In late 2020 Placemakers* Gold Coast invited expressions of interest from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts industry professionals, passionate about culture and place, to join the newly formed First Nation Reference Group.
The purpose of the group is to provide cultural advice and guidance to support the strategic vision of Placemakers* Gold Coast and the annual BLEACH* Festival.
Placemakers* Gold Coast is committed to building a solid foundation that supports accurate, authentic and respectful representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander principles, and to embedding these principles in the ecology of the organisation and Festival planning process.
Hague Best is a Traditional Owner of the Yugambeh Language Region, with extensive knowledge and experience across all aspects of Cultural Heritage, including local language and family connections associated with the Gold Coast. As a community leader and Elder, Best has supported a number of arts sector initiatives aligned to the Arts and Culture Strategy and led by the City’s Arts and Culture team, including the inaugural Indigenous Arts and Culture Forum, South Stradbroke Island Indigenous Artist Camp and Public Art initiatives.
Stephanie Parkin belongs to the Quandamooka of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). After practising as an intellectual property lawyer at McCullough Robertson Lawyers, Stephanie went on to complete a Masters of Philosophy at the Queensland University of Technology in 2020. The Masters thesis addresses the drivers and impacts of fake Aboriginal art in the souvenir market, and in doing so, gives priority to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
In the various roles Stephanie undertakes, her work focuses on promoting and addressing Indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights, and ethical and transparent trading between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and those who wish to sell or license their work. Stephanie is the current Chairperson of the Indigenous Art Code Ltd, board member of the North Stradbroke Island Museum on Minjerribah and is employed by the Copyright Agency as the Indigenous Engagement Manager.
Rhianna Patrick is a freelance Torres Strait Islander media professional and journalist with family connections to the Zagareb (Mer) and Wagadagem (Mabuyag) clans of Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait). Rhianna spent nearly two decades at the ABC before leaving to pursue other opportunities in 2020. For the last few years, Rhianna has curated Spotify's 'Original Storytellers' playlist.
Jo has worked on the Gold Coast since 2014 alongside great creative industry professionals and key community members passionate about the arts and culture transformation throughout the city.
“Having been raised in Brisbane, frequent trips to the Gold Coast and surrounding hinterland areas were part of family life, and becoming independent with my own wheels, there were many more trips down the highway to go to the beach whenever I could.”
Between 2014 and 2019, Jo was fortunate enough to deliver the annual South Stradbroke Island Indigenous Artist Camp and have unique ‘on country’ experiences alongside the artists.
“If I can get back over to South Stradbroke regularly, I do, but I am happy to connect with other special places on the Coast, like Tallebudgera, Currumbin or Jellurgal (Burleigh headland) for a swim or walk throughout the natural areas.”
Jo has successfully worked across government for 25 years, including a photography cadetship completed in 1999 at the State Library of Queensland. She’s passionate about continuing to document people and places, especially through the arts. Later Jo worked in the City of Gold Coast Arts and Culture unit, and now she’s the First Nation Curator at Placemakers*.
“I love working in the creative arts industry and especially working in a city with a beach lifestyle.”