With its roots planted firmly in the social activism of the 1960s and the early international community arts movement, contemporary CAN continues to unlock Western Australia’s untold stories through community participation in art.
Giving voice to the hidden histories of this land and all of its people, stories and art in all its forms are shared to create positive social change, building inclusion and understanding between people.
Knowing that art transforms communities, CAN has pursued this purpose for 35 years, building relationships that create opportunities for people to determine for themselves what stories best express the diversity of experience, aspiration and imagination alive in Western Australians.
Across its history, CAN’s delivery and partnerships have adapted to the aspirations of its communities and the opportunities of the time with a nimbleness that keeps it relevant and vital, but the lifeblood of the organisation remains its values, which have informed more than 35 years of practice.
To create positive social change through the arts,
building inclusion and understanding between people.
First Peoples, First
All our work is underpinned by this principle. CAN supports the ULURU Statement from the Heart. Self-determination is at the heart of CAN’s work with all communities.
We believe in the inherent worth of all people and their right to be treated with dignity and honour.
We believe that creative expression should be accessible to all, as a vital part of being human.
We use all forms of artistic and creative expression to inspire the sharing of stories and culture.
We make outstanding art with communities that tells their stories and shares their lived experience.
In the process of making and presenting this art we build people’s capacity and strengthen communities.
We build sector knowledge, capacity and influence.
We are transforming our organisation to reflect and service our diverse community.
Nguluk Kaartadjin Wongi
CAN embeds Aboriginal wisdom in its governance structures and documenting working methods that underpin self determination for ATSI communities in CAN projects.
Nguluk Kaartadjin Wongi commits CAN to specific actions that enhance self-determination for ATSI communities and expand opportunities for ATSI people to influence engagement and dialogue with the broader arts sector in Western Australia, through CAN.
The Noongar title Nguluk (our) Kaartadjin (Knowledge) Wongi (Talk/speak) reflects the origin of our work on Noongar Boodja under the guidance of many Noongar people who have influenced CAN, and to whom we offer our thanks.
CAN is governed by a Board of Directors who are leaders in their industries and bring diverse academic, social and career backgrounds and experiences to the Board table. Our Directors are responsible for the strategic leadership and governance of CAN and are charged with policy development, risk management and overall accountability.
Aboriginal Advisory Group
The Aboriginal Advisory Group (AAG) was established in December 2018 to provide cultural advice and counsel to CAN and to offer specific advice and support to CAN’s artists and artsworkers creating projects with ATSl communities. Membership of the AAG is open to all ATSI people and is chaired by CAN’s Cultural Advisor, Noongar Elder Geri Hayden.
The core team works across all of CAN's diverse programming and manages the organisation's ongoing operation. CAN’s remit, collaborative approach, remote employment opportunities and accessible recruitment practices attract a diverse and talented team.
CAN contracts a team of skilled artists and arts workers to support the delivery of its inspiring arts programs. The project team have a passion for community arts and cultural development and are highly experienced at working in complex community settings.
When we have opportunities for employment in the core team or contracts within the project team, we will advertise them here and on social media.
Sorry, there are currently no open career positions. Please check back soon.
Pearl Proud was born in Durban, South Africa and migrated to Australia in 1987. Pearl has a background in Psychology and has held clinical and policy roles in government, not-for-profit and private practice settings.
Pearl is a Member of the Institute of Company Directors, an alumna of the Cranlana Leadership Colloquium, Executive Coach, Board Chair, non-Executive Director and endorsed Mentor in a governance career spanning 15 years. Pearl has a commitment to contributing to the civic, social, cultural and artistic life in Western Australia, was Patron for the Perth Arts Festival, the Founding Patron for the Perth Writers Festival and a Medici Donor. Her civic and philanthropic contribution acknowledgements include the national Living Legend Award 2012. Pearl has a deep respect for Noongar land and culture and acknowledges its elders, past, present and emerging and its cultural safekeepers.
Sally is a nationally recognised director, writer, dramaturg, producer, advocate & consultant working in the performing arts in Australia.
As Artistic Director of Steamworks Arts (since 2001) she has created numerous works for contemporary dance, theatre, puppetry & circus. A past board member of the Australia Council Theatre Board & alumni of the Australia Council Arts Leaders program, she is also a member of the Helpmann Awards Theatre panel since 2011. A past Director of Playworks & Stages WA, she has collaborated with Performing Lines WA regularly since 2008. She is Director of circus theatre company MAXIMA & a current PHD candidate at WAAPA ECU.
It has never been more important to bring together the diverse voices that make up our community. Culture is an expression of identity, of what we value and believe. It is the lens thought which we experience the world and is also an expression of how we want to see the world. I hope to contribute to CAN by assisting the organisation and team to continue the great work they are doing in supporting and growing the creativity and artistry of our communities, and our connection with each other.
Lorraine has been practicing as an accountant for over 15 years. Passionate about community, people, and culture she has spent most of her career working for Not for Profits.
Some of the sectors worked into date are aged care, disabilities, alcohol and drug, arts, and culture. Having worked in areas of corporate governance, strategy, and financial management in her various roles throughout the last 20 years. Lorraine is currently employed as the Corporate Services Manager for Holyoake.
Bringing communities together is a passion of Lorraine’s and always keeps that in mind in all the work that she does.
Antonella Segre was born in Milan Italy and migrated to Perth in 2001 after having resided overseas for 30 years.
Her background is in Leadership,Business Development, Marketing and Event Management. She is an alumni of the Cranlana Leadership Community, received a special commendation in 2011 by the WA Women’s Hall of Fame committee and is the recipient of the Rosemary Caithness award. She is the CEO of ConnectGroups Peak Body for Support Groups in WA since 2008. She has a strong interest in social anthropology and the arts and a drive for social justice and inclusion and social return.
Johnny is a migrant settler with Chinese, Vietnamese and French heritage, whose family came to Australia as refugees post-Vietnam War.
Guided by the collective knowledge and wisdom of the communities he is surrounded by, his work lies at the intersection of arts, technology and built form. He is a Co-Director at Paper Mountain, Chair of Northbridge Common, sits on the Amnesty WA Activism Leadership Committee and is the Incubator Manager for ProFound Incubator.
Derreck is an experienced commercial disputes lawyer with Herbert Smith Freehills.
Derreck maintains a broad practice, with a focus on corporate insolvency, government issues and administrative law, and media and defamation.
Derreck’s experience includes conducting and resolving disputes in the state supreme courts and the Federal court, including reaching resolutions by negotiation and mediation. These have ranged from large scale trials involving voluminous evidence, to smaller disputes.
He joined the Board in 2020 and is an enthusiast of diverse workplaces:
For me, the best reason to value diversity is because it makes the day in the office a lot more fun. Who wants to work with a bunch of clones? I enjoy working with people who have different outlooks, backgrounds and ideas. It keeps things lively and interesting.
Vanessa is a Noongar woman from Perth with connections to Ballardong and Palyukl. She holds BA in Archealogy and Anthropology from UWA and a BA in Aboriginal and Community Management and Development from Curtin Universtiy, and an Honours of Research and Traditional Noongar Women's Healing. Her research centres around Aboriginal Traditional and Contemporary Housing Issues in urban and rural Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory.
Geri has worked with both Aboriginal community organisations, non-government organisations and government bodies. As the former chairperson of the Southern Aboriginal Corporation she gained experience working in Noongar communities to implement social justice and wellbeing projects. She worked as a project officer with South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council for several years and has been a part of the South West Native Title Settlement, the largest native title settlement in Australian history, which will affect an estimated 30,000 Noongar People 200,000 square kilometres in South West WA.
Harley is part of the Menang clan group from Albany. He was a Coordinator of Aboriginal Education for many years and implemented the Department of Education’s Aboriginal Studies Curriculum and Cultural Awareness programs. In his current role as a Senior Heritage Officer with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, he is active in protecting Aboriginal heritage sites across the South West region of WA. His work also involves the repatriation of Aboriginal Ancestral remains across the state in partnership with the WA Museum. He is also a member of the WA Museum’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee that provides advice to the museum on matters related to Aboriginal heritage and culture with a particular involvement in the curation of Aboriginal content in the State's new museum, which will be opened in 2020.
