Careers: Programs Coordinator



Position title: Programs Coordinator
Category of employment: Permanent, full-time
Salary: $65,000 per annum, plus superannuation
Locations: NorthSite Contemporary Arts (96 Abbott St Cairns 4870) and
NorthSite Art Studios (55 Greenslopes St Edge Hill 4870)
Closing date: 5PM, Tuesday October 3, 2023



NorthSite puts artists at the centre of everything we do.


The Programs Coordinator is responsible for the coordination of NorthSite Contemporary Arts’ public programs and studios.

The role is focused on the delivery of programs that enhance access, engagement and understanding of NorthSite’s exhibitions at Bulmba-ja (96 Abbott Street); providing professional development opportunities for North Queensland arts workers; and coordinating a program of workshops, residencies, and printmaking initiatives at NorthSite Art Studios (55 Greenslopes Street).


The Programs Coordinator is responsible for:


Essential Criteria

Applicants must be able to demonstrate commitment and experience in related roles, with:

Desirable Criteria

Experience with and interest in:



Download the Position Description document to ensure you meet the criteria. Provide the information outlined in the Position Description document (CV and cover letter) and click the “Apply Now” button to submit your application.

Closing date: 5PM, Tuesday October 3, 2023





Careers: Retail Assistant



Position title: Retail Assistant
Category of employment: Permanent, part-time
Renumeration: $26.18/hour weekdays; $32.73/hour Saturdays.
Hours: 4 weekdays 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (with 30 min break) + Saturday 8:45 am – 1:15 pm
Number of ordinary hours per week (average): 32.5 hours (including 4.5 hours on Saturdays)
Locations: NorthSite Contemporary Arts (96 Abbott Street, Cairns City, 4870)
Closing date: 5PM, Monday October 30, 2023



NorthSite puts artists at the centre of everything we do.

  • We cultivate and champion art production, practice and culture in Tropical North Queensland.
  • We create opportunities for artists to realise and present exciting ideas.
  • We bring artists and audiences together, stimulate conversation, and provide transformative experiences.
  • We adhere to best-practice standards of arts governance and operations, which we continually review and improve.
  • We are committed to growing social wellbeing, economic empowerment and environmental sustainability for the organisation, the arts sector / communities more broadly.


Reporting to the CEO/ Executive Director and Gallery Store Manager, the Retail Assistant supports retail activities, both in-gallery and online, as well as the daily operations of the NorthSite Store, situated at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre, Cairns.

The role is primarily tasked with the stocking, display and promotion of retail products at NorthSite Contemporary Arts.

Key tasks involve maintaining the NorthSite online and retail channels prudently and efficiently with knowledge and respect for artistic conventions.

The role contributes to achieving revenue targets and attracting repeat visitation and sales, while providing excellent customer and artist services. We aim to deliver memorable visitor experiences synonymous with the NorthSite Contemporary Arts vision.

The NorthSite Retail Assistant works with other staff to deliver associated marketing and promotions, while overseeing store maintenance, stock consignments, procurement, visual merchandising, and sales reporting.

The NorthSite Store operates on a social enterprise model, with all income going to artists and invested back, offsetting the cost of gallery operations and programs.

This is a 4 day per week position requiring a highly organized person to balance customer service demands, meet financial targets, and maintain shop administration and visitation reporting responsibilities align with the strategic objectives of the organisation and support the NorthSite vision, purpose, and values.


The Retail Assistant is responsible for:

  • Assisting operation of the NorthSite Store at its physical location and NorthSite Online Store.
  • Undertaking sales, packing orders, arranging freight and distributing goods in a timely manner.
  • Organising the weekly postal drop for online orders and following up on client correspondence.
  • Working towards sales targets.
  • Visual merchandising, displays and promotions.
  • Documentation and photography of artworks and retail items and upload/maintenance of online channels.
  • Keeping inventory lists and PoS systems (Vend & Shopify) correctly updated and monitoring stock levels.
  • Assisting in updating consignment contracts for an ever-evolving, high-quality, curated range of art, craft, design relevant to the local, national and tourist market.
  • Growing the NorthSite membership base.
  • Supporting new licensing initiatives and wholesale of unique merchandise ranges.
  • Collaboration with artists and staff for effective operation of special events such as CIAF (Cairns Indigenous Art Fair) and pop-up retail for artistic and tourism events.
  • Shop activities that promote a strong public face and advocacy for NorthSite’s vision, purposes and values.
  • Capturing of visitor data and feedback.
  • Maintaining co-operative working relationships with NorthSite staff, Board, volunteers, project partners, members, building tenants and other stakeholders.
  • Ensuring the delivery of a high standard of customer service to all visitors and members.
  • Supporting the Gallery Store Manager to set and achieve shared goals as a team.
  • Assisting customers with all purchase enquiries.
  • Promoting current and upcoming exhibitions and artists.


