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Left to Right: Ben Roche, David Dwyer, Stephen Champion, Sandra McMahon, Paul Scott-Williams, Julie Briggs, Gavin Findlay and Sharni Jones. Photo by Katelyn-Jane Dunn.

Left to Right: Ben Roche, David Dwyer, Stephen Champion, Sandra McMahon, Paul Scott-Williams, Julie Briggs, Gavin Findlay and Sharni Jones. Photo by Katelyn-Jane Dunn.


The Regional Arts NSW Board of Directors meets in March, April, July, September and November.

For more information about the Regional Arts Boards (RABs) and Regional Arts Development Officers (RADOs), see the Regional Arts NSW Network page.

Stephen Champion

Stephen Champion has been the Manager of the Bathurst Memorial  Entertainment Centre since 2003 and has worked professionally in the performing  arts for thirty four years.  As a  performer he was a core member of Circus Oz in its first six years, devised his  own works and performed with many groups including the Meryl Tankard Dance  Theatre, the Nimrod Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company.  Stephen was an Associate Director with the  Second Studio of Wroclaw, Poland (1986) and Associate Director and then Artistic  Director of Jigsaw Theatre Company in Canberra  (1988 – 1994).  He has been a trainer for  many companies including The Flying Fruit Fly Circus, La Boite Youth Theatre  and NIDA.  Prior to moving to Bathurst, Stephen  was Domain Manager for the Sydney Festival for seven years, a Production  Manager for the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival and Venue Manager of the Domain  Live Site for the Olympic Coordination Authority.

Stephen was appointed to the Regional Arts NSW Board on 6 September 2012.

Ben Roche

Ben Roche is the Director of Engagement at Southern Cross University. In this position he has responsibility for a suite of portfolios that focus on connecting SCU’s research and teaching strengths with the sustainable development needs of its communities. He provides leadership and advice to drive engagement strategies and cultivate key relationships and networks to realise the University’s strategic priorities whilst optimising community benefit, impact and exchange.

As a human geographer, Ben is passionate about participatory approaches to sustainable development and the role that education and engagement can play in creating resilience, capacity and well-being in communities. He has taught, researched and practised in the areas of community-based learning, participatory planning, sustainable development and community engagement. Ben continues to provide advice to a range of organisations and governments on strategic approaches to education, engagement and development.

Ben’s contribution to community engagement in higher education, specifically service learning in built environment disciplines, was recognised through a Carrick Citation in 2008 and that same year he was the recipient of the Edith Cowan Authentic Learning Award from the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia. Ben is the Chair of Engagement Australia and Deputy Chair of Regional Arts NSW.

Ben was appointed to the Regional Arts NSW Board on 18 April 2013.

David Dwyer

David Dwyer is the Director Community Services at Dubbo City Council.  In this role he manages an extensive portfolio including Cultural Services, the Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre, The Old Dubbo Gaol Museum, Social Services, Recreation Services, Health Services, Library Services, Child Care, Sister City Relationships and Cemeteries. With over 39 years experience in local government at Newcastle City, Singleton Shire, Deniliquin Municipal and Dubbo City Councils he has a wealth of knowledge on government / community relationships. David has graduate and post graduate qualifications in local government from Charles Sturt University.  David has overseen the cultural development of Dubbo since the early 1990s and has been involved in significant projects such as the construction and initial staffing and management of the Western Plains Cultural Centre and Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre; the development of Dubbo Cultural Plans; the establishment of a Dubbo Cultural Forum; the commencement of a Multi Cultural Festival; close involvement in the initial establishment of Orana Arts; and providing advice and guidance to numerous local cultural organisations.  David has a passion for grass roots cultural development and providing support and assistance to community groups to achieve their aspirations.

David was appointed to the Regional Arts NSW Board on 15 April 2015.

Julie Briggs

Julie has worked closely with business and government for fifteen years, initially as Manager of the Wagga Wagga Chamber of Commerce, then as Executive Officer of the Wagga Wagga Business Enterprise Centre. In the latter role Julie assisted thousands of business and prospective business people to explore their business ideas, develop business plans and establish businesses throughout the Riverina region.

Julie has a strong background in strategic planning and business planning. Recently completing corporate plans for Bland Shire Council and Goldenfields Water County Council as well as completing an audit of facilities and services across the Albury-Wodonga ACC region which the led to the preparation of an action plan for the 10 councils involved. As Executive Officer of the Wagga Wagga BEC Julie prepared business studies for the business incubators that were established by that Organisation as well as working on the feasibility studies for a Heavy Vehicle Driver Training Facility and a Technology Park.

Julie was appointed to the Regional Arts NSW Board on 14 April 2016.

