Leadership and strategy

  • Proven senior executive manager in the arts community sector.
  • Diverse skills in building partnerships with government, corporate and philanthropic organisations to drive funding into community initiatives.
  • Passionate team manager thriving on creativity and social justice. Proven ability to manage ideas from inception. Skilled at influencing at all levels of management.
  • Collaborative, visionary and committed professional who has built programs in Europe and Australia with ethical focus on fund distribution.


  • Strong drive as an artist engaged in multiple forms of practice
  • Identifies learning and self reflection as critical and with high emotion
  • Built sustainable creative new venture into sustainable long term program for social benefit
  • Bringing teams together and under a common creative vision
  • Combining ideas and creative thinking
  • Demonstrated high level of operational business, strategic and management experience
  • A passionate and persuasive driver to build community partnerships for real outcomes in arts/social justice sector


ARTPLAY, THE CITY OF MELBOURNE: 2004 – present www.artplay.com.au
Delivered a sustainable community arts program for over 20,000 participants per year, from inception, by building internal and external partners to raise funding and stakeholder support, conducting numerous presentations to community and stakeholders and identifying and selecting dynamic staff.

  • Built from inception community arts program delivering creative arts opportunities to children, families and young people in State capital city venues
  • Manage 30 staff to deliver on City Melbourne initiatives by recruiting, guiding, mentoring through a rapid growth phase to achieve practical outcomes.
  • Manage two public buildings with annual program budget of $1.5m plus oversee Capital works and strategic visioning for future city centre precinct development
  • Established ARTIST REFLECTIVE LEARNING PROGRAM for artist to share and learn from their work

Through the development of a methodology of engaging with children and parents through arts based workshops ArtPlay has developed a physical and cultural environment that fosters critical habits of mind for creative thinking. By employing professional artists to directly engage with children and their families or teachers this approach to learning develops key skills critical to engage in the world of the future. New learning frameworks where artists sit at the heart of the process of teaching and learning fosters children to think creatively, become empathetic and reflective learners while also contributing to greater social cohesion through shared and enjoyable adult/child encounters. The ArtPlay program has, since its inception in 2004, worked with over 1000 artists and 100,000 children. We have curated, funded and developed specific workshops across all art forms and for ages 0 – 13 building a powerful portfolio of offerings. Our Learning Exchange for artists has successfully developed the capacity of our Teaching Artist sector to build their leadership skills to understand their role through the transfer of skills, commitment and energy framed by a commitment to Social justice – core skills for social entrepreneurs.

This has been the critical work for Simon Spain as an artist for the last ten years: designing, curating and establishing a sustainable and dynamic model of artist/public engagement.


Created new internationally acknowledged educational research by building vision, analysing and selecting key partners, and overseeing a five year Australian Research Council program with The City of Melbourne, The University of Melbourne and The Australia Council for the Arts. Initiated, supported and integrated research. http://education.unimelb.edu.au/news_and_activities/projects/artplay

Initiated second Research project based around four ACCESS projects for supporting arts projects for children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds: http://education.unimelb.edu.au/news_and_activities/projects/artplay/the_access_program


Delivered a cross-border Peace and Reconciliation publishing programs for over 5000 participants by forging key partnerships and building a multi-year project engaging numerous artists with Catholic and Protestant schools communities along the border in Ireland. Brought together the Government Arts Funding bodies from North and South of Ireland for the first time by devising and managing a community development colloquium in 2002.

 NUMEROUS ARTIST RESIDENCIES particularly at The Ark, Dublin 1996-2002

Contributed to formative development of first Arts Centre for Children in Europe by delivering long-term programs, attending strategic meetings and delivering professional development programs. Undertaken a range of artist in residence programs in schools communities around the world.

PUBLISHING BOOKS WITH COMMUNITIES – USING THE PAGE AS A CREATIVE SPACE, independently with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership Ireland 1997 – 2003, and supporting Kids’ Own Australia 2008 – present

Published over 20 multilingual books to schools communities by establishing a community publishing project in East London in 1992. Published first book in Irish traveller language Cant through community project in Ireland in 1999 and in East Timor in 2011. Continued involvement in community publishing through joint founding of Kids’ Own Publishing. Created an ongoing sustainable innovative community development arts program engaging thousands of children and families each year by founding, nurturing and strategically positioning a not-for-profit in Ireland in 1996 – 2002. Books mostly hand-printed using silk screen printing, many combining tradional print forms with emerging technologies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s