Essential criteria

Applicants must be able to demonstrate commitment and experience in related roles, with:

  • Minimum 3 years’ experience in a relevant retail role.
  • Exceptional customer service and interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrated experience with driving sales and operations to meet targets.
  • Experience in maintaining stock control and inventories, cash handling and daily transaction reconciliations.
  • High level written and verbal communication skills and computer (iMac) literacy.
  • Precise attention to detail and commitment to accuracy.
  • A ‘good eye’ for composition, visual merchandising and design, and appreciation for artistic production and techniques.
  • Ability to work autonomously, as part of a team and under pressure to meet deadlines and manage weekly priorities.
  • Exceptional time management skills and ability to manage workflow and provide updates to Gallery Retail Manager and CEO/Executive Director.


Experience with and interest in:

  • C Class driver’s license.
  • An understanding of the arts sector and demonstratable knowledge and passion for art, craft and design.
  • Experience working in a small business.
  • Experience with photography, strategic marketing, communications and social media.
  • Experience with software systems and integrations (Lightspeed, Shopify, Trello, Filemaker Pro, Mac and Microsoft Office suite).


  • Reports to the NorthSite Artistic Director.
  • Internal liaisons – NorthSite Board of Directors and NorthSite staff (including: Executive Administrator, Curator, Communications Officer, Retail Manager, Gallery Officer, Events and Content Producer), volunteers, studio technicians, facilitators, and other Bulmba-ja tenants.
  • External liaisons – artists, workshop participants, patrons to the galleries, program participants, community, government, and industry stakeholders.


Download the Position Description document to ensure you meet the key selection criteria. Provide the information outlined in the Position Description document (CV and cover letter) and click the “Apply Now” button to submit your application.

Closing date: 5PM, Monday October 30, 2023





Artists’ Residency

NorthSite will host four senior artists from Moa Arts during a month-long residency at NorthSite Art Studios. David Bosun, Solomon Booth, Fiona Mosby and Paula Savage will be participating in a series of intensive printmaking sessions through September and October 2023 to develop new works.

During the residency, these four senior artists will be preparing new works for an exhibition at Tarnanthi in Adelaide later this year as well as two international exhibitions planned for 2024 and 2025. This is an exciting time for these artists who are looking forward to getting into the print studio alongside Moa Arts long-term printmaking facilitator Dian Darmansjah from Firebox Studios.

This year David Bosun, Solomon Booth, Fiona Mosby and Paula Savage displayed work in the CIAF2023 satellite exhibition ‘Malu Bardthar Dapar | Sea Land Sky’ at NorthSite Contemporary Arts. We’re excited to welcome them into NorthSite Art Studios and continue to follow their success.

First Nations Printmaking Program in Cairns

Red fabric with grey leaves printed on top and more plants printed in white over the top.

SpotFire is a NorthSite program that provides facilities for emerging and established First Nations Artists to plan, develop and produce fine art prints on paper and fabric. Held every Friday at NorthSite Art Studios in Cairns, this program provides access to a professional studio space, equipment, materials and expertise from a range of experienced facilitators.

Participating Artists are encouraged to use the weekly sessions to develop new work, or further develop skills and techniques, supported by the program facilitator. SpotFire is facilitated by master printmaker Theo Tremblay and supported by artists and printmakers Robert Tommy Pau and Hannah Parker.

The program first started in February 2023 and we continue to welcome First Nations printmakers to participate in this year’s program. For more information and to register your interest in joining SpotFire reach out to Katrina Iosia: programs@northsite.org.au or call 0740509494.


Join SpotFire


A man holding a print screen on a table and two women on the other side of the table

Hannah Parker, Ruth Saveka and Paul Bong working at NorthSite Art Studio.

A group of people stand around a printing table looking at artworks.

NorthSite Art Studio, 2023. Program talks with Robert Tommy Pau and Theo Tremblay.

A women wearing blue gloves and holding a brush.

Kassandra Savage working at NorthSite Art Studios, 2023.

SpotFire has received funding through Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government and Cairns Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

The Ironing Maidens World Premiere in Cairns plus International Recognition at NIME

From December 2023 to January 2024, The Ironing Maidens (Melania Jack and Patty Preece) presented their sound, digital art and projection installation work – Pressing Topics at NorthSite Contemporary Arts. The debut of this work was well received at NorthSite and the workshop presentation explaining the work; Oscillations attracted a huge audience for a Saturday Morning of almost 70 participants. Ironing certainly still resonates with many people, but ironing sound is a unique experience in itself.

The audiovisual installation, Oscillations, turns irons and ironing boards into electronic instruments, in an attempt to deconstruct stereotypical ideas of gender and its assigned roles. The work aims to investigate the relationships we have with domestic objects and ponder their structures and significance through the design and performance of an interactive ecosystem. The project uses a sonic cyberfeminist lens to critically explore aesthetic and relational hierarchies at the intersection of sound, gender and technology.

Installation of 3 ironing boards with retro irons. In the background is a video projection. Hanging from the ceiling are industrial lights and cords referencing the factories.

Three irons and ironing boards have been hacked and retrofitted with embedded electronic instruments that together create a complex feedback network. While the audience is invited to physically interact with the irons instruments and manipulate samples, the sonic state of the installation also changes based on the audio information detected in the environment. Projections onto the surface of the ironing board expose the labor within.

“This opportunity to present the work in Cairns has been so important to the development of the work. Being able to see people interacting and responding to the instruments at NorthSite provided us with an insight into the experience of the audience, and gave us more ideas on how to refine the instruments to improve that audience experience. We are so thankful to NorthSite for this opportunity and support”
– Patty Preece.

A retro iron sitting on an timber ironing board with a video projection directly onto the cloth that is placed on top of the ironing board.

The work was then presented at the International Conference of NIME (new instruments for musical expression) in Mexico City in May 2023. Joining hundreds of experimental, digital instrument makers from around the world, Patty and Melania presented their paper – Oscillations: Composing a Performance Ecosystem through a Sonic Cyberfeminist Lens and installed this work in the foyer of the Center for Digital Culture, in La Condessa. The work was recognised through two awards, the paper receiving ‘The Pamela Z award for innovation’, and the installation receiving the ‘best installation award’.

Now the duo bring the ironing instruments back to Cairns in a hybrid band of irons and synthesisers, in the next phase of the project – Hot & Heavy – an immersive experience that is “part gallery, part performance and part banging dance party”. In a World Premiere at The Tanks Art Centre.

Hot & Heavy is an aural, visual and sensory experience that invites you to lose your friends, go deep and shake free. Explore this queer new world where domesticity has been made strange, appliances are defamiliarised, and the casual horrors of human production lines and capitalist consumption are vividly transformed. In a landscape of real world glitches, the lines between performer and audience blur and break, bodies move en masse and the unifying power of a dance floor infects the crowd. Hot & Heavy is the search for multiple new futures, yearning to find utopia within the banging beat of a broken down washing machine.

“In previous live shows we [The Ironing Maidens] have explored themes such as planned obsolescence and domestic labour, but in this new work we wanted the opportunity to really expand, to really push ourselves and the work. We wanted to investigate the kind of world we are living in now; within this capitalist system, and explore what kind of alternatives we could imagine for our collective futures, we wanted to explore what this could feel like, what it might sound like.”
– Melania Jack

“We have expanded the creative team and have been working with international choreographic director Leigh-Anne Vizer and a team of dancers to develop the worlds that the audience will explore. We are also working with the Cairns community, through a series of workshops in the lead up to the performance so that we can skill share in music and dance, and invite people to come and create with us and join us in the live performance”.
– Patty Preece

This event is an Auslan Interpreted Performance. There will be a meeting place on entry for Auslan interpretation during the first half of the show. The second half of the show the interpreter will be onstage. Please contact for more details

Show might include atmospheric haze and strobe effects.

Workshops in the lead up to the show are open to the public and start this week (Monday 31 July 2023). Meet the cast, learn some new skills, and join the community ensemble. There is a fundraiser running to make these workshops free and accessible to marginalised groups in the community. Head to The Australian Cultural Fund website and search for The Ironing Maidens – $15 can support a scholarship place in the workshop. Click here to support.

