Meet the CAS Board

Early this year we formed our first ever governing board! The eight members of the new CAS board will provide leadership for our next strategic plan and contribute to our mission of making the arts accessible, relevant and sustainable. As you will see in their introductions below, our board members come to CAS with an incredibly diverse range of interests, skills and professional experience. Read more about them and what they’re looking forward to in 2021.

Header image: Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Trevor Matthews, Chairperson
My name is Trevor Matthews and I am the Chairperson of the CAS Board.  I’m an Arts Manager that has worked for a range of small to medium community arts organisations as well as in local government.  I started off setting up my own theatre company and producing plays when I was 17 and have since worked across almost every artform from monumental sculpture to contemporary dance.  I’m good at all of the boring bits of the arts (governance, finance, grant writing etc) and am passionate about supporting artists and community organisations in fulfilling their goals.
In 2021 I am looking forward to being a Dad for the first time, working to support the CAS team and never trying to make my own mask again [see photo :)]

Larra Juab

I’m Larra Juab, I’m also known as Taga Barrio! I am a queer immigrant residing in the Southeastern Suburbs of Melbourne. I am currently the Business Development Manager and Representative for CAS. I’m a bit everywhere atm as I am an emerging artist, a uni student, sex shop worker, and an art teacher. I also love food more than I love art (yes, priorities!). 
Here’s what I’m looking forward for this year: Participating in TakeBack! under Multicultural Arts Victoria, seeing CAS grow more (more exhibitions, workshops, collabs, events and moreee!!!) and food, of course!

Ali Coker, Treasurer

I’m Ali Coker and the incoming Treasurer of the CAS Board.  I’m a Forensic Accountant investigating financial crime in the legal sector by day, and a busy single mum and passionate photographer by night.  My love of the Arts started when I was a child, with a particular interest in performing arts and script writing.  These days, I am focusing on photography and my hope is that in this post-COVID normal world, I will have my second solo exhibition in the next year.   
Like Trevor, our Chairman, I am good at all the boring bits of the Arts.  As a Chartered Accountant with more than 15 years experience, I have a diverse set of accounting experience having worked across Big 4, Small Chartered, Law Enforcement Agencies and Not-For-Profit Sector (Community Housing).  During this time, I have worked in external audit, accounting and business advisory services, financial analysis and forensic accounting roles. 
In 2021, I am most looking forward to our renewed freedom to travel at home, and in time, abroad.   Whether we visit a country and culture completely different than our own, or choose to explore an area of the town we don’t usually see, we expose our preconceived ideas to the truth and develop a curiosity to know more.  We allow news and statistics to become names and faces.  We build relationships with our neighbours and break down the walls we’ve been creating separating us from each other.   We feel our fear of the unknown and we choose tolerance, understanding and love.  That’s what travel is for me.  

Ché McMahon

Hi there! My name is Ché McMahon and I am a local arts and cultural manager. I work for Arts Melbourne – City of Melbourne as their Presenter Services Coordinator at the absolutely stunning Meat Market. We house arts and cultural productions such as Rising Festival, Yirramboi Festival, Fringe Festival and Melbourne Knowledge Week. If you’ve never seen the place I strongly suggest you get it on the to do list! I’m a South sider for life and extremely keen to see the reinvigoration of arts and culture across Melbourne’s South East. Joining the Board of Connection Arts Space is a pleasure and honour. Peace.

Gemma Eades, Secretary

My name is Gemma Eades and I’m serving as the Secretary on the inaugural CAS Board! This is my first Board member position which is very exciting and I feel very humble to be a part of this passionate group. I’ve been on the arts scene for about 10 years working with various Victorian and international organisations in the curatorial and exhibition/event coordination spaces and am now at ArtsHub working to advance my marketing skills. I love to unwind by being out in nature & have been known to pick up a paintbrush from time to time en plein air!

In 2021 I’m looking forward to physically reconnecting to the arts! I’m very fortunate to have a constant finger on the pulse of the arts through my day job at ArtsHub however I am extremely excited to get out from behind the computer and physically interact with creative spaces again 🙂

Kelly Lai

My name is Kelly Lai and I am a Hong Kong-Canadian that’s found herself in Melbourne during these crazy times. During the day I work as a strategist at a Global Strategic Design Company, which allows me to stretch my creative muscles. Before moving into the business world, I studied Fine Arts at uni and loved spending days and weeks working away at an oil painting. After straying from the art community for the last few years, I’m making my way back through my own practice and being a part of an amazing organisation like CAS! I’m excited to work with the CAS team, Board, and the wider community to help make the arts more accessible, relevant, and sustainable!
In 2021 I am looking forward to supporting the CAS team, connecting with friends/family however I can, and getting involved in more creative projects (I just wrapped up/wrapping up an art exhibition for Melbourne Design Week called In Peace, We Believe based on a piece designed for the UN’s Speculative Design challenge).

Nikki Bagatsing

My name is Nikki! I’m 22 years old. I’m really keen to be involved with CAS as a board member! I love volunteering and involving myself in the community. I’m a student, and just finished my Auslan certificate and due to start studying in Victoria University in July. 

My dream jobs include to become a Lawyer and an Auslan interpreter. Currently, I work as a homeless support worker for Working for Victoria.

My community involvement includes being a participant in the Wyndham Civic Youth program, being awarded March 2021’s Wyndham Youth services Young person of the month, being a volunteer for GAT foundation. Previously, I’ve been a board member for global peace organisation CISV Victoria Chapter,a youth ambassador for Whitelion Victoria.

In 2021 I’m looking forward to going to more events in person…following all covid safety regulations of course! I miss going to in person events…food festivals, cultural festivals, art shows, museums, etc. 

Mike Williamson

It is 20 years this year, since Mike moved permanently to Australia from London.

He is a dedicated father, with two adult children who have navigated their way through to careers of their choosing. Mike’s partner is a high school teacher and a visual artist – she keeps pushing Mike to keep up his passion for life-drawing! 

Mike has a background in management consultancy and education and is currently focused on helping disadvantaged students and families, through his leadership  role at The Smith Family. 

As well, Mike works as a leadership coach helping individuals and teams reach their full potential,

Mike’s interests include world cinema, bike riding (no lycra involved!), good coffee, pilates and the gym, cooking and wine and buying quality second-hand furniture. He also maintains his interest in sport and is an avid supporter of Arsenal FC in London.

Mike is incredibly excited about the prospect of being able to offer some ideas to help CAS move to the next phase in its journey.

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