Gavin Findlay

Gavin Findlay trained in music and computer science at the University of Tasmania and played tuba with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for eight years before moving to Sydney in 1989 to become Administration Coordinator for The Performance Space, the national centre for interdisciplinary arts. In 1992 Gavin joined Canberra’s groundbreaking Splinters Theatre as manager and musician. He helped establish the Australian Choreographic Centre before becoming Director of Canberra Youth Music and setting up the Ainslie Arts Centre as a centre for youth and community music. From 2002-2014 Gavin worked for the Australian Government where he specialised in Indigenous economic development, and in 2009 completed a Masters in Public Policy at the Australian National University. He is currently undertaking his PhD at the ANU Centre for Digital Humanities Research exploring the use of online archives to conduct research into audiences of live performance. Gavin is currently General Manager of the Canberra International Music Festival, Vice-President of MusicACT, and has produced numerous music and theatre works at major Australian festivals. He continues to perform as multi-instrumentalist in many genres including orchestral, jazz, brass and wind bands, rock and electronic music.

Gavin was appointed to the Regional Arts NSW Board on 20 April 2017.

Sharni Jones

Sharni Jones is an Aboriginal woman from the Kabi Kabi and Waka Waka Nations of south east Queensland on her maternal side. Sharni spent her formative years in the Illawarra region of NSW – the traditional homelands of the Dharawal people, where her family still resides.

She has deep knowledge of and extensive engagement in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultural sector, with specialisations in contemporary visual arts practice, strategic policy development and stakeholder engagement. She is a highly-networked facilitator with 20 years of professional practice.

Sharni is the Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collection, Australian Museum in Sydney. Previously, Sharni managed the strategic development and implementation of the NSW Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Strategy 2015-18 Connection, Culture Pathways as the Senior Aboriginal Cultural Development Officer at Arts NSW and has held other government agency positions in the NSW Department of Education, TAFE NSW and NSW Heath.

Her qualifications include a Master of Arts Administration (College of Fine Arts UNSW), Bachelor of Creative Arts (University of Wollongong) and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (Northern Sydney Institute).

Sharni has participated on a range of committees including the Carriageworks Aboriginal Advisory Group, the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Reforms Interagency Working Group led by the Office of Environment and Heritage, the Senior Executive Committee led by Aboriginal Affairs, the Australia Council for the Arts – Arts Leadership Reference Group, the National Arts and Cultural Accord Indigenous Art and Culture Working Group and prior board membership at Information and Cultural Exchange, Parramatta (2012-2013).

She is passionate advocate for First Peoples arts-led practice, fostering and championing practice through leadership, excellence and exchange.

Sharni was appointed to the Regional Arts NSW Board on 20 April 2017.

Sandra McMahon

Sandra McMahon grew up in Sydney but has lived and worked in regional NSW for the past 33 years.  She is currently the Co-Director and owner of Weswal Gallery, a commercial gallery in Tamworth.  Prior to this she was the Director of Tamworth Regional Gallery and Manager of the Tamworth Powerstation Museum, the Curator at the Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo, and Gallery Assistant at Helen Maxwell Gallery in Canberra and at the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery as the Education / Public Programs Officer.  Sandra originally trained as a painter, and was a part-time visual arts teacher at TAFE NSW at Moree, Quirindi and Tamworth Campuses.

Sandra has a Diploma in Visual Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Art History and Curatorship from ANU; Cert IV in Business; Cert IV in Training Assessment and Education; and a Diploma of Management. Recently she has become a registered Art Valuer under the Australian Government Cultural Gifts Program.

Sandra was appointed to the Regional Arts NSW Board on 14 April 2016.

Nick Pickard

Nicholas Pickard is the Director of Corporate Affairs at Copyright Agency | Viscopy, Australia’s national copyright licensing organisation for the literary, publishing, media and visual arts industries. Nicholas has managed the profile and reputation of organisations and public figures across government, transport and infrastructure, creative industries and the media for over a decade. A former journalist, theatre critic and adviser to federal and state government ministers, his experience includes orchestrating the narrative and communications plans of everything from Heathrow Airport’s expansion campaign, the Creative Australia national cultural policy, Local Government urban rejuvenation projects to ministerial delegations, change management strategies and arts festivals.
Nicholas’ first love is theatre and live performance, a passion which saw him receive scholarships to study theatre directing at the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and theatre theory in Manchester and Oxford, UK.
Nicholas was appointed to the Regional Arts NSW Board on 6 July 2017.

Paul Scott-Williams

Paul Scott-Williams is the current Director of the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium. He has an extensive background as a performer, arts educator and arts advocate. He studied at the NSW State Conservatorium in the 1980’s and went on to achieve a Masters Degree in performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London) and most recently completed a Masters in Counselling at Monash University, Melbourne.

Paul was a founding member of Aitken College in Melbourne, which now offers a broad education to approximately 1400 students in Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs. Paul has taught music, drama, dance and circus skills to students from early childhood to adults and served on the Victorian State Subject Association Boards for Music and Drama for a number of years. He took a leading advocacy role in the development and implementation of Music Technology in Education as a member of Soundhouse Australia, winning the national Alfred Brasch Award in 2004.

Paul was appointed to the Regional Arts NSW Board on 14 April 2016.