The Board 2021 – 2022
(as at the Annual General Meeting held on the 31 August 2021)
Julia Leu – President
2020 – current
Julia Leu is a local council veteran with over 26 years’ experience and was Mayor of the Douglas Shire Council from 2014 until March 2020, following 6 years as an independent Councillor with Cairns Regional Council. During that time she was involved with numerous innovative and creative local arts and cultural projects. Julia has been involved in Arts Nexus since its inception, as a founding member and encouraged Douglas to be the first Council to officially sign up. As a Community Development Officer, she was involved in establishing the Mossman Douglas Arts Base and was the Regional Arts Development Fund Liaison Officer. Julia also has over 10 years’ experience working in the federal public sector, across diverse communities in Cape York and the Torres Strait, including senior roles in community services and Indigenous education. A passionate advocate for regional communities, Indigenous enterprise, environmental, cultural and social sustainability, Julia values cultural diversity, heritage and inclusiveness.
Julia holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diplomas in Education and Communication (Film & TV Production). Currently State Library Board of Queensland member and the Chair of the Public Library Advisory Group and a former director of the Australian Coastal Councils Association, Wet Tropics Management Authority, Regional Development Australia, Far North Queensland and Torres Strait Inc, Terrain NRM and the Northern Alliance of Councils Inc.
Diane Forsyth – Vice President
2012 – current
Diane Forsyth has a background in the Community Sector as a Psychotherapist. Diane has vast experiences working with at risk and disadvantaged people, owned and managed her own business and recently as an elected representative in Local Government Cairns Regional Council (2008-12) where she was able to influence and support new and innovative creative projects representing $150 million cultural entertainment precinct.
Diane is active on many Boards and Councils of non-Government organisations and a board member on the Cairns Regional Art Gallery for many years. Diane remains committed to the principles of the organisation and supporting sustainable environments and appropriate tropical development with a vibrant and creative arts cultural heart in Cairns.
Suzanne (Sue) Shannon
February 2018 – current
Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Arts from Sydney University, N.S.W ; a Bachelor of Social Administration (Social Work) from Flinders University, S.A and a Diploma of Fine Art from the North Adelaide School of Art, S.A. Before retiring as a social worker she worked in mental health in S.A, N.S.W and Qld. – most recently for the Innisfail Community Mental Health Service.
She has lived in FNQ since 1995, first in Cairns and then in the Cassowary Coast Region, living in Mission Beach and farming at Bilyana since 1998. Suzanne is a practicing visual artist in the mediums of acrylic painting and textiles. She was a founding member of the Mission Beach Artists and Craftworkers Association Inc. (MBACA) in 1998.
The MBACA was formed to link and support local artists in Mission Beach and surrounding areas and to provide a sales outlet for their work. The Mission Beach Community Arts Centre Inc. (Mission Arts) succeeded MBACA opening in 2011. Suzanne was successful with two others in applying to the Gillard Government, under their Stimulus Package, for funding to design and build Mission Arts at MARCS Park, Mission Beach, and to Blueprint for the Bush for funding to equip the new not for profit community arts centre. She was on the executives of MBCAC and Mission Arts from 1999 to 2018, acting as Secretary for most of these terms, also on exhibition committees, planning the annual calendar of exhibitions, as a curator of several exhibitions and writing funding applications. Sue continues to be passionate about the role of the arts in regional communities.
July 2019 – current
Dylan holds a Bachelor of Laws from James Cook University and is a partner at local law firm O’Connor Law. A Cairns local having lived in Cairns since 1995, completing both his schooling and university in Cairns. Dylan is an active member of a number of community based organisations and boards including:
- President of the Far North Queensland law Association;
- Committee member of the North Queensland law Association;
- Committee member of the Queensland Law Society Early Career Lawyers;
- Honorary solicitor of the University of the Third Age; and
- Member of the Far North Queensland Youth Assistance Fund.
Dylan enjoys live music and considers watching touring artists at the Tanks is always a terrific experience. A regular goer to movie events that groups like End Credits Film Club host and visiting the various exhibitions at the Tanks and the Cairns Gallery.
