Community Arts Network is located on the ground floor of the King Street Art Centre. Entry is via 357 – 365 Murray Street Perth or Munster Lane, off King Street.
Chief Executive Officer
Monica is born and raised on Wadjuk Noongar boodja and is a mother of two teenage boys. As co-CEO of CAN, Monica leads the organisation to create positive social change through the arts, building inclusion and understanding between people.
Monica has been an arts leader for over nine years. She is passionate about how arts and culture connects stories and people to diverse audiences and is committed to sharing stories that truly reflect the plurality of voices that make up Australia.Monica has been in management for over 25 years and is an experienced facilitator of management and business qualifications across a range of sectors including working cross-culturally in Pakistan and Turkey
In 2010 she completed a BA Arts (Communication and Cultural Studies), and BSocSc, (Sociology), focusing on human rights. She will complete a Masters of Human Rights in 2020 with Curtin’s Centre for Human Rights and Education.
Monica passionately believes that arts impacts social and economic equality and that CAN’s work contributes to achieving this.
Chief Executive Officer
I have more than 30 years professional experience in the arts, working in senior positions and as a consultant across all artforms.
I graduated as a theatre animateur from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1984 and job-shared the inaugural Executive Officer position at CAN Victoria, then worked on the NSW Bicentennial arts program before returning to my hometown of Fremantle where I ran the Fremantle Arts Centre for six years.
Since then, my consulting practice has seen me work in diverse contexts with organisations, communities and individual artists. I have been a member of both the Community Cultural Development Board and the Community Partnerships Committee of the Australia Council and was recipient of an Australia Council Fellowship in 2002.
I have had a long connection to CAN through my Australia Council involvement and as a consultant. I love it so much I had to come and visit for longer!
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. So, in 2019, when the opportunity arose to join Community Arts Network, Meelee jumped on it, contributing her professional learning and her lived experience to the cultural change being implemented at CAN.
Partnerships and Media 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.
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!
Senior Financial Coordinator
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.
Miranda De Baughn
Miranda joined CAN in 2019 and quickly became a valued member of the organisation. Miranda completed her degree in Arts and Cultural Management in 2018 through Deakin University before starting her career in the arts at Ausdance WA. Miranda brings a wealth of experience in administration into her role at CAN.
Miranda handles the day to day administration duties at CAN. She also works directly with Rebecca, CAN’s Marketing Manager to assist in the coordination and delivery of CANs marketing activities.
Miranda is a skilled seamstress and all around crafter. In her spare time you will find her sewing away on her machines or knitting up a storm!
Artist Development Manager
Jill Brown is an Arts Manager with over 15 years experience in the industry. Western Australian born, Jill grew up in the Goldfields and began her career as an Arts Officer in the South West. Since then, Jill has worked in various roles across several arts organisations, including Artsource, Propel Youth Arts WA and Community Arts Network (CAN). As one of the founding staff members of Propel Youth Arts WA, Jill went on to become the General Manager and a Board member.
Jill is currently the Artist Development Manager at CAN where she has worked since 2008. Prior to her current role managing CAN’s Capacity Building program, Jill managed grants programs and other projects for the organisation.
Through her various roles, Jill has had the opportunity to work directly with diverse communities from across Western Australia, and has been fortunate to assist communities to share their unique stories through the creative process.
Jill has a degree in Literature and Film from Curtin University.
Nduta is passionate and dedicated to advancing human rights with particular interests in but not limited to; youth rights, CaLD and ATSI community development and capacity building, cultural rights, preservation of indigenous languages and the powerful use of art to unify and advance all rights; distinctively in this era of Sustainable Development Goals.
Nduta manages the data collection and application for MAP (Multicultural Arts Portal) and provides admin and project support for; HOME and Lotterywest’s Dream Plan Do and Story Street projects. Nduta contributes to the systems and processes that support the implementation of various project plans and delivery of CAN projects, while building relationships and working with artists, community and relevant stakeholders.
