Industry Initiatives

CEO Digital Mentoring Program

ACMI, in conjunction with the Australia Council’s national Cultural Digital Program, will run a new pilot mentoring initiative for strategic technology and digital mentoring for cultural organisations.

The program, funded by the Ian Potter Foundation, is an investment in building the digital mindsets of the senior decision-making staff and building a sustainable network of peers within the cultural sector and across artforms and practices. Operating to build capacity, awareness, and improve the internal ability for institutions and organisations to make better long term technology choices, understand a rapidly and continually changing digital environment, and be better able to select and work with technology providers, as well as collaborate with digital creators and artists.

This pilot program is also affiliated with the Australia Council’s initiatives around digital capacity building. The Australia Council for the Arts is launching a national Cultural Digital Program aimed at supporting the transformation of the arts, cultural and creative industries digital capabilities and opportunities in Australia to secure its future as a sustainable, innovative, digitally-enabled and thriving sector.

Joining the program as mentors are sector-recognised experts in technology, digital strategy, and technology-informed innovation:

Expression of interest for mentees have now closed.

Thank you to everyone who applied. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 13th August.  

Please contact Lena O’Donnell,, if you have questions regarding the program.

Each mentee will receive four two-hour one-on-one mentoring sessions over four months. These sessions can be held over Zoom or a mix of in-person and remote sessions depending upon where participants are located and personal availability.

The program will begin with a two-day kick off workshop with all other mentees and mentors at ACMI in Melbourne. This workshop will include a number of guest speakers from adjacent fields as well as social and cultural activities.

A breakdown of the process is below:

  • Early August 2021: mentors are matched to their mentee, based on organisational goals/alignment
  • Early September 2021: ACMI host a two-day workshop in person for participants (mentors & mentees) in Melbourne
  • September – December 2021: 4 x one-on-one mentoring sessions
  • Early December 2021: Australia Council will host a closing workshop in person for participants.
ACMI CXO Seb Chan (image credit: Pete Tarasiuk, 2021, cropped from original)

Seb Chan

Seb is Chief Experience Officer at ACMI in Melbourne. He is the senior executive responsible for the Experience & Engagement division of the museum guiding teams responsible for visitor experience, marketing, brand & communication design, digital products, technology, and the museum’s collections, digitisation & digital preservation programs. After a recent $40m renewal as Australia’s national museum of screen culture, ACMI is now a multi-platform museum in the centre of Melbourne and also across the internet. Prior to ACMI, Seb led the digital renewal and transformation of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York (2011–15) and the Powerhouse Museum’s pioneering work in open access, mass collaboration and digital experience during the 2000s. His work has won awards from American Alliance of Museums, One Club, D&AD, Fast Company and Core77. He is an Adjunct Professor, School of Media and Communications, in the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT, and is an international advisory board member of Art Science Museum (Singapore), and board of the National Communications Museum (Melbourne), and National President of the Australasian Museums and Galleries Association. He is an alumni of the Getty Leadership Institute, Salzburg Global Seminar, and UNSW. He also leads a parallel life in digital art, writing, and music.

Paula Bray

Paula Bray

Paula has worked in cultural heritage institutions for over twenty years, leading the creative development of award-winning digital experiences across exhibitions and the web. She has worked at the State Library of NSW, Powerhouse Museum, Art Gallery of NSW and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Paula delivers creative, engaging and new ways to explore collections, data sets and services through digital experiences. For the last six years she has built and run The DX Lab, Australia’s first innovation lab in a cultural institution, creating experiences and partnerships with digital peers, organisations, students, researchers, artists and creative technologists. Paula has taken up a new role as the Head of Digital Engagement and Insight and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Dr Keir Winesmith

Dr. Keir Winesmith

Keir is the Tim Fairfax Head of Digital at the National Gallery in Canberra. For the previous 15 years he has been exploring new ways to use digital to connect people to culture and place. In 2020 he published The Digital Future of Museums with Dr. Suse Anderson, in 2018 he was named in Fast Company's 100 Most Creative in Business, and for 5 years from 2013 he was the Director of Digital Experience at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Dr Sarah Barns

Dr. Sarah Barns

Sarah is a strategic designer, researcher and creative producer, with a two-decade career proactively designing policies, programs and engagement strategies to nurture digital public culture, creativity and community.

A former digital strategist for the ABC's Innovation division, smart cities adviser at Data61, and futures forecaster for the federal government, Sarah has also pioneered international research on platform service models and their influence across urban culture and society. Her book Platform Urbanism: Negotiating Platform Ecosystems for Connected Cities was published by Palgrave in 2020, and offers new insights to global urban leaders about the relationship between cities and technology in an increasingly data-driven world. As Director of Esem Projects Sarah creates immersive and experiential programming for shared public spaces, and in 2020 launched Storybox.Co to reimagine outdoor media for public good.

Stuart Buchanan

Stuart Buchanan

Stuart is responsible for leading and curating the Opera House’s year-round digital program, delivering some of its most impactful and viewed online events.

As a senior arts professional in digital strategy and content, Stuart’s passion lies at the intersection of art, technology and media. He has worked with companies such as ABC, Art Gallery of NSW, AFTRS, Biennale of Sydney, Disney, Edinburgh Fringe, The Guardian, MONA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Mute Records, Royal Court Theatre and SBS, and co-founded the award-winning digital cultural agency The Nest.

Stuart has also worked as a broadcaster and producer, presenting radio programs and podcasts on ABC’s Double J, FBi Radio and UK station Resonance FM. His curatorial projects include the renowned New Weird Australia initiative and guest programming roles at a number of events and festivals. Stuart was Executive Producer of the inaugural Creative Sydney Festival in 2009 (now known as Vivid Ideas), Chair of Underbelly Arts Festival from 2013-2016, and is currently a Board Member of FBi Radio.

George Dunford

George Dunford

George has worked in digital leadership roles in the cultural sector for more than 10 years including at the National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia, the Wheeler Centre and RMIT University.

At the National Library, he was part of the National and State Libraries of Australasia Digital Skills Working Group which looked at upskilling staff to meet the challenges of digital.

As a freelance writer has written for Meanjin, The Big Issue, Lonely Planet, The Good Food Guide and others.

He is currently Content Director at ArtsHub and Screenhub, where he hosts the monthly ArtsHubbub podcast looking at the arts sector. He has collaborated with Creative Victoria to produce a series of videos to develop the digital skills of artists and the Recovery Roadmap webinar series looking at how cultural organisations are adapting with COVID-19.

Joining the program as mentees for our pilot round are: