Creative Team

 

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Toby Finlayson
CEO/Creative Director/Co-Founder

Co-founder of Desert Pea Media, Toby has been working in remote Indigenous communities around Australia and the world since 2003.

Toby trained in Thailand with acclaimed CCD organization The Makhampom Foundation in 2003 and completed a BA Communications in Theatre & Media in 2004. Toby co-ordinated art programs in Sri Lankan tsunami refugee camps in 2005.

Toby's commitment to the cause has seen him dedicate his adult working life to Desert Pea Media, delivering a host of Indigenous media programs, effecting real lasting change for young Original Nations' peoples, touching the lives of a generation of disenfranchised Indigenous youth and giving them a voice... a bridge to a positive future.

He continues to direct and facilitate programs today.

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Matthew Priestley
Cultural Consultant/Co-Founder

Co-founder of Desert Pea Media, Matt is a proud Mehi Murri man from Moree, NSW, a member of the Terry Hie Hie clan of the Gomilaroi Nation.

Matt has a long history of working with  contemporary and traditional Indigenous media.

Matt was principal artist of CCD organisation BigHart (1989-99) and AFI Laureat for his short film Hurt in 1991.

Acclaimed in both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous arts industry as a traditional and visual artist, Matt works across media platforms to communicate a powerful message of Indigenous cultural sustainability and development. He sees education as an important tool for empowerment and self-determination. 

Matt is a visual artist, film maker, traditional dancer, song writer and theatre-maker.

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Rachel Rowe
Business Manager/Marketing

Rachel is a highly motivated creative leader, with a proven track record, over 20 years, of innovative solutions in arts management, the creative industries, media and marketing.

Rachel cut her teeth at The Prince’s Trust and Saatchi & Saatchi in London, UK. After her move to Australia in 2001, Rachel spent ten years at the helm of sustainable eco trailblazer Bird Textile growing a grass roots operation into an internationally renowned creative eco business. In the last few years, Rachel has augmented her reputation as a dynamic creative producer at arts management & marketing consultancy wordonthebird. 

Rachel’s work choices have always been about promoting diversity and fostering social change through community and culture. She believes wholeheartedly in communication through the arts and brings this passion to DPM HQ.

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Josh Nicholas
Mentor/Music Producer

Josh is one of Sydney’s most innovative urban music producers. At age 23 he has already released an album, two EP’s and numerous singles under his artist name Hazy.

Of Maori blood himself, Josh has a keen interest in Indigenous rights. His beats and production have formed the basis of an impressive catalogue of music video filmed and recorded on country. His work with DPM is a testament to his empathy with young Indigenous kids and reflects his deep desire to empower and inspire them through music, reinforcing pride in themselves and their culture.

Josh has establishing himself as an artist in his own right collaborating with artists from a diverse range of genres from electronic, to Hip Hop/Rap, EDM and urban fusion.

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Warren Roberts
Facilitator

Warren Roberts is a proud Thunghutti and Bundjalung man.

Warren has extensive experience working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities having worked for NGO's and universities, as well as local, state and federal government.

Warren founded YARN Australia in 2007. YARN Australia believes that through the power of a story, along with a respectful space, meaningful relationships can be built at both personal and the collective level. YARN Australia is focused on uniting Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians. By promoting a message of cultural unity, Warren hopes to replace the habits and fears of the past with the opportunities of a united future.

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Michael Graham
Co-Writer/Mentor/Facilitator

Michael (Mick) is a Kamileroi man, from Collarenebri, NSW. Mick began his relationship with Desert Pea Media in 2010, as a participant in a DPM song writing project. He performed as the front man for The Colli Crew at the 2011 ARIA Awards at the Sydney Opera House, at the 2012 Yabun Festival in Sydney, the 2013 Indigenous All-Stars NRL Game in The Gold Coast and the 2013 NAIDOC Ball.

In 2015 Mick released his debut EP under the name of MC Boomalli. In 2017 he was awarded a Young Regional Artists Scholarship with DPM by Create NSW.

Mick is currently working with DPM Music Producer Josh Nicholas on his debut album (due out in 2019).

 

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Grace Newell
Production Coordinator/Photographer

Grace is a creative, up and coming photographer from Central West NSW. Spending time working with production companies and photographers in New York in 2014, she developed a strong work ethic and a passion for working in the creative industries.

In 2015 Grace returned to Australia to study Art History and Photography at UNSW Art and Design and began exploring an interest in documentary photography, fine art portraits and music events.

Grace really enjoys working with young people and communities, helping to create platforms for them to tell their stories and sharing with them her love for both music and photography.

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Declan Furber-Gillick
Writer/Mentor/Facilitator

Declan is a multi-disciplinary artist and musician working in theatre, performance prose and Hip-Hop. He was born in Mparntwe on Arrernte country and lives in Footscray on Wurundjeri country. He has worked as a teacher, an intercultural educator, Aboriginal Legal Support Officer, court staffer and now freelances as an artist, writer and teacher.

