Meet Ash - Our Cool, Calm and Collected Community Engagement Manager for Melbourne Pride
Born into a theatre family, Ash has grown up with the arts in her veins. With a severe case of wanderlust, Ash is in her element when visiting a new place or on a sweet road trip. Paired with a desire to help people bring their ideas to life, it's the perfect match really for managing our Regional Activations across the entire state for Melbourne Pride.
Meet Ash - Melbourne Pride Community Engagement Manger
Q: What drew you to working in the arts industry?
I grew up in amateur theatre where everyone was working together to put on shows. Sometimes my Gran would direct, my Aunty would Music Direct, Mum on Choreography and Dad on Lights and Sound. I was born into it, and just kept doing things I loved and kept taking every opportunity presented to me. I knew I wanted to work in the arts industry, I just didn’t know where. I’ve been very lucky to have some exceptional female mentors over the last 20 years and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their guidance.
Q: Where is your favourite place in the world?
Honestly, anywhere I haven’t been. I’ve toured around Australia many times for work and travelled overseas and feel most comfortable walking around a brand-new place. Exploring, learning, connecting and eating!!! I think there is something special about seeing something for the first time, the sights, the smells, the sounds, you can’t replicate it.
Although... standing at the top of Mt Vesuvius was pretty rad!
Q: What area of your work are you most passionate about?
I get the most job satisfaction out of helping people bring their ideas to life. I get a kick out of working together with people of all levels of experience to bring an idea or project to life and feel most accomplished when I can teach someone a new skill or strategy. Although I focus a lot in the here and now, I always have one foot firmly in the legacy camp, ensuring I leave people and places better than when I found them.
Q: What do you think sets Midsumma apart from the other places you’ve worked?
Honestly, I think it’s the least siloed office I’ve ever worked in. It’s not a very big team which helps, but the team culture and level of collaboration and helping each other out is pretty exceptional.
Q: What is the future of queer arts and culture?
I think we’ve made some cracks in mainstream culture in some areas of the community, in the arts, in media, online. I want to see those cracks turn into chasms. Less Queerbating, more displays of LGBTQIA+ people just existing, being their boss selves and not part of a traumatic tumultuous storyline. Though it’s important not to lose safe places and spaces for focusing in on the community. It would be a dream to see year-round queer arts and culture, not bound to a week here, a month there, but integrated programming year-round with diverse audiences.
Q: Best festival experience?
I moved to Melbourne in 2010 and worked on my first Midsumma Festival in 2011 on Carnival and T Dance. I was 22 and hadn’t really experienced anything like it. I found it to be such an energising experience surrounded by thousands of people being given the space and time to simply be themselves. It was a celebration and it felt like it was just for me. Being part of the team certainly helped me come into my queerness. Also, as a bonus, I met so many of my chosen Melbourne family on and around that event.
Q: What gets you out of bed on a Sunday morning?
A hot coffee, a blue sky, road trip or an ocean swim.
Find out more about Ash on LinkedIn