Nur Shkembi curator, writer and scholar whose work focuses on development of community awareness in relation to the arts with a focus on the presence of Australian Muslim artists in the dominant discourse. Amongst many achievements she has curated the first nationwide annual exhibition of contemporary Australian Muslim artists and was part of the team establishing the Islamic Museum of Australia since 2010, and until recently served as the museum’s Art Director, Exhibitions Manager and foundation Curator. Shkembi is currently a PhD candidate – Doctor of Philosophy – Art, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne and is undertaking interdisciplinary research in material conservation, curatorship and the work of contemporary Muslim artists within the current socio-political climate. Shkembi is also a member of Eleven; a collective of eleven contemporary Muslim Australian artists.
Léuli Māzyār Lunaʻi Eshrāghi is a Sāmoan, Persian (and other ancestries) artist and curator, currently a PhD candidate in Curatorial Practice at Monash University Art Design Architecture (MADA). His work centres on ceremonial-political renewal, languages, embodied futures, diasporic and local indigeneities. He serves on the board of Aboriginal Curatorial Collective | Collectif des commissaires autochtones (Canada), editorial advisory panel for Broadsheet (Australia), and Pacific Advisory Group for Melbourne Museum.
Hoda Afshar is an Iranian artist based in Melbourne. Her work has been widely exhibited both locally and internationally and published online and in print. In 2015 she won the National Photographic Portrait Prize in Australia. Through her photographic practice, which often tests the boundaries between staged and documentary photography, Afshar reflects on issues related to representation, displacement, gender and identity politics. Her artwork aims to open lines of communication in a world both homogenized by global economy and unsettled by mass migration. She is currently a currently a PhD candidate in the department of Art at Curtin University, and a lecturer in Photography.
Tess Do started her academic career at Griffith University and the University of Queensland – where she completed her postdoctoral study – before joining the French Department at the University of Melbourne in 2001. She has published articles and book chapters on Linda Lê, Anna Moï, Thanh-Van Tran-Nhut, Azouz Begag, Béatrix Beck (France), Jean Vanmai (New Caledonia), Le Hoang (film director, Vietnam). Her current research focuses on crime fiction and the areas of food and cultural heritage, in particular, the role food, war and memory play in the post-colonial migrant experience (Kim Thuy, Nam Lê).
Alia Gabres is a Melbourne based Creative Producer, Cultural Broker and Storyteller whose main interest in using Arts Practice as a site for knowledge generation and Cultural transmission. Gabres was co-director of the ‘The Centre for Poetics and Justice’ in 2011-2012 and Associate Producer at the Footscray Arts Centre. She was part of the Global Poetics Tour 2011and Please Resist Me tour with National Slam Champion Luka Lesson and acclaimed Poet Joel Mckerrow. Gabres was invited as teaching artist with the Minor Disturbance Youth Slam team in Denver Colorado and co-produced an intergenerational narrative project in California. 2013 also saw Gabres’s poetry video ‘Cotton Summer Dresses’ selected as a finalist of the National Blake Prize.
Lisa Hilli is a contemporary artist and researcher. She is a descendant of the Makurategete Vunatarai (clan) Tolai / Gunantuna people of Papua New Guinea, and a co-founder of the Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival. She received a Masters of Fine Art by Research degree from RMIT University and her work has been presented at Queensland Art Gallery, Framer Framed Tolhuistuin Amsterdam, Indonesian Contemporary Art Network Yogyakarta and BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts Brussels. Currently Lisa is a Museums Victoria 1854 Scholar undertaking a research project within Australian museums and public institution archives.
Kim Kruger is a lecturer and researcher with Moondani Balluk Academic Unit at Victoria University and an Associate Researcher for ARC Future Fellows, Dr Tracey Banivanua Mar (LaTrobe University) and Dr Kalissa Alexeyeff (University of Melbourne) with their projects ‘Melbourne in the Pacific’, and ‘Labour Circuits in the South Pacific’. She thanks the Aunts of Aboriginal Fitzroy and her family for her education and her Blak powered heart.
Abdul Hammoud is a spoken word artist based in Melbourne by way of Lebanon, a country that he is still captivated by and connects to. He teaches writing classes and workshops for schools and organisations that are looking to explore new avenues of expression. His art has taken him as close as New Zealand and as far as the United States, as well as to his beloved home country. In 2013, he became founder of The Dirty Thirty online writing platform, an ever-growing group for writers to challenge themselves every April. He is now also editor and compiler of The Dirty Thirty Anthology, an annual collection of poetry from the page he coordinates. Most of Hammoud’s work revolves around current issues including the constant state of war in the Middle East, racial divides, as well as the portrayal of masculinity. He is also a full time student and an avid purveyor of starting books but not finishing them.
Timothy Johannessen is a Melbourne-based musician, researcher, writer and teacher whose artistic and theoretical pursuits have been largely guided, in recent years, by a deep interest in the musical and philosophical traditions of Iran. In the last decade, he has undertaken lengthy individual and formal study of Iranian music and musical instruments including the Daf, Setar, Robab and Kamanche, and has performed across Australia as a soloist and with various Persian music groups including the Melbourne-based Mehr Ensemble. He is currently completing a PhD in the area of Graeco-Arabic philosophy at the University of Melbourne, and recently began working as a translator of Persian texts.