A quote that resonates with Nduta is “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou.
Project Coordinator - Lotterywest Dream Plan Do
Carolina Duca is a theatre maker and community arts worker working on Noongar Boodja. Their practice focuses on storytelling, interactive/immersive performance and community projects. Through their work, Carolina aims to see local communities interconnected, aware of the importance of their stories, and proud to share them.
Carolina supports community groups to develop arts projects under the Lotterywest Dream Plan program. They work together with communities to strengthen their applications for the mentoring program. Carolina is the first point of contact for any support they might need to develop and deliver their projects. Carolina works together with Ashley Yihsin Chang.
An artistic piece that inspires Carolina is a participatory storytelling project called “Quipu”, a collective memory archive for hundreds of thousands of Indigenous women who were subject to forced sterilisation in Peru in the 1990s.
Project Coordinator - Lotterywest Dream Plan Do
Paola is a PhD candidate in Biological Anthropology at UWA and an artist. Her research focuses on the intergenerational transmission of trauma and her art involves signing and participating in community art projects. Paola aims to merge these two areas and contribute to the development of local communities.
Paola supports people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds to successfully execute their community art project under the Lotterywest Dream Plan Do program. Paola works together with Carolina Duca.
A tradition that inspires Paola is the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead. As a Mexican, Paola embraces the celebration of death as another way of valuing life; living each day to fullest because life itself should not be taken for granted.
Christy Van Der Heyden
Project Manager - Creative Producer - Place Names
Melbourne born, Christy has worked in Community & Cultural Development and Social Enterprise around Australia in a range of Not For Profit NGO’s, Local and State government and as a small fashion & music business owner/operator. She is passionate about Art creating opportunities for social inclusion, self determination and social cohesion.
Christy’s work involves exploring ‘the symbiotic relationship between Noongar language and place that informed Noongar worldview’ in the Fremantle region as part of CAN’s Place Names Project which includes the delivery of creative outcomes to inspire a stronger place of identity and belonging for both Noongar and the wider community.
The best piece of advice that Christy is still learning is to ‘Never shrink or contract to fit conditions or people around you. Rise and expand to attract those who want to rise with you and support you in your expansion’
WARNING! Christy is also a cameleer who can talk about deserts and camels for days on end….
Project Coordinator - Lullabies
Elly is a community music making enthusiast. With a passion for creating connections and opportunities for people to be heard, Elly has worked in a variety of roles including coordinating arts and health projects, supporting young people to develop social action projects and empowering young people with an Out-of-Home Care experience to advocate for their rights and create positive systemic change.
As a recent member of the CAN family, Elly is coordinating CAN’s Lullabies project. Lullabies brings together Noongar families to learn and celebrate Noongar and use these language skills in creative outlets including songwriting, lullabies and doll making.
In her spare time, Elly loves being outside running and biking, making music and singing with friends.
Poppy van Oorde-Grainger
Creative Producer - RSOC
Poppy is a filmmaker, artist and producer who specialises in collaborating with communities. Her work’s been broadcast nationally on ABC, SBS and Nickelodeon, and presented internationally including at London International Festival of Theatre and Japan Media Arts Festival. She’s also a previous recipient of the Fremantle Print Award and Australia Council Kirk Robson Award.
Poppy is currently working with ten Elders on a multimedia storytelling project. The project focuses on stories of living and working on Whadjuk Noongar boodja, and how the Elder’s experiences have influenced their contribution to the City of Perth Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan and Elders Advisory Group.
Poppy also works as a freelance artist and filmmaker. You can check out her work at www.poppyvog.com
Project Coordinator - Place Names
Sandy is an arts practitioner who works across performance, puppetry and multimedia. She runs a company called Sandpiper Productions creating hybrid art collaborations and performances locally and nationally. She has been an artist in residence in Zambia, South Korea, Cocos and Christmas Islands. She is driven by a passion to give voice to the unheard.