Thursday 27 June 2019
  • Eight curators, producers and artistic directors from the UK and Australia will work together in a knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer mentorship called INTERSECT.
  • Australian participants are Artist and Curator Genevieve Grieves, Independent Curator and Writer Nur Shkembi, Screen Content Maker and Educator Pearl Tan, and Curator and Arts Worker Tian Zhang.
  • UK participants are Independent Literature Curator and Producer Melanie Abrahams, Director and Founder of Upswing Victoria Amedume, Director, Producer and Freelance Editor Sharmilla Beezmohun, and Director and Performer Cheryl Martin

The next wave of participants have been announced for the 2019 INTERSECT programme. The programme is bringing together eight incredible curators, producers and artistic directors from the UK and Australia to work with each other in a knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer mentorship. 

The programme aims to strengthen international connections between those who are changing what work is seen on our screens and stages, how it is seen and who sees it. INTERSECT enables and fosters connections and collaborations between the UK and Australia through a nine-month creative knowledge exchange.

 “By connecting programming decision-makers who have growing power and influence in the UK and Australian arts sectors, we hope to support platforms for art that reflect, resonate with and enrich our whole society,” said Helen Salmon, Director British Council in Australia.

“I have many friends and colleagues go through the INTERSECT program who have greatly benefited from the experience. It is an excellent opportunity to extend our horizons outside of the Australian cultural context.” said 2019 INTERSECT participant Genevieve Grieves. 

“It will be interesting to see how different the conversations and the practice is in the arts and cultural sector in England compared to what we do, especially as a First Peoples' practitioners from a colonial context,” said Grieves.

INTERSECT is led by the British Council and Diversity Arts Australia, Australia’s key organisation promoting cultural diversity in the arts.

“The under-representation of cultural diversity in the arts is an attitudinal, institutional and structural issue. The UK and Australia have similar barriers to inclusion in the arts, and the INTERSECT programme is an important initiative to share leading practice and provide support networks between our countries,” said Lena Nahlous, Executive Director from Diversity Arts Australia.

“This programme will benefit both countries and we’re proud to be working with the British Council to provide support, access and networks to creative decision makers,” said Nahlous.


INTERSECT is a British Council and Diversity Arts Australia led knowledge exchange. The programme is aimed at curators, programmers, producers, publishers or artistic directors who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or being from a culturally and linguistically diverse or minority ethnic background. 

Participants will take part in a knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer mentorship, travelling between the UK and Australia to share experiences and best practice with each other and their networks.

The participants of the 2019 INTERSECT programme are: 

  • Genevieve Grieves (Australia) - Artist, Curator, Content Creator and Educator 
  • Nur Shkembi (Australia) - Independent Curator, Writer and Emerging Scholar 
  • Pearl Tan (Australia) - Screen Content Maker and Educator 
  • Tian Zhang (Australia) - Curator and Arts Worker
  • Melanie Abrahams (UK) - Independent Literature Curator and Producer 
  • Victoria Amedume (UK) - Director and Founder, Upswing 
  • Sharmilla Beezmohun (UK) - Director, Producer and Freelance Editor 
  • Cheryl Martin (UK)- Director, Writer and Performer

Diversity in Australian and UK arts industries  

The Australia Council for the Arts’ 2017 Making Art Work report found that people from a non-English speaking background account for only 10% of the arts workforce, compared to 18% of the general workforce. 

The Arts Council of England found that people from a minority ethnic background make up 11% of staff at their National Portfolio Organizations and 4% of staff at Major Partner Museums compared to 16% of the general workforce. 

Notes to Editor

British Council Director Australia Helen Salmon and Australian-based participants are available for interview. 

Contact: Kate Murray
Communications Manager, British Council Australia

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education, and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. 

About Diversity Arts Australia

Diversity Arts Australia is Australia’s key organisation promoting cultural diversity in the arts. 49% of Australians are first- or second-generation migrants (2016 Census), and we want to build a creative sector that reflects this rich and inspiring diversity. Diversity Arts Australia’s work is underpinned by a human-rights ethic, social justice principles, and the belief that a truly diverse spectrum of creative expression and participation is fundamental to a democratic, inclusive and sustainable creative sector, and society.