Dr Michael Cohen, Director
Michael has over 25 years’ experience in the development and implementation of creative strategy in Australia and abroad in his roles as strategist, arts producer and practitioner. He is a highly accomplished developer of innovative, creative and compelling activation content in urban landscapes. Michael’s extensive experience in place activation and management has involved diverse urban arts activities in Australia’s leading destinations – working with partners, stakeholders and government. He works collaboratively with key stakeholders to develop world-class creative landscapes that delight and inspire, attract global attention and work within the parameters of partnerships and budget.
For eight years Michael was the Creative Producer at Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority where he led the development of major cultural initiatives and activation programme revitalization for two of Australia’s most visited destinations: Darling Harbour and The Rocks, attracting over 40million people annually. In 2016-17 he worked as Creative Producer at UrbanGrowth NSW, developing place-making strategy for urban renewal sites such as Green Square, White Bay Power Station and Parramatta North. As well as his work with City People, Michael continues to work as an artist and academic researcher.
- PhD, MA (with merit), Sydney University (Performance Studies)
Kim Spinks, Director
Kim has over 20 years experience developing and implementing arts and cultural policy for the NSW Government.
At the former Arts NSW (now Create NSW) she led the team responsible for funding arts change through strategic programs such as the Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Strategy, the Arts and Disability Partnership, Art Central, Empty Spaces program, the NSW Health and Arts Framework and the Western Sydney Arts Strategy. Her particular expertise is in working with non-arts stakeholders to deliver their policy outcomes through arts and culture. These have included local governments across the state, statutory bodies such as Western Sydney Parklands Trust, UTS and government agencies such as NSW Family and Community Services.
She is experienced in place activation having developed and led the NSW Government’s Empty Spaces program which was the original investor in Renew Newcastle and the Pop Up programs for Lismore, Gosford, Parramatta and the Rocks.
Kim is respected in the professional arts sector for her deep arts knowledge and the two decades she spent in the performing arts where she co-founded award winning Western Sydney company Urban Theatre Projects and worked with the likes of Sydney Theatre Company, The Performance Space and State Theatre Company of SA. She has published books and articles on Australian theatre, was an associate for many years with the Centre for Performance Studies at Sydney University and continues to work as a dramaturg.
- BA (HONS) Sydney
- Dip Lib UNSW
Charnelle Mondy, Associate: Education and Innovation
As a Senior Strategy Advisor, in the University of Sydney’s Strategy Portfolio Charnelle joined a newly-formed consulting team to drive an ambitious and aspirational strategic vision across the University to provide innovation in education, establish a more industry-based focus, ensure research has an impact and recruit and retain the brightest minds. Charnelle has a particular understanding of the issues and opportunities in medical and health research and education by working with the university’s largest faculty, the Faculty of Medicine and Health, to develop its strategic plan.
As Economic Strategy Manager, at the City of Sydney, Charnelle led a team of economic strategy advisors creating strategic action plans and projects in diverse areas as international education, retail, tourism and tech startups. She was also responsible for providing a detailed response to the Greater Sydney Commission’s District Plan from an economic development perspective. She represented the City on the Camperdown Ultimo Innovation Precinct committee and informed the Greater Sydney Commission’s plans on innovation districts.
Charnelle created Australia’s first comprehensive government plan to support tech entrepreneurs and the innovation ecosystem. The City of Sydney initiated this because enabling tech startups to launch and scale is essential to Australia remaining globally competitive. This involved thorough research, building relationships with people across Sydney’s ecosystem, devising and implementing pilot projects and liaising with executive and staff across City of Sydney Council to create a robust, well-resourced plan of action.
- BA (Communications), Canberra