Academic Board

Chair - ex officio
Mr Steven Alderton - Director & CEO

Steven Alderton has gained 25 years’ experience in the visual arts and education. Previous roles have included Director, Programs, Exhibitions and Cultural Collections at the Australian Museum, Director Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Director Lismore Regional Gallery, Manager Bundaberg Arts Centre, Director Redland Art Gallery, and Curator Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery. Steven has worked closely with many leading Australian visual artists including Ricky Swallow, Margaret Olley, Nicholas Harding, Janet Laurence and Tracey Moffatt.

Member - ex officio, Chair - Academic Standards and Development Committee
Mr Simon Cooper - Head of Studies

Simon Cooper has practiced and exhibited extensively throughout Australia and internationally. His work is held in numerous private and public collections throughout the world including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and the Seoul Metropolitan Museum of Art, South Korea. He completed his undergraduate studies in Printmaking at Prahran College, Victoria and his post-graduate studies at Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. Simon has taught with a range of institutions in Australia including Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne; RMIT University, Melbourne; University of Southern Queensland; and Chisholm Institute, Melbourne. Since joining NAS in 2001 as Head of Printmaking, he has held other academic positions within the school including Acting Director, and is currently Head of Studies.

Senior Academic Staff Nominee
Dr. Michael Hill - Senior Lecturer, Head of Art History & Theory

Dr. Michael Hill lectures on modern, contemporary, and Australian art, as well as conducting specialist electives on subjects such as architecture and 17th century painting. His research interests include Baroque art, portraiture, classical architecture, and art historical methodology. Michael is also a curator and advisor to Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi, Cottesloe, and Denmark. He has been Head of Art History & Theory at NAS since 2011.

Senior Academic Staff Nominee
Dr. Stephen Little - Head of Painting

Dr Stephen Little is an artist and educator and he has taught progressive, creative higher education courses since the early 1990s. Prior to his current role as Head of Painting with Australia’s National Art School he has held lecturing posts at a range of other creative arts institutions. These have included Goldsmiths College in London, Sydney College of the Arts (University of Sydney), the University of Western Sydney (Nepean), the Australian Catholic University and Penrith College of TAFE. Aside from academic posts Stephen has spent many years working in different capacities with a range of galleries in Australia and overseas. These have included, but are not limited to, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), the Alan Cristea Gallery (London), White Cube (London), and the Lisson Gallery (London) where he held the position of Technical Manager for five years. The wealth of accrued experience that he now brings to his current post, in conjunction with his arts practice and his professional associations across a range of educational institutions, has provided him with a valuable and varied set of competencies that draw on theory, practice based research, and first hand experience with some of the art industry’s most reputable galleries and international art organisations.

Academic Staff Nominee
Dr. Marian Tubbs - Photomedia Lecturer

Marian Tubbs is a contemporary Australian artist whose work conflates material binaries between the physical and the virtual, and high and low culture and manifests across internet, photo, video and assemblage-based installations. In 2017 Marian was recipient of the Marten Bequest and in 2015 she was the inaugural recipient of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia’s Online Commission. In 2017 Tubbs' work was included in an anthology titled ‘An A-Z of Contemporary Australian Art' published by Thames and Hudson. Tubbs has published and presented art and philosophy research at international and local conferences. In 2014 she was a contributing author to the philosophy volume 'Deleuze and Guattari and the Arts: Intensities & Lines of Flight', published by Rowman & Littlefield International. Tubbs holds a BFA (Hons) from RMIT, a MFA from UNSW Art & Design, and a PhD from UNSW Art & Design and is represented by STATION Gallery and ltd Los Angeles.

General Staff representative
Ms Alana Ambados - Education Outreach Officer

Alana has over six years’ experience developing education programs and publications for a range of international contemporary art festivals and organisations. Before working at the National Art School, Alana was previously the Public Program and Education Coordinator at the Biennale of Sydney for the 19th and 20th exhibitions and also held the role of Education Coordinator at Kaldor Public Art Projects for Project 30: Marina Abramovic and Project 32: Jonathan Jones. Alana has produced education programs for Sculpture by the Sea and dLux Media Arts, and has taught visual arts in a range of primary and high schools including St. Ignatius’ College Riverview and St. Lucy’s School Wahroonga.

Sessional Academic Staff representative
Ms Madeleine Preston – Sessional Lecturer, Ceramics 

Madeleine Preston is a Sydney based artist and Sessional Lecturer in Ceramics at the National Art School. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Theory from the University of Sydney, a diploma of Fine Arts in Painting from East Sydney Technical College (now the National Art School), and a Master of Fine Arts (painting) from RMIT and is the co-director of Home@735 Gallery. In 2017 she was awarded an Australia Council Development Grant and a NAVA artist grant and was a resident in the Art Gallery of NSW’s Moya Dyring studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. 

