Desart CEO appointed to Australia Council Board: media release

Mervyn Rubuntja, Walter Jugadai, Philip Watkins and Hubert Pareroultja at the 2021 Desart Art Centre Conference. Photo by Oliver Eclipse, Desart.

Desart CEO, Philip Watkins has been appointed to a three-year term on the Australia Council Board, one of five new appointments announced yesterday by Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure and the Arts The Hon. Paul Fletcher MP.

The Australia Council is the Australian Government’s principal arts investment, development and advisory body. It has a focus on increasing the visibility of Australia’s vibrant arts and culture sector. The Council is also committed to the arts being accessible to all Australians.

Of the appointment Philip said it was a great honour to be appointed, “I congratulate those board members that were re-appointed, and those new members announced yesterday and look forward to working with them to continue the important and valuable work of the Australia Council”.

Philip Watkins will bring a strong visual arts sector and governance experience to the Board.  He is also a Board member of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Deputy Chairperson of The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation and is a member of the Ministerial Creative Industries Advisory Council (NT).

“I look forward to seeing the valuable contribution these individuals will make to the Australia Council’s leadership as it continues to support the creative and cultural sector rebound from the challenges of COVID-19,” Minister Fletcher said.

Other Australia Council Board appointees are:

  • Stephen Found is a co-owner of Foundation Theatres, which operates two of Sydney’s commercial theatres, the Capitol Theatre and Sydney Lyric Theatre. He has worked in the theatre industry in Australia and internationally for over 40 years, is a former member of the Creative Partnerships Australia Board and brings strong governance and arts sector experience to the Board.
  • Marie-Louise Theile was an award-winning journalist and television presenter. She has over 20 year’s experience in print and electronic media in Australia and in New York. Ms Theile was a former Chair of the Institute of Modern Art, is the Creative Director at New Initiative and has been on the Australian Chamber Orchestra Brisbane Event Committee since 1999.
  • The Hon Donald (Don) Harwin was the NSW Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations, Aboriginal Affairs and the Arts, and a member of the NSW Legislative Council from March 1999 to March 2022. He was the Vice Patron of the Commonwealth Day Council of NSW and Board Member of the NSW State Archives and Records.
  • Alexandra (Alex) Dimos brings strong governance and executive experience to the Board. She is the Managing Director of Nunn Family Investments and the Nunn Dimos Foundation, a director on the State Theatre Company of SA Board and Foundation and an Executive Director of the Advertiser Foundation. She has a background in geology and was the Founder and Director of the environmental company, Flow Environmental Management.

Ms Tina Arena AM and Mr Leigh Carmichael have been reappointed for three-year terms, and both continue to bring extensive arts and cultural sector experience to the Board.

For more information on appointees go to: