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UniSA behind the scenes at
Adelaide Festival

by Kelly Stone

Adelaide Festival staff members who have studied with UniSA are: Gillian Mercer, Koral Chandler, Anne Wiberg, Sarah Pledge, Olivia Maros, Matthew Bennett, Michelle Read, Rachel Kurenda, Anna Hughes, Hilary Abel, and Lucy Guster.Adelaide Festival staff members who have studied with UniSA are:
Gillian Mercer, Koral Chandler, Anne Wiberg, Sarah Pledge, Olivia Maros, Matthew Bennett, Michelle Read, Rachel Kurenda, Anna Hughes, Hilary Abel, and Lucy Guster.

The Adelaide Festival is one of the world’s great art events – and the team that brings the event to the world has a strong UniSA influence.

Eleven UniSA alumni and two UniSA students are part of the 32-member team that is currently working behind the scenes to prepare for the 2013 Adelaide Festival.

Alumni range from disciplines including Visual Arts, Communication, Marketing and Social Work, while current students are from Management and Public Relations.

Adelaide Festival Corporation Publicist Koral Chandler is studying a Bachelor of Public Relations and says there is plenty to look forward to at the 2013 Festival (see breakout story below).

Chandler says her studies at UniSA helped her to secure her first job in marketing and publicity (with the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel), while her work now in a strategically-focussed team at the Adelaide Festival means she is drawing on expertise from her studies almost every day.

Chandler’s job includes working with the head of publicity on media relations for the Festival.

“I write media releases, organise media materials and help media outlets with stories about the Festival,” Chandler says.

“The best part of my job is the contact I have with media personnel – they’re a really fun bunch. I also love learning new and exciting skills from the Adelaide Festival team, a team which I am lucky to be a part of.”

Business Development Director Gillian Mercer is studying a Bachelor of Management and is enjoying learning the theory behind what she practises during her working day.

She is responsible for sponsorship and business development activities including industry liaison and corporate hosting.

Adelaide Festival staff members.“I enjoy building relationships with corporate organisations, facilitating access to the arts,” she says.

“I also enjoy the challenge of meeting financial targets and the generation of new ideas to achieve new income streams for the event.”

Digital Marketing Assistant Matthew Bennett is a graduate of Communication, Media and Culture and says his degree – and Marketing major – has helped him in his role.

“I loved my time at UniSA and my studies have given me a greater insight into the reasoning behind our digital marketing strategies and the various roles required to implement the strategies,” Bennett says.

“As Digital Marketing Assistant, I am responsible for maintaining our social media presence on Facebook and Twitter while also updating our website and mobile app.

“I love working with new media such as our website and app, as well as using all of the latest social media sites to reach our audience.”

Visual Arts Manager Lucy Guster is a graduate of two UniSA programs – Bachelor of Visual Arts and Graduate Diploma in Arts and Cultural Management.

Guster says the combination of studying visual arts practice and arts management training has really provided her with the ideal basis for her role as Visual Arts Manager.

“I have always felt that having the experience of making artwork myself, helped me to be more understanding when working with artists to show their work for the Festival,” she says.

Guster says her role involves looking after “all things visual arts”, including helping to plan and develop projects, liaising with international and Australian artists and galleries, and delivery of exhibitions and events including budgeting, contracts, logistics, travel and accommodation.

“My favourite part of the job would have to be working with the artists,” she says.

“I feel proud and very fortunate to have the opportunity to work closely with such an array of incredible international artists, like Laurie Anderson for the 2013 Festival.

“It is always so wonderful to meet them in the flesh after years of emails, phone calls and skype – and even better to see their projects come to fruition.

“I also love working with such an amazing team of people at the Festival – so knowledgeable and professional, but who also know how to have fun.”

As a sponsor of the visual arts program of the Adelaide Festival, UniSA’s Marketing and Development Director Alan Brideson says there are strong synergies between UniSA and the Adelaide Festival, with UniSA being the leading provider of visual arts education in South Australia.

2013 Adelaide Festival

The 2013 Adelaide Festival will run for 17 days and nights from Friday March 1 to Sunday March 17.

It will feature 53 events, of which 29 are exclusive to Adelaide; 314 performances; 27 Australian premieres; and 14 theatre, five dance and 21 music events, alongside Adelaide Writers’ Week, two visual arts exhibitions featuring the work of Laurie Anderson at the Anne and Gordon Samstag Museum of Art and Turner from the Tate at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Adelaide Festival Publicist Koral Chandler says current Visual Arts students will be excited that one of the most interesting contemporary artists of our time, Laurie Anderson, has three different projects in the 2013 program – Dirtday!, her acclaimed multi-media monologue; Kronos Quartet and Laurie Anderson performing their first ever musical collaboration; and Laurie Anderson: The Language of the Future – Selected Works 1971-2013 at the Anne and Gordon Samstag Museum of Art.

Chandler says a hot tip for young people at this year’s Festival is Sylvie Guillem in 6000 miles away.

“Sylvie is one of the world’s greatest ballerinas. She’ll be starring in a mesmerising program by three of today’s most important choreographers, Mats Ek, William Forsythe and Jiří Kylián,” Chandler says.

“Sylvie’s show is one of the most exciting shows on our Fringe Benefits list. Students under 30 should check out our list of shows that we are offering at Fringe Benefits prices, they are huge bargains!”

Click here for Fringe Benefits information and go to the Adelaide Festival website for more information about the Festival in 2013.

The University has secured a special 10 per cent discount for University alumni, staff and students on selected shows. Click here for information.