Our Board

CHAIR Kath M Mainland CBE
Kath joined Melbourne International Arts Festival as Executive Director in 2016 from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, where she had spent seven years as Chief Executive. Kath has worked in and around Festivals for over 25 years, and acted as a trustee on a number of arts boards including chairing Festivals Edinburgh, the high-level organisation created to take the lead on the city’s festivals’ joint strategic development. Over her tenure at the Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival grew in size by 52% with audiences increasing by 27% and breaking the two million ticket sales barrier for the first time in 2014. A card-carrying arts administrator, originally from Orkney, Kath was awarded a CBE for services to culture in Scotland in 2014. She is passionate about the arts, their place in society, and particularly passionate about the unique alchemy that happens at festivals and how this experience is applicable across the world.

DEPUTY CHAIR Kaz Paton
Kaz is currently the Manager for the Arts & Culture Department of the City of Greater Geelong and has been instrumental in a number of award winning events and major projects in her time in local government.  Kaz has been a board member of many arts organisations. She was a founding board member of the Cultural Development Network of Victoria and was Vice Chair of RAV when she was last a board member (co-opted back to the Board in 2011). She is a 2012 Churchill Fellow. Before local government Kaz trained as an actor in Australia and the United Kingdom. She subsequently worked as an actor and community theatre worker both in Australia and overseas including four years as producer, actor and teacher with the National Improvisational Theatre Company in New York.

TREASURER Julie Stanley
Bachelor of Commerce; Member, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia; Registered Company Auditor. Julie is a former Assurance & Advisory Partner at Deloitte, having started with the professional services firm as a graduate.  A passionate supporter of the Arts, with a particular interest in visual arts. Julie is a Co-opted Director and was appointed in 2015.

Elise Armitage
Bachelor of Arts – Anthropology and International Development. Elise has extensive management and administrative experience in both public and not-for-profit sectors, across Arts, Health and Tourism. Elise has directed and managed many festivals, events and creative projects across Victoria, and is a practicing artist.

Rebecca Brezzi
Rebecca has degrees and qualifications in law, psychology and business systems.  She is a barrister at the Victorian Bar and has taught in the areas of commercial, administrative and corporate law. Before becoming a lawyer, Rebecca was a senior project manager with the carriage of change management projects in the telecommunications, energy and IT sectors. Rebecca served 5 years (4 as chair) on the board of Express Media, a not for profit organisation promoting young Australian writers.

Victoria Crane
Victoria is an experienced banking professional, having spent the last ten years at ANZ in the Institutional Banking Division. Prior to joining ANZ, Victoria practised as a corporate solicitor with Allens Arthur Robinson (now Allens Linklaters). Victoria holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws (Hons). Victoria is also on the board of Learning for Life Autism Centre and the President of Alfred Nuttall Memorial Kindergarten.    

Jes John
Jes John is one of the leading members (and currently the chair) of F.INC, which grew from (f)route, a hugely successful localism and community-based arts group in East Gippsland. She is also one of the founding members of Foundry, an arts co-operative retail store + collaborative office space, located in downtown Bairnsdale, which has been operating successfully for three years. Jes is socially-engaged in the best of ways, and has long recognised that art doesn’t always live inside galleries - it is often found within community, and builds strong connections between those regionally.

Emma Jones
After completing a Bachelor of Music (Jazz), Emma built a career in web and e-learning development working in Canberra, London and Melbourne. Experience gained working on many projects during this time led Emma to her current role as a Project Manager specialising in implementing IT systems in large organisations. Emma has a long association with arts organisations and projects in Northeast Victoria, including the King Valley Art Show and four years as deputy chair of Wangaratta Festival of Jazz. Her artistic practice spans music, printmaking and textiles. Qualifications: Bachelor of Music - Jazz Performance 2000 ANU, Diploma Software Development 2002, Dip Project Management 2015.

Greg Pritchard
Dr Greg Pritchard is an inter- and multi-disciplinary artist with a long history as performance artist, writer (in many genres), digital media artist, installation artist, and conceptual artist. He has worked independently and as part of various collectives and partnerships, to produce works that range in scale, up to the giant celebratory spectacles of Nati Frinj and Poppet Bendigo. His personal performances deal with philosophical, political and environmental issues and ranges from socially-engaged to theoretical and individual. He is an experienced teacher and arts administrator, and has a Doctorate in Literature and Environmental Philosophy (Deakin) and a Masters in Art (Art in Public Space – RMIT) In 2019 he was Artistic Director for Artstate Tamworth 2019, Regional Arts NSW annual regional arts festival/conference. He is currently managing the Platform Art Space for Eastern Riverina Arts, Wagga, which is which is a shipping container that has been modified to be a chill space at festivals for people with anxiety or a number of different experiences of disability.

Karen Whitaker-Taylor
Karen has been the Cultural Development Officer at Baw Baw Shire since 2007. She was a representative on the Cultural Tourism Victoria Board from 2008-2012; is a Regional Arts Fund Panel member; (Honorary) Member of the Baw Baw Arts Alliance, and has been involved on the Creative Gippsland Committee since 2004. Karen has a long association with many Community Arts activities in the Baw Baw Shire and also over the wider region through Creative Gippsland and the Gippsland Arts Festival. Karen is a General Director and was appointed in 2015.