John Smithies, Executive Officer, (joined CDN December 2005)

JohnSmithiesJohn is an arts manager with a background of arts programming, specifically in cinema, new media arts, and screen education, and experience in policy development. He studied at the Tasmanian School of Art, the South Australian School of Art, Monash University and the Academy of Fine Art Karlsruhe, Germany. From 1992, John was Director of the State Film Centre of Victoria, leading it through its development to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). He was responsible for opening the new public facilities at Federation Square in Melbourne in October 2002. Since joining CDN, he has worked with the Board and a highly skilled team to support stronger planning and evaluation of cultural development activities of local government and its integration with regional and national public policy. Contact John

Amy Stevenson, Research and Administration Officer (joined CDN April 2015)

Amy is a practitioner and researcher whose interests and experience includes cultural projects in development/post-conflict development, evidence-based community planning and evaluation and arts and cultural participation as a change mechanism. She has been with CDN since 2015 where she manages the daily operations of the organisation, contributes to research projects and assists the Executive Officer with corporate governance, industry meetings and projects. Amy is currently completing a Masters of Evaluation at the University of Melbourne, having previously completed a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) at RMIT University. Her interest in cultural asset-based community development grew from more than nine years work experience in community and international development throughout Australia, Timor-Leste and Cambodia. In addition to working at CDN, Amy is the Executive Officer of Many Hands International, an NGO working in remote indigenous communities in Timor-Leste, the Co-Manager of the international scholarship program for East-Timorese women, Matadalan Ba Malu, and an Associate Member of the Centre for Global Research, RMIT University.   Contact Amy

Raji Uppal, Casual Research Assistant (joined CDN February 2018)

Raji has recently completed a Master of Arts Management at RMIT University, where she specialised in cultural planning and evaluation.  She is currently working on a research project focusing on local government planning practices, the results of which will be presented at this year’s ICCPR conference in Estonia. Recently she has been working on a book chapter exploring governance and the potential impacts of CDN’s outcomes schema on governance practices.  She is also assisting local councils to develop their planning and evaluation procedures.  



Vanessa Di Grazia, Research Intern, (started internship in August 2018)

Vanessa is an RMIT University student currently completing an internship with CDN. Vanessa is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). Her interests and expertise are based in migration and refugee studies, intercultural communication and multicultural studies. Vanessa is a research assistant with Good People Act Now, a gender equality advocacy organisation concerning culturally diverse youth. She has previously worked in the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s refugee legal clinic providing administrative and intercultural communication support and at Banksia Community Gardens tutoring newly arrived refugee children. During her time at CDN, Vanessa is conducting research concerning valuable program evaluation methods when concerning culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

CDN Contractors and Consultants

CDN’s work is supported by a team of specialist contractors:

Kim Dunphy, Research Consultant (joined CDN in this role in 2016).

Kim DunphyKim’s research expertise includes arts evaluation, cultural indicators, cultural impact assessment, accessibility and the arts, community revitalization, expressive arts and dance movement therapy.  Kim’s publications are available here.





Julie Marlow, Policy and Research Consultant (joined CDN in 2016)

Julie Marlow has spent her entire career in senior executive management in the creative industries. She currently offers an advisory, consultancy, writing and editing service for local governments developing and delivering cultural development plans. Working closely with the Cultural Development Network, using its planning framework and principles and a set of unique measurable outcomes for evaluation, Julie has worked with a growing number of councils, most recently the City of Casey, Golden Plains Shire and the City of Darebin, with more coming on-stream in this fast-developing area in local government planning. Julie’s work is intended to contribute to better practice in cultural development planning, and to assist council staff to achieve better outcomes for their community. Using the methodologies developed at CDN, Julie guides council staff through every step of the planning process, and also assists with subsequent evaluation of the plan and the application of the measurable outcomes.

Tammy Currie and Au Nguyen, FameGroup for accounting services
Kitka Hiltula, Kitka Web Design
Alan Reddick, Reddick Design
Barrett Housten, Jim’s Computer Services (for IT support)                                                                                         Judd Zekas, Yarra Valley Hosting, (for IT projects)


CDN Staff and Contractors 2017


















Back row: John Smithies (CDN Executive Officer), Tammy Currie (FameGroup), Meredith Windust (FameGroup), Judd Zekas (Yarra Valley Hosting), Holly Schauble (CDN Research Officer). Front row: Au Nguyen (The Fame Group), Amy Stevenson (CDN Research and Administration Officer),Raji Uppal (CDN Research Assistant), Kitka Hiltula (Kitka Kitka Web Designs), Alan Reddick (Reddick Design).

Barrett Housten (Jims Computer Services), Kim Dunphy (Research Consultant), and Julie Marlow (Research Consultant) not in photo.