Student Representative Council representative
TBC - Chair, NAS Student Representative Council

External – Higher Education Management representatives

Dr. Melissa Laird - Director, Learning and Teaching, National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)

Dr Melissa Laird is a material culture practitioner-scholar whose research blends academic inquiry with creative practice; she has a particular devotion to writing and scholarship in the creative arts. Her research frames ephemeral, transient and fragmentary artefacts as significant models for historical study and object-based artwork. As Director, Education and Graduate Studies at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) Melissa nurtures a culture of practice-based scholarship across the organisation and is actively engaged in learning and teaching, course development and academic governance which reflects contemporary attitudes and policy. She champions the development of unique communities of creative practice through partnerships in which staff and students from diverse backgrounds can flourish. Melissa has presented at academic conferences in Australia and overseas, and won awards for her drawing and sculpture. Recently published in Doctoral Writing in the Creative and Performing Arts (2014 Libri UK), the text utilises one of her artworks on the cover. Melissa received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Australian Council of Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) in 2014.

External – Arts Industry representative
Ms Alexie Glass-Kantor - Executive Director, Artspace

Alexie Glass-Kantor is the Executive Director of Artspace, Sydney, which supports the commissioning of contemporary art, exhibitions, publishing initiatives, and research residencies for artists and curators. Prior to her appointment to Artspace in November 2013, Glass-Kantor was Director, Senior Curator, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, an independent art space that was well regarded for its outreach and curatorial engagement with the Asia-Pacific under her leadership. As curator or co-curator of over one hundred exhibitions and biennials, Glass-Kantor has worked extensively with Australian and International artists across generations and instigated ambitious international exchanges and collaborative projects in Singapore, Malaysia, China, South Korea, Indonesia, New Zealand, Italy, France, UK and USA. Selected highlights include Parallel Collisions: 12th Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia (2012); City Within the City, Art Sonje Centre, Seoul (2011/12); Dying In Spite of the Miraculous, Melbourne Festival (2010); No Name Station, Iberia Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, Warmun Art Centre, WA and Gertrude Contemporary (2010/12); 21:100:100 - one hundred sound works by one hundred artists from the twenty-first century, Melbourne Festival and MONA MOFO (2008/09); and Australian curator for Lucky Number Seven: SITE Santa Fe Seventh International Biennial, SITE Santa Fe New Mexico (2008). Glass-Kantor was previously a Curator at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and has held programming positions in state art institutions, museums, independent spaces and festivals. She has authored artist monographs and regularly contributes to catalogues, symposiums and journals internationally. Glass-Kantor is currently the Curator, Encounters, Art Basel | Hong Kong (2015-2017).

External – Arts Industry representative
Mr Mitch Cairns

Mitch Cairns is a figurative painter whose practice also includes drawing & printmaking. Borrowing from the traditions of slapstick comedy, early conceptual art and the history of Australian painting, Cairns embraces the wide ranging sentiments inherent within these genres. Cairns has held solo exhibitions with The Commercial (2016, 2015, 2014), The Heide Museum of Modern Art (2015), KALIMANRAWLINS (2013), BREENSPACE (2012, 2010, 2008), SOCIETY, Sydney (2012), BOXCOPY, Brisbane (2012), MOP Projects, Sydney (2006, 2007, 2008) & Locksmith Project Space, Sydney (2008) as well as numerous group exhibitions. Cairns co-founded ‘The Cosmic Battle for your Heart’ an artist-run space based in Sydney (2009–11), a survey of which was exhibited in Artspace, Sydney 2011. He was a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2013 and 2014, and in 2012 was awarded the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship. Cairns is held in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Wollongong University, Deloitte and Artbank, Sydney. Cairns is an alumnus of the National Art School, graduating with a BFA (Honours) in Painting in 2006.

In Attendance
Secretary to Academic Board
Mr Ben Griffin - Registrar

Ben has over 15 years of experience of management and quality improvement in the tertiary sector in the United Kingdom and Australia. From his time as Vice President Education & Representation of the Queen Mary, University of London, Student Union he moved on the Learning & Skill Development Agency (LSDA), a national non-governmental quality improvement and research organisation for the Further Education sector in the UK. He worked on numerous quality improvement programs culminating in his role as Development Officer on the National Teaching and Learning Change Program at LSDA’s successor organisation the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) and as Partnerships Manager for LSN’s bespoke quality improvement, consultancy and training service. Ben completed his Masters of Education (Leadership & Management) at the University of Sydney in 2009 and since 2010 has been the Quality Manager at the National Art School with responsibility for Student Services and the School’s quality and compliance procedures. In 2015 Ben was appointed as Registrar.

Ms Zoë Wilesmith – Academic Administrator (Minutes)

Zoë holds a BA (Hons) in Art History and Theory from the University of Sydney and a MA (Art Administration) from UNSW. Her role as Academic Administrator at the National Art School allows her to combine her strengths of research, writing, collaboration and administration to support Academic staff and programs.