Changemakers - Emily Sexton
28 May 2012 at 10:40 am
Emily Sexton, Artistic Director of Next Wave, is profiled in Changemakers – a regular column which examines inspiring people and their careers in the Not for Profit sector.
Next Wave is Australia’s pre-eminent contemporary arts organisation for young and emerging artists. Next Wave commissions, develops and presents genre-busting new art works in a biennial arts Festival.
What are you currently working on in the organisation?
Right now, we’re about to launch the program of our 2012 Festival so it’s busy busy busy! Today was exciting because our Next Wave Magazine arrived back from the printers. We’ve approached the ‘festival guide’ idea quite differently – instead, creating a brand new publication that introduces the 38 contemporary art projects that will debut in this year’s Festival. So instead of 50 word blurbs and standardised images, you get essays, poetry, drawings, newspaper classifieds, postcards and interviews. We’re very proud of it; it’s a way of helping people coming to really understand why we chose these artists as the ‘next wave’ of contemporary culture.
How long have you been working in the Not for Profit sector?
My whole career has been spent with Not for Profits! When I was at University I ran my first arts festival within the careful embrace of the University of Sydney Union. Since then I’ve made small strays into government (which counts, doesn’t it?), but the most impactful and exciting experiences have been working within the independent arts: producing theatre, working at Melbourne Fringe, and now with hundreds of young and emerging artists at Next Wave.
What is the best thing about working in the Not for Profit sector?
My work is my passion. Very few people on this planet have that privilege. Every single day I get to feel like I’m doing something that affects people’s lives for the better. That’s pretty cool.
What do you like best about working in your current organisation?
It’s hard to choose one thing! But I would say that our office is a genuinely confident, cheerful and empowered place to work, which is terrific. People really do take time to care for each other, and I think that spirits manifests in how we develop and present emerging’ artists work – and then, how we create new experiences for art-loving audiences.
“There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen
What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?
Reading: Andrew Charlton’s Quarterly Essay: ‘Man-made world – choosing between progress and planet’
Watching: NBC’s Community, impatiently waiting for new episodes
Listening: to the best radio station in the universe, Melbourne’s own 3RRR 102.7FM
School taught me…
Some pretty good feminist principles, actually. I’ve never considered my sex a barrier to what I can achieve. That’s a powerful thing to instil in young women.