Skip to main content

Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board

The Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board (TAAB) was established under the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board Act (1975) to provide policy and funding advice to the State Government.

The Board comprises members from various sectors of the arts and the wider community, appointed by the Minister for the Arts. The Board provides advice to the Minister through recommendations for the expenditure of the annual arts grant and loan allocations.

Board updates

See the TAAB Board Updates page.


A robust, diverse, vibrant arts sector in Tasmania which is valued by Tasmanians and which is nationally and internationally recognised.


Through Arts Tasmania's grant funding programs, the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board strives to support, facilitate, advocate and enable creativity, diversity, cultural excellence and quality arts practice in Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board acts as an advocate for the arts and cultural sector and provides broad policy advice on arts industry issues to Government.


The Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board will support activities which demonstrate excellence; which nurture talent across the span of careers; and which express the unique perspectives of Tasmanian artists in a global context.


  • To support and develop the skills, potential and viability of our artistic talent and product; and support and strengthen the management of our arts organisations.
  • To broker opportunities for the arts by leveraging Tasmania's unique identity.
  • To increase accessibility, engagement and participation in arts and cultural activities.
  • To increase the cultural and economic value of the arts to the Tasmanian community and strengthen the connections between artists, arts organisations, business and the broader community.

Board members

The members of the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board are listed below:

Nicholas Heyward


Nicholas Heyward is Managing Director of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since October 2001. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Tasmania and has worked in management roles in major performing arts organisations in Australia and the United Kingdom before becoming CEO of the Brisbane Biennial International Festival of Music and CEO of the Adelaide Festival of Arts. He is Chairman of Symphony Services International, a Director of Arts Management Tasmania Pty Ltd, a Member of the Theatre Royal Management Board and a Member of the ANZAC Centenary Arts Advisory Committee.

Emma Bennison


Emma Bennison is a singer/song-writer whose work traverses a range of musical styles and genres. Emma has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Queensland and has received several Trinity College awards for piano. She has performed at various national and international festivals and is also an arranger and choral conductor specialising in acapella music, and released an album in 2014.

Emma is Executive Officer for Blind Citizens Australia. Emma has been blind from birth.

Felicity Bott


Felicity is the Artistic Director of Tasdance. She has worked in professional contemporary dance since 1989 as company dancer, independent artist, commissioned choreographer, Artistic Director and CEO. Prior to moving to Tasmania Felicity was the Artistic Director of Ausdance WA from 2013-15 and Artistic Director of Buzz Dance Theatre from 2003-09.

Felicity has been the recipient of numerous national nominations including six Helpmann award nominations and an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance Education. She is a 2007/8 Churchill Fellow and in 2009 was the recipient of the Department of Culture and the Arts’ Creative Development Fellowship in Western Australia.

Tim Bullard


Tim Bullard is the Deputy Secretary (Policy) at the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPAC). Tim holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Sociology and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Tasmania. He has extensive experience in the public sector, having worked with DPAC for over ten years in various different roles. Tim notes his professional interests as policy development, development of legislation and intergovernmental relations.

Michelle Forbes


Michelle is the General Manager of the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra. She has worked predominantly in music, holding roles as Artist Liaison for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Operations Manager of Melbourne's iconic Matt Irwin Photography and as Manager of Artistic Planning and Education at Melbourne Youth Music. Both parents being educators, Michelle is naturally drawn to nurturing others and supporting the development of tomorrow's musicians and leaders.

Michelle is a trained oboist and holds a Bachelor of Music (performance) from the University of Sydney. She specialises in classical performance and has performed across the country and on multiple international tours in Europe.

Dane Hunnerup


Dane Hunnerup is the Arts and Events Officer with the Clarence City Council whose unit is responsible for coordinating the municipality's major events. He also programs the music and performance art components at the Rosny Farm. A project manager for the Falls Festival in Marion Bay as well as a DJ and musician in his own right, Dane was previously the founding Program Officer at Contemporary Music Tasmania. Prior to that he worked for Arts Tasmania to deliver two of the Amplified festivals.

Mary Scott


Mary Scott is Senior Lecturer and Head of Drawing at the Tasmanian College of the Arts, University of Tasmania. She also coordinates the unit Specialised Methods in Creative Arts Research as part of University's Graduate Certificate in Research. Ms Scott exhibits her artwork widely, her work is referenced in numerous professional texts and catalogues and is included in significant public and private collections. In 2010 she was recipient of Rising Stars Research Grant, University of Tasmania and since 2000 has been awarded five University of Tasmania Teaching Merit Certificates, a Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning (2008) and Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (2008).

Dianne Sheehan


Dianne is the Education and Public Programs Officer at the Devonport Regional Gallery. She holds a Bachelor and Masters of Contemporary Art, majoring in Music, from the University of Tasmania. She has a Postgraduate Diploma in community development from Murdoch University in Western Australia. Dianne has worked in numerous important positions in the arts in Tasmania, Western Australia and New South Wales. Such roles include Project Officer of Young People and the Arts for the WA Government’s Department of Culture and the Arts, and Partnership and Development officer for the city of Wanneroo in Western Australia. Dianne has also worked as a private music tutor since 2006 and lectured at the University of Tasmania from February 2006 to August 2007.

Toni Sheldon


Toni Sheldon has held positions in both Commonwealth and State Departments facilitating employment opportunities for the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. She is a past North West Coast Regional Counsellor for Tasmanian Regional Aboriginal Council (TRAC), and a past member of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, the Six Rivers Aboriginal Corporation, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Education Association. During her tenure at TRAC she assessed and evaluated funding submissions under discretionary funding allocated by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).

Toni is Chair of the Aboriginal Arts Advisory Committee, a committee of which she had been a member since 2012. She has a broad knowledge of arts and culture and an understanding of the importance of supporting the continuation of Aboriginal cultural practices.

Simon Spain


Simon has had an extensive history working in the arts in the UK, Ireland and Australia. He currently manages a residency program he initiated with his wife, Victoria Ryle, called ALL THAT WE ARE just outside Hobart. This program utilises his extensive experience in the arts, education and community driven projects and includes a venue for retreats, creative practice, learning exchanges and consultancy.

Simon trained as a printmaker in the UK before moving to Australia in 2003 to become the the Founding Creative Producer for ArtPlay and Signal, arts centres for children, families and young people in the heart of Melbourne. He completed a Masters in Social Investment and Philanthropy in 2015 and is currently a practice-based PhD candidate at RMIT in Melbourne with a focus on the transformative power of creative social practice. Simon combines a social and studio practice and shows his work regularly.

Carol Whish-Wilson


Carol Whish-Wilson is an arts business consultant and previous Acting Director of ArtsWA. Carol is an ongoing workshop presenter with Creative Partnerships Australia, and is working with DADAA Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts on a project basis.

Ms Whish-Wilson was an immediate past member of Arts Tasmania's Arts & Disability Panel.

Panels and committees

The Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board (TAAB) seeks input to its assessment process from specialist peers on panels appointed by the Minister.

The TAAB operates on two inter-related principles: arm's length funding and peer-group assessment and decision making.

The arm's length funding principle refers to the TAAB maintaining a distance from the day-to-day business of government. This goes hand in hand with the principle of peer-group assessment and decision making. The Board, its Panel and Committees form an independent body from the artists and arts organisations that they assist, comprised of people with relevant knowledge or experience for deciding how support should be given.

The majority of panel members are practising artists or arts workers or have practised in the arts. This means that they bring practical knowledge and experience of their artforms to the Board. Members who are not practising artists but are community representatives or who have expertise in areas identified as relevant also contribute their knowledge.

You can find the members of the panels and advisory groups here:

Nominating for the Board and its Panels

The Minister for the Arts encourages you to self-nominate or to nominate others to the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board and its Panels. Board and Panel members are in the unique position of providing policy advice and funding recommendations to the Minister and play an instrumental role in helping to shape the arts in Tasmania.

Whilst nomination does not guarantee a position all nominations are considered. The Minister for the Arts is responsible for all appointments.

TAAB Nomination Form - MS Word 223 KB