Margaret is a Nyoongar/Yamitji woman from the Yued, Yamitji and Wadjarri regions of Western Australia. Margaret has worked in federal and state government and community and non-government organisations for 20 years. She has built her skills and experience in program management and customer and community outcomes. Margaret is currently employed as Aboriginal Community Partnerships and Outcomes Manager with a non-government organisation. She participates on a number of Boards and committees with Aboriginal organisations including Native Title and she is current chairperson of the New Norcia Stolen Generations Board. Margaret’s experience gained through working in Native Title and Aboriginal Heritage includes building her knowledge of associated Acts and Legislation and interpreting it from a Nyoongar perspective. Much of her work in this area included working closely with Traditional Owners, Elders and local communities to understand cultural protocols and values of land and water to Nyoongar people. She is currently the chairperson of the Yued Native Title Trust.
Kobi is a 27 year old bibbulmun noongar who was born and raised in Perth. While working at the UWA Centre of Social Impact and Propel Youth Arts WA, Kobi spends his spare time playing music, being involved in various music projects such as Moombaki, Koondarm, Koorlong, Madjitil Moorna and Endeavourous, these are projects that earned him the 2018 Perth NAIDOC Youth of the Year award.
As Artistic Director of Perth Festival and Head of Performance and Dance at Southbank Centre London, and Sydney Opera House, for twenty years Wendy has worked with the world’s leading artists, supported emerging careers, and curated and produced ground-breaking multi-artform festivals, commissions, events, and public engagement programs driven by her commitment to equity, social justice, context, community, and place.
Our key challenge as a society and in the community arts and cultural development sector is to address the complex social, cultural and political challenges we all face. Wendy’s role is to lead the CAN team and in collaboration with partners create powerful projects to support First Nations and diverse communities and artists, take the work into the wider community, and together build understanding and empathy, and enrich lives across WA.
I believe passionately that artists, and the work they make are essential to our humanity and hope. I’m driven by a sense of curiosity and wonder and the commitment to creating experiences that lift everyone together and expand our sense of what it is to be human, to be alive. - Wendy
Meelee Soorkia is CAN’s General Manager. She has several years of experience in managing creative projects and teams. Meelee worked as a book editor in Melbourne for more than a decade, before moving to Perth on a whim to take up an opportunity at a business management consultancy.
There she learnt a lot about improving organisations, managing change and getting the best out of people, but her heart longed to return to the arts. In 2019 when the opportunity arose to join Community Arts Network, Meelee jumped on it and contributes her professional learning and lived experience to the cultural change being implemented at CAN.
Partnerships and Platforming Manager
Michelle is an award winning former ABC journalist with more than thirty years’ experience in television, film, radio, print and digital media.
A proud Yamatij storyteller, she is passionate about sharing the stories of First Nation people and they have formed the basis of many of her creative projects, including short stories, publications and plays.
Michelle’s role at CAN is to look for opportunities to platform CAN’s work and partner with like-minded organisations so we can continue to deliver transformative arts and cultural development programs with communities.
When not working for CAN, Michelle volunteers on the board of 100.9fm Noongar Radio, Seesaw Magazine, As One Nyitting and is a member of the Kalamunda Arts and Culture Advisory Committee.
In 2019 Michelle was featured in the SBS series Every Family Has a Secret which explored her Mother’s stolen generation experiences of removal as a child. She also discovered her Grandfather was sent from England to Australia as a child migrant.
Miranda De Baughn
Miranda is an experienced Arts Manager who joined the CAN team in mid-2019. Starting in an administrative position she transitioned into the Operations Manager role in early 2020. During this time Miranda managed the teams transition into working from home requirements and facilitated an IT overhaul for the organisation.
In addition to Miranda's work as Operations Manager, she also manages CAN's social media platforms and assists in the coordination and delivery of CAN's marketing activities.
Miranda's background was initially in design, graduating with a degree in Interior and Spatial Design through Edith Cowan University. She left that career behind in 2015, travelling across the globe and landing in Fernie, a small town in the Canadian Rockies. On returning to Australia, Miranda returned to university and studied Arts and Cultural Management through Deakin University before starting her career in the arts at Ausdance WA.
