Board

Chair

Lisa Dempster  Follow
Lisa is a leader in Australia’s creative sector and Director/CEO of a world class literary event, Melbourne Writers Festival. In her previous role as Director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival (2010-2012), Lisa delivered dynamic, diverse and accessible events, including several interstate roadshows. Lisa pioneered digital literary programming in Australia and was the founding Director of the Digital Writers’ Conference and EWFdigital, an innovative online programming stream. In 2012 Lisa curated an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Future Bookshop, which explored how Australians will be reading, writing and publishing in the future. She has previously programmed the Academy of Words writers’ conference at Format Festival in Adelaide (2010) and undertaken an Asialink residency with the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Indonesia (2012). Before she got into festivals, Lisa was a writer and editor with several book titles, a personal blogger, and the indie publisher at Vignette Press.

Board

Matthew Albert
Matthew is a barrister at the Victorian Bar and a lecturer at the University of Melbourne. He completed a Masters degree in international refugee law at the University of Oxford. While in the UK, he also worked at Britain’s leading human rights chambers, Doughty Street chambers as researcher to Geoffrey Robertson QC. He was also researcher to the Solicitor-General for Victoria in her capacity as the legal adviser to the Victorian Human Rights Consultative Committee, which led to the Victorian Charter. Matthew founded the Sudanese Australian Integrated Learning (SAIL) Program.

Sophie Black  Follow
Sophie is Acting Head of Programming at the Wheeler Centre. Previously she was Editor in Chief at Private Media, where she headed up the titles Crikey, Women’s Agenda, SmartCompany, StartUpSmart and Property Observer. In 2013 she delivered the Adelaide Festival of Ideas as Director. She sits on the advisory board for Melbourne University’s Centre for Advancing Journalism and is a writer, journalist and the former editor of Crikey. She has written on subjects such as immigration, the publishing and advertising industries, climate change, the media, Indigenous affairs, US and federal politics. Sophie was also deputy editor of the weekly magazine The Reader after working in film and TV production.

Siân Darling
Siân is a freelance creative communication specialist and filmmaker. Also working as the Business Development Manager at Art Guide Australia, Siân applies her strategic communication to her passion for the arts. Formerly the General Manger of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, Siân makes creative videos and documentaries across the human rights and creative arts sectors.

Grahame Best

Treasurer

Joel Cohen
Joel is a Director in Deloitte’s Social Impact Consulting Practice with 18 years of leadership, strategic, operational, financial and program management experience. He has worked across social impact, financial services, management consulting and consumer goods sectors for a number of leading organisations including Small Giants (impact investment), ANZ Banking Corporation, A.T. Kearney and Procter & Gamble across Australia, Asia and Western Europe. He holds a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact from Swinburne University and Bachelor’s Degree in Business & IT. He is also a board member of Gowrie Victoria.