Arts and Culture Specialist

สตรี (SATREE) : Supporting women in art, crafts and social innovation - Bangkok Symposium

A woman (Nikki Ralston) inside a community centre room holding up a red t shirt and black face mask proudly holding up an artwork made from recycled plastic.

I recently returned from a flying visit to Bangkok as part of theDESIAP (Designing Social Innovation in Asia Pacific)

Women’s Leadership Program. I have been participating in the program as a mentor working with two women – one based in Melbourne and another in Hong Kong. This small group mentoring, as well as other program activities including mentor-peer group sessions and tri-monthly meetings have all taken place on line, so it was an absolute joy to be able to fly to Bangkok to meet my mentees, the other participants and the project team in person!

Over three days we shared our learnings and experiences of the program, viewed some exhibitions as part of the Bankok Art Biennial, toured the local Nang Loeng community and created artworks out of recycled plastic in the Community Centre, were treated to an incredible performance by Kry Kanya, a traditional Chatri dancer, and got to know each other better over amazing Thai food. The short trip culminated in a public Symposium, ” สตรี (SATREE) : Supporting women in art, crafts and social innovation,” where we shared our experiences, emerging research findings, performances, artworks and workshops with each other and members of the public.

Community-led programming


I’ve recently had the opportunity to join the Yarrawonga/Mulwala Creative Hub and Across The Arts committee. Yarrawonga/Mulwala Creative Hub is one of four Creative Hubs located in the largest towns in the Moira Shire, and they are funded by the shire to deliver a program of creative events, workshops and opportunities for the local community.

I am absolutely blown away by the dedication, professionalism and work ethic of this group of local volunteers. Some incredibly skilled people have come together to dedicate their time to providing high quality arts programming that meets and responds to local needs. While there are many positives to this model, including real and deep roots in the community, in an ideal world it would be lovely to see extra funding to properly reimburse members of the committee who are going above and beyond what I believe should be expected of volunteers.

Creative Women's Mentoring Program


Back in February I was nominated by some brilliant Banyule artists to become a mentor in the DESIAP (Designing Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific) transnational Women’s Mentoring Program 2022. I met the team, headed in Australia by the amazing Yoko Akama (Associate Professor: Communication Design at RMIT) and decided that this was something right up my alley! I absolutely love working closely with artists, supporting them through different aspects of their practice, projects and professional growth, and this program provided an opportunity to do just this with artists from across the Asia-Pacific region. What's more, the program also includes fantastic support for mentors through peer mentoring sessions, bi-monthly catch ups with all program participants, and ready advice available from the DESIAP program team.