Australian Academy of the Humanities: Academy News

Arts sector leader appointed Program Director

AAH News Media release

Experienced, energetic arts sector leader Kate Fielding appointed as Program Director for A New Approach

Arts and cultural sector leader, advocate and strategist Kate Fielding has been appointed by The Myer Foundation, Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and Keir Foundation as Program Director for A New Approach.

Kate will work with the Australian Academy of the Humanities and Newgate Communications to deliver the $1.65 million project over three years.

A New Approach will address the critical need for an informed, independent entity which has the necessary resources and public authority to advance a coherent, comprehensive policy position to help build better political and institutional settings and promote the benefits of Australia’s arts and cultural sectors as critical to our nation’s future.

“We are truly delighted to have secured someone with Kate’s skills and experience in governance, advocacy, development and innovation as Program Director,” The Myer Foundation CEO Leonard Vary said today.

“Her ability to listen, lead, create and collaborate – along with her considerable experience, energy and focus – will be central to the success of this important and exciting project.”

Kate’s experience includes:

  • Board Member of the Australia Council and Chair, Regional Arts Australia.
  • Chair, Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission and Chair and Director, Country Arts WA.
  • Extensive experience as an historian across the arts, cultural and academic sectors, including Executive Officer of the History Council of Victoria.
  • Directing and managing a range of significant arts and cultural projects in Australia and overseas.

Kate said she was thrilled to lead this ambitious program which will ensure our national conversations about arts and culture are informed by contemporary understandings of its impact.

“Arts and culture are central to the special character of everywhere I’ve lived and worked in Australia – some of our largest cities, our most remote communities and our iconic regional towns,” she said.

“With 98 per cent of Australians participating in arts and cultural activities, it’s clear that we are voting with our feet, but we need a much wider range of people – including more of our policy makers – to understand the value of Australian arts and culture and see themselves as its creators, consumers and champions.

“We are drowning in evidence of the central role that arts, culture and the creative industries play in our identity, our economic strength, our social cohesion, our innovation and our wellbeing. But we are still thirsty for broad and effective advocacy which shifts public perceptions and the policy environment.”

Mr Vary said Kate would also work to secure financial support from like-minded organisations and individuals to broaden involvement in A New Approach.

“With Kate as Program Director, we are confident that we have the foundations for a great, enduring and worthwhile project,” he said.

Kate will start on 15 January 2018 from her current base of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia before moving to Canberra, where she will be based with the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

The Myer Foundation, Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and Keir Foundation are grateful to recruitment firm Egon Zehnder, which conducted the Program Director recruitment process pro bono.

Details of A New Approach will be finalised soon by the program partners and a steering committee including representation from the arts and cultural sectors, with further announcements to be made in the near future.

A high-resolution photo of Kate Fielding is available upon request.

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact Simon Troeth, Newgate Communications – 0439 300 335 or