Arts Day on the Hill

Arts Day on the Hill is NAVA’s annual focus on national advocacy development for sustained government engagement with a long-term policy focus. 

L-R: Mish Grigor, Selena de Carvalho, Rebecca Selleck, Miranda Johnson, Esther Anatolitis, Georgia Mokak, Shaun Edwards, Nadeena Dixon, Emma Fey, Clare Armitage in the House of Representatives, Museum of Australian Democracy. Photo by Penelope Benton. 

NAVA’s Arts Day on the Hill program brings together an artist or arts workers from every state and territory to be trained in policy engagement and advocacy ahead of meetings with MPs. This will happen on the first sitting week after the winter break, each year for an initial three years. 

Our aim is to foster confident, informed advocacy by smart, connected artists and arts leaders. Not just once-off, not just in an emergency, but in an ongoing way that precludes such policy and funding emergencies. Let’s build something that lasts. 

This first program will coincide with a launch of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Contemporary Arts & Culture, a multi-party group of members and senators, Co-Chaired by John Alexander, Maria Vamvakinou and Adam Bandt. 

The eight 2019 participants are Clare Armitage (NT), Selena de Carvalho (Tas), Nadeena Dixon (NSW), Shaun Edwards (Qld), Emma Fey (SA), Mish Grigor (Vic), Miranda Johnson (WA) and Rebecca Selleck (ACT). The group is joining NAVA for back-to-back meetings with MPs, after two days of advocacy workshops at the National Gallery of Australia, the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, and Parliament House. 

Joining us for #artsdayonthehill online are All Conference, Asialink Arts, Arts Access Australia, Australian Museums & Galleries Association, Diversity Arts Australia, Live Performance Australia, Performing Arts Connections Australia and Regional Arts Australia, with expert advice from IFACCA offering an international perspective with a bird’s eye view of over 70 countries. Together, we’re going to create a critical mass of arts advocacy.

Key dates

Workshops: Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 July
Evening launch event: Tuesday 30 July
MP meetings: Wednesday 31 July and Thursday 1 August 
Arts Day on the Hill: Wednesday 31 July

Paul Fletcher, Esther Anatolitis, Maria Vamvakinou and John Alexander

Minister for the Arts, Paul Fletcher MP, Executive Director of NAVA, Esther Anatolitis, and Co-Chairs of the new Parliamentary Friendship Group for Contemporary Arts and Culture Maria Vamvakinou and John Alexander. Photo by Irene Dowdy.


On 30 July 2019, Arts Day on the Hill was launched together with the inauguration of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Contemporary Arts and Culture. The event was attended by artists, arts leaders, cultural institution directors, philanthropists and Members of Parliament, with a special focus on bold contemporary arts ideas. 

Hosted by Esther Anatolitis with Welcome to Country by Aunty Matilda House; and guest speakers Co-Chairs of the new Parliamentary Friendship Group for Contemporary Arts and Culture Maria Vamvakinou MP and John Alexander MP; Shadow Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke MP; Minister for the Arts, Paul Fletcher MP.

2019 Advocates

Clare Armitage

Clare Armitage

Clare Armitage has a Bachelor of Art Theory (Hons.) from the University of New South Wales, and has a Master of Art History and Curatorial studies from the Australian National University. She has worked in commercial art galleries in Sydney, Canberra and Darwin. Clare was the inaugural Australia Council for the Arts Curatorial Fellow at the Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre in Katherine (NT), the inaugural Artback SPARK NT Curator and recently participated in the Australia Council for the Arts 2019 Venice Biennale Emerging Arts Professionals Program. She is currently the Assistant Curator of Art at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Clare is particularly interested in how curatorial work and storytelling can help us better understand our ecological and cultural heritage.

Selena de Carvalho

Selena de Carvalho

Photo by Phillip England

Selena de Carvalho is an award winning experimental artist based in Lutruwrita [Tasmania]. Her practice responds to notions of personal ecology and human interaction with the environment, often relating to the perceived consumption of wilderness and lived experiences of wildness, focusing on the core paradox of how we [humanity] yearn for the untamed, and yet in our desire to experience the wild, consciously or unconsciously seek to control it. This paradox operates as a framework for deeper inquiry within her practice, which unites numerous mediums including participatory installation, performance, workshops, sculpture, time-based media, urban hacking, print media and writing. 

Nadeena Dixon

Nadeena Dixon

Photo by James Photographic Services

Nadeena Dixon is a Gadigal, Wiradjuri, Yuin artist based in Sydney NSW. Recognised as a master weaving practitioner within Indigenous Australian textile traditions, she has a strong focus on creating fibre sculpture works, incorporating object making within Indigenous symbology reflecting Indigenous knowledge, and also works across printmaking, sculpture, film, animation and installation. Nadeena has a postgraduate degree in Indigenous Arts Management at VCA University of Melbourne, Diploma Multi-Platform Production (interactive technology), and in 2017 completed a Masters in Fine Arts at UNSW Art & Design and received an Australian Design Honours from the Australian Design Centre. Nadeena is currently on the board of Boomalli Aboriginal Arts Co-operative, one of Australia's longest running Aboriginal owned and operated art galleries. 

Shaun Edwards

Shaun Edwards

Shaun Edwards is a Kokoberrin artist from Cape York. His artworks have been widely exhibited in Australian and in prominent collections. Known for his Wild Barra Clothing company. Launching his swimwear at the Australian Indigenous Fashion Week in 2014. Wild Barra was featured in Byron Bay International Fashion Week 2018.

Emma Fey

Emma Fey

Emma Fey is the CEO of Guildhouse, South Australia’s peak body for visual artists, craftspeople and designers. Emma Fey joined Guildhouse two years ago, with a strong background in philanthropy, business development and communications in diverse sectors including the visual and performing arts, not-for-profit and education.  In that time, Guildhouse has significantly grown its membership, expanded its cultural and commercial partnerships, and expanded initiatives for artistic career development for South Australian artists including mentorships, residencies, interest free loans and the Guildhouse Fellowship. Emma holds a Graduate Diploma in Art History from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Management from the University of South Australia.

Mish Grigor

Mish Grigor

Mish Grigor is a maker, writer and performer. Using autobiographical tools, humour, and fiction, she is intent on problematising the frames of power from which art and identity emerge. Based in Melbourne since 2017, Mish has recently been announced co-director of APHIDS with Lara Thoms and Eugenia Lim.

Miranda Johnson

Miranda Johnson

Miranda Johnson graduated with a Masters (Distinction) in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths, London in 2015, and is a founding member of Cool Change Contemporary ARI. She currently works as Curatorial Assistant at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and is a regular contributor to local arts publication Seesaw Magazine.

Rebecca Selleck

Bec Selleck

Rebecca Selleck is a Canberra-based emerging artist with a focus on interactive sculpture and installation. She completed her Bachelor of Visual Arts at the ANU School of Art with First Class Honours, majoring in Sculpture and Art Theory, and also holds a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Creative Writing and Literary Studies. She uses her practice to reciprocally investigate and challenge her own perceptions within a culture of conflicting truths. Her work overlays time and place to express the need for human accountability and the painful complexity of animal and environmental ethics in Australia.


Wednesday 31 July

Arts Day on the Hill

On Wednesday 31 July 2019, we encouraged you to join #artsdayonthehill from wherever you are!

Arts Day on the Hill is a new annual focus on national advocacy that fosters effective, long-term policy outcomes for the arts. 

We need your help.  

We need you to build that critical mass on social media for much-needed national solidarity.

And we need you to be our cheer squad. It’s not going to be easy doing all those meetings! 

Download the bold Arts Day on the Hill images and use them across all your socials on Wednesday 31 July:

  • Offer some insights into your practice
  • Tell the world what's needed for a strengthened arts sector
  • Tag your local/fave MP and start a conversation, invite them to your studio or show
  • Use a friendly, positive tone that's constructive, so that we’re all reframing the national arts conversation with confidence
  • Ask those high-profile big-following people in your networks to join us!

and use #artsdayonthehill so that we can find each other. We’ll be relying on you as we dash between meetings.

NAVA acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the land where this event is taking place, the Ngunnawal people and others who traded on, travelled through and connected with this land, and continue to do so. We recognise all Custodians of Country throughout all lands, waters and territories. We pay our respects to the Elders past, present and emerging. Sovereignty was never ceded.

Maria Vamvakinou MP at Arts Day on the Hill launch

Maria Vamvakinou MP's speech, Arts Day on the Hill launch; Inauguration of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Contemporary Arts and Culture, 30 July 2019.

NAVA announces Arts Day on the Hill participants

Today NAVA announces the eight Arts Day on the Hill participants who will gather in Canberra during the Parliament’s winter sitting to set the contemporary arts agenda.

Tony Burke to artists: “We don’t just respect and appreciate what you do, we need what you do.”

The Hon Tony Burke MP's speech, Arts Day on the Hill launch & Inauguration of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Contemporary Arts and Culture, 30 July 2019.