Our Team

Our Team


Melissa Robertson

Program Manager (November 2016 – current)

Community Cultural Development practitioner for 25 years and was the Cultural Development Officer at Arts Nexus from 2003-2009 and then on the Board of Management from 2013-2016. Melissa has experience in Communications – internal, public, media, internet, Project design – concept to completion, Human resource and Finance management from budget construction, monitoring and reporting. Having been a member on many boards as a Treasurer and general, Melissa has experience in governance, organisational structure and boards of management. Currently Event Manager for Cairns Tropical Writers Festival (August 2016) and as a Trainer in project development through mentoring, webinars, mentoring and facilitation.  Public programs – marketing and audience development, Festivals and performing arts and Event management.  Contact Melissa directly if you have ideas of how Arts Nexus can partner with a project, a business, a sector or the government to ensure arts, culture and creative industries are always considered as important to the liveability of our region.

E: admin@artsnexus.com.au



Avril Duck

Program Coordinator – Central (August – current)

Avril Duck is a community theatre director an arts and cultural development worker. She has been at the heart and foundation of two iconic Cairns community cultural events, both occurring annually: Shakespeare at the Tanks theatre productions and Shadows of the Past dramatised evening cemetery tours. For over 15 years Avril has led a wide range of theatre-based community projects and workshops in Far North Queensland. She builds partnerships with the community in collaborative creative work and has forged a practice of Theatre Making for Social Change.

Avril grew up in regional FNQ in the small town of Herberton and after completing her Bachelor of Education at Melbourne University, studying Drama and Chinese, Avril returned to FNQ. She then gained a Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, which she has taught for over 20 years to support and compliment her theatre-making.

Avril’s approach is always naturally inclusive because diversity is her aesthetic. She is known as a leader, a teacher, a creative and a doer in the community. Her work with people from diverse backgrounds was acknowledged in 2015 when she was awarded the Cairns Regional Council Australia Day Cultural Award.



Claire Tierney

Program Coordinator – North (July – current)

Claire Tierney has 15 years of Event Management experience, creating and running successful events in the Region. Her earlier years in the Hospitality industry in Melbourne honed her abilities as a persuasive team player. She is able to motivate and communicate, enabling team efforts to produce genuine goals and achieve deadlines. She is friendly and professional with excellent customer service skills.

Production is all about deadlines and organisational skills.  As an entrepreneur she has initiated and sold multiple businesses. As a producer she has written, received and acquitted multiple grants. Claire has a passion for theatre and live events.  Initially from Melbourne she has lived in the Far North for 12 years.



Bernadette Curnuck

Graphic Designer (2001 – current)

Bernadette Curnuck is bcdesign, a home-based graphic design studio in Cairns.  Has been self-employed for approximately 10 years, and has been a graphic designer and graphic reproducer within the print industry for 26 years.  bcdesign’s core business is graphic design – designing marketing, advertising and communications tools and materials across print, broadcast and digital platforms, using both traditional and new media as well as creating branding and visual identities including output of branded tools across print, broadcast and digital platforms.

Advertising: developing advertisements for print, broadcast and digital platforms, including designs, artwork, storyboards and scripts, advice and consultancy – achieving the print and digital outcomes you require. She’s the girl behind the scenes bringing concepts to life!

Sharing knowledge: Bernadette is TAE qualified, now offering Photoshop workshops at the Arts Nexus hub, The X, but always available to offer guidance to those wishing to publish their own work.



Dale Priem

Podcast Producer (contractor)

Dale has worked as a freelance sound technician for over 20 years and is passionate about creating high quality sound experiences for his clients. Dale’s experience includes work as a professional radio studio sound technician with Radio Port Douglas from 2000 to 2017 encompassing all aspects of radio production including the creation, editing and uploading of advertisements and podcasts, set up and operation of outside broadcasts, the maintenance of social media and website assets and daily on air presenter.

Dale has worked as a freelance sound technician for live corporate events, weddings, public festivals and his own musical interests. Dale’s combination of both professional studio and live technician work has made him an exceptionally versatile technician in North Queensland.


Tess Golding-Clarke

Program Coordinator – Central (April – June)

Tess Golding-Clarke’s career in Community Cultural Development expands over a period of three decades. During the eighties and nineties, she managed substantial projects in Victoria, Southern and Far North Queensland across Government and Non-Government Organisation. During the nineties, she was instrumental in introducing the first series of creative TAFE programming to Mossman’s Indigenous community. Tess, herself has a love for writing and had the pleasure of writing and editing for a coffee table book titled “Village. Life Through a Simple Lens” in 2015. Village tells a visual story of everyday life in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Lamu and Zanzibar. Proceeds for the Village book which has sold in several countries has assisted to fund private health insurance for village families.

Tess worked for CAIRNS Regional Council for 15 years in which time she undertook the brief of establishing the highly successful Creative Partnership program, which later integrated into what is now “Cultural Services”. In 2015, seeking a new challenge and a lifestyle change Tess established a social business venture titled The Good Karma Project which is the umbrella for several creative, well- being projects in Australia and internationally. A percentage of the proceeds of Tess’s projects is strategically donated to identified causes either financially or on an in-kind basis.

Tess is currently writing a series of short stories and a Well-Being Handbook. The latter being well received by her workshop participants and private clients. Over the years, Tess has had the opportunity to spend a substantial amount of time in the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, and Major cities including New York and San Francisco, where the creative vibe never sleeps and the people continuously pump it out in a loud and extroverted manner.

Currently Tess is enjoying working locally and is inspired to assist Arts Nexus to play a key leadership role for the community arts sector across the region.

Tess believes that a great creative community is one that is beautifully livable and offers everyone an opportunity to broaden their creative perspective.


Tess Taylor-Sabolta

Program Assistant (April – August 2017)

Tess is a recent nutrition and public health graduate from Melbourne. Tess grew up in family of artists, to a musician/community worker mother, which instilled her passion for music, arts and community. Her love of music has lead to volunteering at numerous music and arts festivals, while her passion for public and community health has furthered her commitment to community and cultural development.

Tess has experience in social research, health education, program planning and evaluation and is currently a project assistant, providing assistance with membership, promotions and evaluation.