Liz Millman, Chair
Liz Millman is an experienced early years education and adult literacy specialist, with a specific interest in promoting recognition and respect for all languages. Liz has held senior management roles in both schools and colleges, as well as working with Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) in England, undertaking inspection of Early Years Training and other areas of study. Currently Liz is CEO for UK based social enterprise she established called Learning Links International. This is a registered community interest company and runs a variety of cultural projects in the UK. Liz also manages a charity set up to support educational links between UK and Jamaica, successfully campaigning to get recognition of Jamaican as a language, working with the University of the West Indies.
Liz was introduced to Penne Thornton in 2011 to get local support for a presentation being made at the World Parliament of Religions held in Melbourne by Jamaican Rastafarian, Yasus Afari. Since then they have continued to explore mutual links and interests, and together identified an under researched area of support needed for families whose generations speak different languages. In 2016 they founded Family Heritage Languages. Liz believes strongly in the importance of helping young children to recognise value their family language heritage, as well as finding effective everyday ways that parents and grandparents can use to support children in their families.
Anita Larkin, Vice Chair
Anita is a skilled and experienced cultural development worker, event/ project manager and creative with almost 20 years’ experience. She started her career as a pianist (Assoc Dip of Music, AMEB) and percussionist performing with numerous bands including international touring act Unified Gecko and teaching percussion. Since 2004, she has been employed at Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV) and has worked on countless projects across cultures and genres from music, to film, to spoken word and poetry, visual arts, theatre, multimedia and community arts. In 2007-8 Anita was awarded the George Fairfax Scholarship in Arts & Entertainment Management at Deakin University and in 2012 was appointed the role of Artistic Program Manager at MAV. For the past 5 years she have been living regionally and is currently employed by Winton Wetlands and Multicultural Arts Victoria as a Creative Producer. During this time she has also taken cultural development roles in local government and has been active in developing an Indigenous cultural network in Benalla alongside traditional owners.
Makot Wol, Treasurer
Makot is currently the Youth Project Worker with the Community Development team at Diversitat, in Geelong Victoria and works with newly arrived young people from refugee backgrounds. Makot has received the Yarra Young Citizen of the Year award for his work as a youth mentor in Melbourne and has been involved with establishing many successful youth programs in Melbourne and Geelong. He is also a performer, presenter, educator and host for events. Makot is a South Sudanese man of the Dinka tribe and native speaker of Dinka and Swahili having grown up in South Sudan and Kenya.
Penne Thornton, Director/Secretary
Penne is cofounder of the organisation and has professional background in cultural development as a youth project/events manager and educator. Originally beginning in theatre, radio and film she took her passion for storytelling and culture into her project work with young people and communities of CALD backgrounds. Penne has successfully created and delivered many artistic projects through her work as youth project manager with Multicultural Arts Victoria and Youthworx Media spanning music, film and creative arts. She produced and presented a global and indigenous cultural music and interests radio program on Melbourne community radio PBSfm. She has been a small business owner, partnering with a small women’s business in Kenya.
David Wardell, Board Member
David Wardell is a Bangkok based filmmaker and photographer. Currently the Senior Multimedia Producer at Save the Children Australia he specialises in producing video and imagery from humanitarian disasters and long term development programs. Previously he has worked as a producer for ‘The Project’ news and current affairs program, a documentary maker in Australian indigenous communities, South East Asia and the Middle East, and is a contributing video correspondent for VPRO Netherlands TV and Getty Images. His work has been broadcast on National Geographic, ABC Australia, VPRO Netherlands and the BBC.
Jess Fairfax, Board Member
Jess Fairfax is an experienced event and project producer, radio maker, presenter, musician, poet and educator. Since 2011, Jess has worked as a producer and curator at Multicultural Arts Victoria, coordinating the Emerge Festival, Common Ground: an inter-faith spoken word project and the Visible Music Mentoring Program. She devised ReMastered Myths a creative development program that brings together producers and artists from diverse musical and cultural backgrounds to create new works and programmed the Visible Music Sessions at the Melbourne Festival Hub in both 2014 and 2015. Jess co-presents and produces All Our Stories on Melbourne’s PBSfm and in 2015 she was selected as one of 12 emerging producers to be part of the National Features and Documentary Series run by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia.