The arts bureaucracy is a big machine with many moving parts.

At the Australia Council, the arrival of CEO Kathy Keele has seen several senior staff leave the premises. She’s hoping to find two new Execs for her top team. A new Executive Director of Major Performing Arts is likely to create a knock-on vacancy elsewhere in the sector; but there’s also the chronically painful job of heading up Finance and Corporate Services.

Applicants might come from the Australian Film TV and Radio School, where incomer Sandra Levy used her first month as CEO to slice and dice the school’s structure. Reporting lines have been unplugged and reconnected, and the opaquely titled “Head of Research and Education” appeared in last Saturday’s job ads. Industry veteran Andy Lloyd James (currently Head of the Centre for Screen Studies and Research) has already announced he’ll be leaving.

Down the M4, DCITA (Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) Deputy Secretary Lynn Bean’s job has been up for grabs. Bean, who has been acting in the role — fuelling rumour that someone else was being sought to fill it permanently — has been part of DCITA since the 90s. Perhaps someone wants a Howard era team in place before the election. With a stint in former Minister Kemp’s office on her CV, Bean may have earned herself a Teflon coat. The job of Chief General Manager of Arts and Sport is also being filled.

Minister George Brandis went without an arts advisor for his first few months in the portfolio and the one he finally got has just taken maternity leave. Her replacement is Stephen Arnott from DCITA, a seasoned arts policy wonk who might neutralise the normal creative friction between Ministerial and Departmental staff.

In NSW Arts, the biggest vacancy is at the Opera House, but two less glamorous roles: Powerhouse Museum Director and CFO are also on the market. Headhunters should be doing an international search – years of funding cuts would deter informed Australians from either job. Former Director Kevin Fewster has gone to the Old Dart to run Greenwich’s National Maritime Museum.

Acting Director Jennifer Sanders was passed over last time the Powerhouse came up and she’s no doubt one of the hopefuls, but the best local prospect probably sits at a desk in College St.

On the other side of Hyde Park, long serving Deputy Director-General of Arts NSW, Jennifer Lindsay is packing it in. Lindsay, a protégé of super-long-life arts supremo Evan Williams — who had the job for over twenty years — has worked for Arts Ministers including Wran, Carr, and Debus, but Sartor has finished her off. Her boss, Bob Adby is also said to be leaving later in the year.

Finally, the tragedy that befell the Sydney Dance Company last week will have repercussions on an (as yet unannounced) Executive Director designate. As part of the regime change following Graeme Murphy’s (long awaited by some) departure, the Board had selected a new ED and will have done so with the late Tanja Liedtke’s preferences in mind.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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