This talk is presented by
Anna Higgs is a creative leader working at the forefront of storytelling and audiences.
As Head of Entertainment Media Partnerships for Northern Europe at Facebook, Anna leads a team partnering with producers, music artists, creators and public figures to help connect great work with the right audiences. Because side hustles are all the rage, Anna is also a columnist for Creative Review, specialising in career coaching advice for creatives with the ‘Ask Anna’ monthly feature and is Deputy Chair of the BAFTA Film Committee.
Before joining Facebook Anna was Creative Director at global culture channel NOWNESS, bringing the best emerging and established filmmakers together with bold audience strategies. During her time there, she developed, commissioned, produced and distributed dozens of series, hundreds of single films and curated thousands of acquired short films. She also spearheaded a move to 50/50 gender balanced commissioning across all films, winning a Webby Award for Best Cultural Site along the way.
Prior to NOWNESS, she was a commissioner and Head of Digital at Film4, leading cinematic innovation with projects including Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s 20,000 Days on Earth, Ken Loach’s The Spirit of ’45 and Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank. This move built on a strong track record as an independent producer working across film, TV and digital projects.
Anna’s work has seen her named as one Creative Review's ‘Creative Leaders 50’, alongside the likes of Felix Barret, Gorillaz and Maria Balshaw. In 2012 she was selected as one of the inaugural Time Out ‘Culture 100’, a celebration of the innovators, visionaries and pioneers behind what's now and what's next. A search for the most original and influential people in the UK creative and media industries alongside creative innovators such as Danny Boyle, Stella McCartney, Grayson Perry, Jonathan Ive, Zadie Smith, Thomas Heatherwick and Alan Rusbridger.
Jess was the founding director of Vivid Ideas, Australia's largest creative industries event, and has curated creative sector events including Junket, TEDxSydney and Curating Participation. As a knowledge exchange strategist, Jess is a founding contributor to the Sydney Culture Network, launching in late 2017. She is an advocate for the knowledge economy, creative and cultural sector, and encouraging participation in politics, creativity and enlivening our public realm. As a public art curator, her projects included Green Square Library and Plaza. She has served as an arts policy advisor and strategist, directed the Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards and the Creative Cities East Asia project, and began her career as editor of a number of creative industries publications including Yen, Empty and Hotpress. Jess is passionate about cities and city-making, and in 2016 was elected as a Councillor for the City of Sydney.
Current Arts Council England Visual Arts Director Julie Lomax has been appointed the equivalent role at the Australia Council for the Arts. Lomax is prominently known for her role as one of the commissioners of the Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth project which has seen to date such works as Marc Quinn’s Alison Lapper Pregnant, Anthony Gormley’s One and Other, and currently Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle. Lomax originally trained as an artist, graduating from Chelsea School of Art in 1987, before pursuing a career in arts management.
Julie Finch is now the Project Director for the New Museum Project for the Western Australian Museum; she commenced her post in January this year. Prior to this she worked in Bristol, UK as Director of Museums, Galleries and Archives for Bristol until December 2013. This is a museum service that attracted over 1.2 million visitors per annum, consists of nine venues and universal museum collections of over 3 million objects.
Whilst in the UK, she was a local, regional and national ambassador for culture, with a strong commitment to audiences, public programmes, enterprise development placing the visitor experience at the heart of the organisation. Julie was a committee member for the South West Heritage Lottery Fund in the UK. She was also a National Board Member for Arts Council England. In December 2012 she gained a Masters in Business Administration, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Heritage Studies, First Class Honours degree from the University of Hull and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester, UK.
Julie's career also encompasses the complete development of M Shed, the new museum for Bristol, which opened in 2011 receiving 750,000 visitors in its first and subsequent years of opening. Prior to that, Julie was Director of the National Football Museum, Manchester, Manager of Salford Heritage Services and Principle Keeper of the Usher Art Gallery, Lincoln.