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 Subject Leader for 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. Ella Dreyfus - Senior Lecturer, Head of Public Programs

Dr. Ella Dreyfus is an Australian contemporary visual artist, senior lecturer in photography and Head of Public Programs at the National Art School, Sydney. She is an award winning artist and well known for her photographic exhibitions and monographs The Body Pregnant, Age and Consent, Transman, Under Twelve, Under Twenty and Scumbag. She won the inaugural Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture in 2005 and was an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholar at the University of NSW, Sydney. She was an Artist-in-Residence at the Cite Internationale des Artes, Paris in 2013 and undertook a Visual Arts Research Residency at the Banff Centre, Canada in 2014.

General Staff representative
Ms. Ellen O’Shaughnessy - Governance & Business Operations Manager

Ellen O'Shaughnessy brings extensive expertise in governance, business transformation, project/change management, and Government. She has over eleven years’ experience in business analysis & improvement and policy development with various state government agencies and medium to large companies. Ellen has previously worked with KPMG in Business Development, RailCorp NSW as a Business Analyst, and QLD Transport and Main Roads as Manager of Information Management. As a trade-qualified Jeweller, she also works privately, handcrafting precious jewellery for private clientele.


Sessional Academic Staff representative
Ms. Kim Spooner - Sessional Lecturer, Drawing and Painting

Kim Spooner has an established career as an Exhibiting Artist throughout Australia. She has been Awarded Residencies at Cite Internationale des Arts Paris; Flinders University, S.A. and University Southern Queensland, Toowoomba. Her Work is held in major Collections, including Parliament House Canberra, the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Jewish Museum, Melbourne, Berlin Opera, Berlin and Regional Galleries throughout NSW and VIC, as well as recognised Private Collections in Australia and overseas. Kim is the leading expert in Australia of the Traditional Painting Mediums, Egg Tempera and Encaustic as well as Drawing with Silverpoint.


Student Representative Council representative
Mr Cameron Stead - Chair, NAS Student Representative Council

Cameron is a third year BFA student majoring in Painting. Previous roles in Marketing, Communication and PR have allowed him to create new modes of communication with the wider student body and clearly communicate student perspectives and issues to the Academic Board.


External – Higher Education Management representative

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 13 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 organization 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 organization 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.