Change in makeup of arts organization boards

Posted on: June 18, 2009

In Saturday’s (6/13) The Age (Melbourne, Australia), Raymond Gill writes, “WANTED: Women under 50 with an interest in the arts and a desire to ‘give back’ to the community to join the boards of the nation’s arts companies. Oh, and while handing over wads of your cash to said company will be happily accepted, it’s no longer a precondition of your appointment. There’s a generational and gender change slowly sweeping across the boards of Australia’s major arts bodies. … There is a new rigour applied to how boards choose their members for these time-consuming, non-paying positions. … Over at the Malthouse Theatre in Southbank, four of its nine board members are women, with the latest recruit Thea Snow, a 26-year-old lawyer with the Department of Premier and Cabinet. She also happens to be the granddaughter of billionaire retailer Marc Besen, though Malthouse chairman Simon Westcott, 44, stresses that was not a motivation for inviting her on the board. ‘Gender mix is absolutely what we want but it doesn’t need to be exactly 50:50,’ says Westcott. ‘We needed someone with a legal mind but also someone who reflected our audience age more directly. Already she’s made a big difference to our board.’ ”

Posted June 18, 2009