Miranda is a skilled seamstress and all around crafter. In her spare time you will find her sewing away, knitting up a storm and hanging out with her beloved cat Billy.
Rebecca Lyon Augustus
Marketing and Design Manager
Starting out in regional WA, art education was Rebecca’s initial passion, but after living in International House in Illinois her love of people and culture became the driver for her future career. Later moving to Oakland, California, Rebecca spent several years developing curriculum to inspire early childhood involvement in literacy for a local non-profit. Her time living in the Bay Area and her studies at UC Berkeley provided a solid grounding for over 15 years of positions in marketing and community development.
Rebecca works closely with Michelle White and Miranda De Baughn across all projects. She champions the CAN brand and supports the strategic marketing goals of the organisation.
Rebecca believes in giving all people space to be their best selves, to have their voices heard, with encouragement and without judgement. In her spare time, Rebecca is often found listening to podcasts or talking about her kids!
Pauline Sikweti has a strong interest in Culture & the Arts and finance.
This has led Pauline to a career as a freelance bookkeeper/BAS agent to various arts companies and small businesses. Pauline has been working in the accounts industry for over 20 years and enjoys being surrounded with the creativity that the Arts sector brings.
As Finance Officer, Pauline oversees all areas of finance including: payroll, accounts payable and receivables, cash management, general ledger, banking and reconciliations. Pauline assists Management prepare budgets and is responsible for preparing the financial aspects of funding body reports.
Elly is an experienced Project Manager with a passion for creating spaces for connections to grow and for people to be heard. She joined the CAN team in March 2020 as Lullabies Project Coordinator and in 2021 moved into a Program Manager role, overseeing both CAN’s Lullabies and Place Names projects.
Since 2012, Elly has worked in a variety of project coordination and facilitation roles in the arts and community sectors including supporting young people to develop social action projects to advocate for their rights and create positive systemic change.
In 2020, Elly coordinated CAN’s Noongar Lullabies from Home project, bringing Noongar artists and families together online to learn and celebrate Noongar language through the creation and recording of lullabies.
Pip Kelly is a film-maker and creative producer from Perth, Western Australia. She has an academic background in Socio-cultural studies and Film Directing and professional experience in arts management, museums and galleries, community engagement, community cultural development and arts festivals.
Guided by her passion for storytelling, Pip has worked closely with communities in Australia and Cambodia, exploring themes of identity, belonging, memory, truth-telling, cultural practices, cultural objects, and contemporary art.
Pip's films have screened on Stan, ABC and SBS, at international festivals and have won Australian film awards.
She recently started with CAN as the Project Coordinator for Place Names which is a Noongar led language and creative art project reinvigorating cultural knowledge and understanding of significant Noongar places throughout the South West of Australia.
Pip loves to connect with nature and all the beautiful beaches that run along the Great Southern Region of WA.
Natalie Scholtz is an African Persian British Australian visual artist. She is inspired by creative conversations around the relationship of self and society, action and response, culture, arts and change.
Natalie has had the pleasure of being part of CAN’s Place Names over the past 5 years, connecting with local Noongar Elders, community and a range of learning and talent from Langford, Albany, Katanning and now Fremantle.
Sandy is an arts practitioner who works across performance, puppetry and multimedia. She runs Sandpiper Productions, a company creating hybrid art collaborations and performances locally and nationally. She has been an artist in residence in Zambia, South Korea, Cocos and Christmas Island. She is driven by a passion to give voice to the unheard.
Sandy was involved in CAN’s Place Names Moora project, working with local Elders and community members to explore their stories, experiences and languages of Moora and surrounding areas.
Cyndy Moody is a powerful singer and songwriter sharing straight from the heart. Since joining Lullabies in 2020, Cyndy has performed her songs across Perth and in 2021, Ngany Koorlangka (My Kid), the lullaby Cyndy and Phil created together during Lullabies, was awarded WAM’s song of the year. Ngany Koorlangka is a personal and powerful song about Cyndy's own experience and Phil was so inspired by the lyrics, he wrote the music almost simultaneously.