“I buy a lot of art and read a lot of books so I guess you could say I am a consumer as well. My most recent purchase was a set by Mark Daniel which I want to hang in our new office when we get over there!” Dylan is passionate about the development of the arts in FNQ and believes that the local economy can be enhanced by a sustainable, productive, and focused arts industry.
March 2020 – current
Crag Carttling has a diverse practical and academic background. He has worked across not for profit, government and private sectors. Crag is passionate about work which brings together community groups with the three sectors to create value in innovative ways.
Crag has a long history of working on community projects in the arts, community development, environmental management and economic development. Crag is currently completing a double Masters in Business Administration/ Innovation and Entrepreneurship to further his ability to drive outcomes in such projects. Crag is particularly focused on sustainable enterprise development as a means to tackle wicked problems.
August 2021 – current
Ian Kuch began working as a secondary social science teacher and worked in Indigenous Communities at Mornington Island, Aurukun, Yarrabah. His work moved on to management positions with Aboriginal owned and controlled organisations in commercial and government services including CEO at EmployNet (an Aboriginal owned Job Network provider), Cairns Regional CDEP, Djumbunji Rangers, Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council, former Director of the National Native Title Council and Business Development Manager for Northern Project Contracting. During his tenure at North Qld Land Council as CEO, they achieved over 35 Native Title determinations by consent. Since 2015 Ian has been semi-retired and continues work as a consultant to Indigenous Community Organisations.
With a strong interest and long involvement in the arts sector, Ian has managed the Gunggandji Dancers, a traditional Aboriginal Dance Troupe touring widely in Australia and Internationally (Christmas Island Casino opening and Mt Hagen Sing Sing, PNG), produced and curated art exhibitions such as ‘From Within’ which showcased Aboriginal art and traditional dance from the Wet Tropics at the Pacific Hotel, Cairns in 1995. As the EO at Bama Ngappi Ngappi Aboriginal Corporation in Yarrabah in the 1990s, Ian established an arts production and commercial pottery facility, opening ‘Bama Arts & Craft’, the only Aboriginal-owned arts retail outlet in Cairns at that time.
When Governance Change Manager for the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council in 2008, Ian sourced State Government funding to stage three highly successful Alcohol Free Community Concerts in Yarrabah, featuring Shane Howard (Goanna), Neil Murray (Warrumpi Band), Joe Geia, Zennith, Black Image and local Yarrabah performers and strongly believes that an active arts program contributes greatly to the community’s social fabric and cohesiveness.
Married to Julie Haysom, an artist and illustrator, with four wonderful adult children. Julie’s grandfather, Melville Haysom, was a well-known Brisbane artist, critic and teacher who is represented in many public and private collections including the Qld Art Gallery. Ian strongly believes that accountability both to funding agencies, organisation’s members and the general community is the cornerstone of any organisation’s success.
March 2022 (coopted) – Current
Errol Neal has worked in many sectors throughout his working life. From Labourer, Baker to Dance Troupe Leader, to Mayor of Yarrabah. As the Cultural Coordinator at Bama Ngappi Ngappi Aboriginal Corporation (1996 – 2006) Errol had various positions including Performing artist, Visual artist, Dance manager and then Marketing manager. He went on to be Employment Mentor at Signature Staff (2006 – 2007), mentoring 36 Indigenous workers to support their progression to full time work through individualized pathway plans. As the Cultural Officer Menmuny Museum and Boardwalk (2008 – 2012), Errol curated exhibitions, managing cultural tours and entertained, educated and guiding visitors and school groups with cultural performances and activities. A significant moment in Errol’s career was when he became Mayor of the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council (2012 – 2016) and advocated for the initiative of a working pier in the community, that has finally come about in 2022. As a long-term active member of the North Queensland Land Council Native Title representative body, he has sat as Board member (2000 – 2011), Chairperson (2011 – 2015) and currently a Director since 2015. He was a Director of the National Native Title Council (2011 – 2015) and currently works with the national Black Arm Band Incorporated as a Cultural advisor (2014 – current). Errol’s project the “Whale Song Line Festival” initiative was funded by Arts Qld First Nations Commissioning Fund and auspiced through Arts Nexus since 2020. With a long association with the team, Errol was invited to coopt onto the board to continue to advocate for the creative, cultural community of Yarrabah.