Declan completed a Masters in Writing for Performance at Victorian College of the Arts in 2017 and had his first play, The Great Emu War, staged for reading with the Melbourne Theatre Company, where he is currently a writer in residence. He developed a one-man show, Bighouse Dreaming, for Melbourne Fringe 2018 as part of the their Deadly Fringe program.

Declan is an Arrernte Sovereign National.

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Coedie McCarthy
Co-Writer/Facilitator

Coedie's name means 'The boy of many colours who came in the falling rain'. Coedie's people are the Yidinji and Bar Barrum people of North QLD. 

With 10 years of traditional dancing,  a Cert III in Music and a Bachelor of Music Production, his quest is to bring the old ways of his ancestors into the new age. Coedie is a multi-talented visionary who is pushing boundaries. His tribe Indigenoise have wowed audiences as diverse as Investing For Good Conference, Sydney to Burning Man Festival, USA.

Coedie is an artist, musician, filmmaker, editor, presenter, songwriter, producer, traditional/ modern dancer, mentor and cultural ambassador.

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Genevieve Kaiser
Filmmaker/Editor

Genevieve is a freelance filmmaker from Sydney.

Since completing her BA in Media Arts and Production and International Studies, Genevieve has focused on working as an editor and camera operator for creative agencies around Australia. Both her short film and music video work have screened across Australia and internationally.

Now working as a director and editor, Genevieve takes enormous pleasure in her work with Desert Pea Media. She values the opportunity to use film for social good, creating impactful work and telling important stories. 

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Jannali Doncaster
Co-Writer/Trainee Facilitator

Jannali Doncaster is a proud warrior who stands with his Bundjalung nation. He is of the Yaegl clan which spreads along the Clarence river to the the sea at Yamba.

Jannali has been dancing traditionally around Australia since he was 15. He has a Cert III in Music and has facilitated cultural workshops in schools, universities and festivals. He has a passion for culture for Indigenous youth and has representing his people at Burning Man Festival, USA with up-and-coming Indigenous-orientated hip-hop crew Indigenoise.

He has dedicated a significant space in his life to the oldest culture in the world and created a platform where he can share this gift with the masses.

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Belle Arnold
Projects Manager

Belle is a proud Wakka Wakka woman living and working in Byron Bay on Bundjalung Country.

Belle has diverse and extensive experience working with Aboriginal community organisations in project management, governance, cultural heritage protection and protocol.

Her work has encompassed the strategic planning, delivery and evaluation of projects working with young people, women and Aboriginal communities.

Belle is a practising multi-disciplinary artist and arts administrator working with cultural arts forms including visual arts, cultural arts and dance.

She's also a deadly dance facilitator with the Bunyarra Culture Collective and the Deadly Dancers.

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Rachel Heaton
Admin & Research Officer

Rachel supports the HQ team with her admin and research skills gained from experiences across Australia in conservation science and community development projects. 

Rachel has tertiary qualifications in science and community services.  The most recent partnership with Original Nations People of Australia was with the Widjabul-Wiyabul People of the Bundjalung Nation as the Project Manager of the Bush Tucker Living Classroom in Federal.  She also worked with the Dharriwa Elders Group in Walgett, Western NSW to support the design process of a memorial garden using medicinal plants. 

Rachel is also a musician and music teacher who has experienced music as a powerful tool for change.  This is a strong thread that fuels her passion to do her best to support the DPM crew on the ground. 

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Mitchell O'Hearn
Filmmaker/Editor

Mitchell O’Hearn is an Australian filmmaker whose shorts have played in festivals around the world.

Mitchell studied film at the VCA in Melbourne and the RTF school in Austin, Texas. After his undergraduate degree, Mitchell travelled to Mongolia for a year as a Youth Ambassador for Development where he co-directed, shot and edited, a weekly half-hour children's show for the Mongolian National Broadcaster.

Mitchell is attracted to human stories that reveal more than what the eye can see.

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Holly Doust-Robinson
Production Coordinator/Photographer

Growing up in Bathurst and graduating from Wollongong University, Holly is an innovative radio-maker with a background in music, media and communications.

Holly’s lifelong love of music has fed a burgeoning career in the music industry - consulting for an independent record label, working in large-scale festival production and artist management. And now at DPM.

Volunteering for FBi Radio in Sydney, Holly produces and hosts her own podcast 'Notes From Home' which focuses on emerging musicians and their upbringings.

She enjoys working with young people and their communities to facilitate connection through storytelling and music as a means of expression. Her photographs embody the passion and integrity of the DPM project process.

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Peter Abrahams
Facilitator

Peter is a South African Australian. He was raised in a family of anti-Apartheid activists, the founders of the District Six Museum, In Cape Town. The museum works with the memories of the District Six forced removals which took place in the late 1960’s.

Peter was one of the first black DJ’s to play to the inaugural racially integrated dance floors of the new post-Apartheid democracy.

Peter has been working with marginalised youth for over a decade. His training as a coach and facilitator of Thinking Environments, enables him to create spaces of deep connection enabling courageous thinking, feeling and being. He believes that young people have valuable perspectives to offer us in a time of global crisis, and he thrives on igniting their expression and creativity.