing the precinct has led to significant changes in noise management and planning approaches in Queensland. Frank was a member of the working group for the Sydney Live Music Taskforce and he continues to play a lead role in the management of entertainment and mixed use precincts across Brisbane.