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The Exectutive

Caroline Bowditch
Caroline Bowditch

Chief Executive Officer(CEO) / Artistic Director(AD)

After 16 years living and working in the UK, Caroline returned to Australia in July 2018 to take up the role as CEO at Arts Access Victoria. She is best known as a performer, maker, teacher, speaker, and mosquito buzzing in the ears of the arts industry in the UK and further afield.
Caroline is a regular consultant on access and inclusion internationally, and has also led international residencies in Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany. She is regularly invited to mentor local, national, and international artists at all levels of their artistic development. With the support of the Australia Council for the Arts, Caroline took part in the prestigious CEO Leadership course at Harvard Business School in 2019-2020.
Under Caroline’s leadership AAV has developed key partnerships with major arts and cultural organisations, strengthened AAV’s financial position and transformed AAV into a disability-led organization at every level of operation.

Nikki Zerella
Nikki Zerella

Deputy Chief Executive Officer(Deputy CEO) / General Manager (GM)

Nikki has a Bachelor of Applied Science, Planning and Management from the University of South Australia. She first worked in community arts at Minda Inc in Adelaide, coordinating an inclusive choir. She then co-founded Tutti, a highly esteemed inclusive multi art-form disability arts organisation, working as General Manager. In 2007, Nikki moved to Melbourne and joined the Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) team as ArtLife Coordinator. While at FCAC Nikki Worked with AAV to help develop Raw Law and ADAPT. With her extensive background in community arts and cultural development, Nikki moved to AAV as the Manager, Arts Programs in 2015.
In Nikki’s tenure at AAV, she has created Band Mates and Music Makers, bringing Music into AAV. She has started new studios focusing on young people (working with schools) and created a studio for artists with Mental health issues. She helped develop many AAV recourses for the sector and individuals. Nikki developed the structure of arts and the NDIS in AAV which has gone on to be replicated across the arts sector in Australia. Nikki has recently become the Deputy CEO and GM for AAV.

The Managers

Geoff Robinson

Manager, Art Services

Geoff Robinson is a Melbourne-based artist working on Wurundjeri country. Robinson creates site-based artworks that utilise sound, performance, and installation to unravel the durational layers of place. Recent projects include: Durational Situation / Umeälven / Birrarung (2021), Re-Think Festival,
Umeå; Tributary Project (2020-2022), Bus Projects, Melbourne; Durational Situation / Vartiovuori (2019-2020), Titanik gallery, Turku; Itinerant Sound (2015-2019), multiple sites across Australia. Robinson has held residencies and exhibited at Titanik gallery, Turku; Helsinki International Artist Programme; MoKS, Estonia; and Seoul Art Space. He was a studio recipient at Gertrude Contemporary 2004-2005; awarded the Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2014; and recently a sessional tutor in Interior Design at RMIT. In 2018 Robinson completed the PhD project Durational Situation at MADA, Monash University.
Since 2016 Robinson has worked as a Creative Producer for Arts Access Victoria. Over this time he has coordinated inclusive arts studios across Melbourne and produced a number of ambitious studio outcomes including Fortune (2017), Bowery Theatre, St Albans; Go Have a Look (2018), Kingston Arts Centre; WOWalk (2019), Bowery Theatre; and Channel Echo (2020), online.
Recently, Robinson has taken on the Manager, Arts Services position, overseeing the AAV studio and mentorship program.

Tania Smith

Manager, Arts Services Partnerships

Tania Smith is an internationally exhibited contemporary artist, mentor and arts manager. She has worked in the arts for over 20 years producing major arts events and supporting artists across a range of contexts, including local government and independent arts organisations. She exhibits regularly and often lectures on her work and contemporary arts practice in universities across Thailand and the Philippines.
Tania Smith’s role at Arts Access Victoria has included working with key partners to create accessible funding programs. These partners include Creative Victoria, the City of Melbourne, and the City of Port Phillip, including the successful Thrive Creative Grants program. Through a process of targeted and personalised support, Tania has worked with over 100 artists in the grant application process. She has successfully expanded Arts Access Victoria’s auspicing service to achieve increased financial and project support to artists in a range of career stages, from grassroots to established.

Jessica Morris-Payne

Manager, Artist Exchange

Jessica is a curator, creative producer and arts manager, working with a strong focus on equity in arts and cultural participation; and socially- and community-engaged practice. She has curated and produced artistic and participatory programs for festivals and presenters including City of Melbourne, University of Melbourne, Dancehouse, City of Stonnington, Melbourne Fringe and the flagship London 2012 Cultural Olympiad program Unlimited. Alongside working at Arts Access Victoria, Jessica is on the Board of the Melbourne Women in Film Festival and is completing postgraduate studies in Community Development.

Zahran Saheed

Manager, Finance

Zahran completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) in 2009 from LA Trobe University where he went on to work at Bluebottle Pty Ltd and then John Paxinos & Associates and in 2020 he joined the AAV team to become the Manager of Finance. Zahran’s role at AAV is to ensure that all the accounts and finances are running smoothly, this includes working with all staff and artists. Zahran works with everyone, and their access needs to ensure they understand the complicated world of finance and budgeting. Zahran has a CPA associate membership and is a Graduate member of NIA. In Zahran’s spare time he likes to play indoor soccer and cricket, hang out with his kids and cycle. Zahran is a community-minded person who regularly engages with and gives back to his community.