This new work has been developed in Cairns through commissions from the Local Giants Program; a partnership between Regional Arts Australia, PAC and Performing Lines, and the Tanks Arts Centre and Cairns Regional Council. Development funded by the Australia Council for the Arts. Community engagement funded by Cairns Regional Council through the RADF Major Round. The project is funded and managed by Shiny Shiny Productions, a feminist, queer led, regional production company.

SHOW DATES: Friday 25th August 8pm – Cairns Tanks Arts Centre
Sunday 27th August 1pm

Tickets Live Show – $27.50 & $32.50


Tickets Workshops – $15 & $30


Support – $15 can support a scholarship place in the workshop



Darren Blackman Wins CIAF Innovation Award

Four artworks by Darren Blackman hang on a gallery wall. All art black and yellow with text.

Darren Blackman, exhibition installation at CIAF Art Fair, 2023. Image courtesy of NorthSite.

A special congratulations to artist Darren Blackman on winning the Innovation Award for Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) 2023.

In 2022 Darren curated and exhibited work in the group exhibition REPATRIATE, showcasing the artworks of First Nations artists Dylan Mooney, Dylan Sarra, Kyra Mancktelow, Dion Beasley and Bernard Singleton Jr.

It was wonderful to see Darren working with new mediums for the 2023 CIAF Art Fair and to see his work recognised with the CIAF Innovation Award.

Read More: https://ciaf.com.au/ciaf-2023-art-awards

International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating three women who are showcasing their incredible work in the NorthSite Gallery at Bulmba-ja: India Collins (Artist), Regi Cherini (Artist) and Tess Maunder (NorthSite Guest Curator).

India Collins is a Cairns-based artist specialising in woven sculptural forms and digital technology. She is also the Exhibition Manager for Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) and is currently part of the SITUATE Art in Festival programme. India has greatly contributed to the Far North Queensland arts community and is showcasing her exhibition in ‘e VULVA lution’ at NorthSite. You can get involved in her exhibition by sharing a personal story or contributing an item of pre-loved clothing. Visit www.northsite.org.au/e-vulva-lution/ for more information.

Regi Cherini is another Cairns-based artist who has embraced regional and remote northern Australia. Through her art practice, Regi is interested in challenging and undermining notions of imposed boundaries and hierarchies of creativity, raising embroidery out of the realm of craft and into that of fine art. Her exhibition Sweet Nostalgia is showing in the NorthSite gallery at Bulmba-ja until 11 March 2023.

Tess Maunder is a curator, writer and editor based in Melbourne. She has a decade of experience working in the cultural sector focusing on programming contemporary visual art practice. Tess has curated the exhibition ‘Planetary Gestures’ bringing together a range of artists who think deeply about alternative geographies. The exhibition was devised to explore ideas surrounding ecological systems, ancient knowledge, celestial blueprints and tidal movements across the land, sea and sky known as Australasia, part of the wider Asia-Pacific and the ‘Great Ocean’. Planetary Gestures is showing in the NorthSite gallery until 15 April 2023.

Happy IWD!

Illuminate FNQ Indigenous Science Festival

NorthSite recently partnered to support an Art Science Talk event for the inaugural illuminate FNQ Indigenous Science Festival.

The exhibition, Yuk Wuy Min Nguntamp, by Keith Wikmunea and Heather Koowootha produced by NorthSite in collaboration with Wik and Kugu Art Centre was included in the Friday activities of the Illuminate program. Heather Koowootha provided an extremely insightful explanation of her paintings of plants and natural resources that embody deep Wik cultural knowledge.

If you are interested in hearing more about this exciting new festival that drew scientists from across the world to Cairns and celebrated local ancient knowledge systems, check out the link to their wrap-up video, produced by artist and volunteer illuminate FNQ Board Director Dr. Jenny Fraser.

For more information about illuminate FNQ Indigenous Science Festival visit: https://illuminatefnq.org/home/

In other news, Dr Jenny Fraser has recently been awarded the prestigious 2022 Australia Council Award for Emerging and Experimental Arts! Congratulations Jenny!

Dr Jenny Fraser – Australia Council Award for Emerging & Experimental Arts


Dear Arts Friends

The last weeks have been massive for the arts in Australia, with widespread announcements of closures, job losses, program changes, cancellations, funding redeployments, ministerial roundtables, and notification of the major Australia Council of the Arts’ multiyear organisational funding program, which has seen many much-loved arts companies missing out or being defunded as of next year. A perfect storm, in a time of global health and socio-economic hardship.

On Friday we received notification that we are one of 95 companies in Australia, successful in a massive year-long bid to gain federal arts funding support from 2021 -2024. We’d put forward a bold vision, new strategic plans, forward budgets and articulated the importance of supporting contemporary artists and the arts sector in the north through our future programs.

The Australia Council wrote:

Congratulations  on your successful Four Year Funding (FYF) application to the Australia Council for the Arts.

Your Stage 2 application was approved by the Visual Arts Panel and endorsed by the Board of the Australia Council.

You were successful in a very competitive environment and we look forward to supporting the great work your organisation will deliver in the coming years. 

When we embarked on the assessment of multiyear funding for 2021-24 the seismic impacts of COVID19 had not been imagined, let alone hit our communities, society and sector. In light of these impacts we have had to rethink how we best assist the sector to navigate through the challenges posed by the current crisis. While we realise there are no perfect solutions, we have taken a number of steps to mitigate the damage and contribute to the short to medium-term feasibility of the sector. In this context, we will offer reduced funding in 2021 to organisations approved for funding in the 2021-24 FYF program. This will allow us to provide support through to 31 Dec 2021 to many of the current FYFOs that were unsuccessful with their applications for 2021-24 FYF.

While, the above announcement is extremely positive news for the arts in Far North Queensland and a massive relief for this organisation, following years of financial hardship and limitations, the elation is dampened by a sobering reality of the number of defunded organisations, the implications of that for future programs and the increased challenges faced by all now.

(412 organisations initially applied, with 162 invited to submit full applications. A stark reminder of a pattern of underfunding in the arts, witnessed in 2015 when 65 organisations lost federal organisational funding. In fact, this industry has consistently been calling on the Government to top up its arts funding over the last years. Recent analysis shows that the Australian Government is committing 18.9 per cent less expenditure per capita to arts and culture than it did a decade ago and that expenditure as a percentage of GDP remains below the OECD average.”[1])

We empathise with the huge undertaking of the pool of national arts experts, and thank the peer assessors and Australia Council staff who no-doubt rigorously assessed all applications, then delayed the announcement in light of COVID-19, to work to redeploy funds where possible and create a new Resilience Fund in these challenging times.

Over the past weeks, NorthSite has joined with peak bodies and other organisations, creatives and artsworkers to put forward recommendations to the initial Australian Government COVID package announcements, ensuring our casual workforce and freelancers are not missed.

Given the financial and implicit value of arts, the sector has called for a necessary stimulus package specifically for the arts – to ensure a creative future in Australia. Creative Industries leaders have met with the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, and put forward a united proposal for a targeted support package, (2% of the industry’s $111billion contribution to the economy). This industry specific-package would save thousands of jobs & companies, ensuring that the sector is able to support the nation as it emerges from COVID-19. So far this has not been considered by the Government.

You can read the open letter sent to Ministers and MPs signed by 130+ artists, collectives and companies including NorthSite here.    Below is a letter sent to relevant MPs for this region, prior to the final day of Australian Parliament on 8 April until August 2020.

We’ll keep working to support artists up here, rejig our programs and stand united with the rest of the arts & cultural sector and wider Australia at this most difficult time.

Keep an eye out for new programs and conversations with artists over coming weeks.

Take good care.

Ashleigh Campbell and team


See Visual Arts Advocacy and surveys for completion:

For a full roundup of actions taken by National Association for the Visual Arts and Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance see the following links. Artists, musicians, writers, performers etc, all creatives who’ve list work are encouraged to complete their surveys.

See Arts Hub coverage on the 4 year funding topic:



See Australia Council for the Arts’ response package and sector information including a guide for navigating government assistance:



See Queensland-specific information and Arts Queensland support for artsists:



[1] The Big Picture, public expenditure on artistic, cultural and creative activity in Australia | A New Approach | Australian Academy of the Humanities

Image: Glenn Sloggett, Lose, 2019. Photo by J Forsyth. Copyright remains with the artist, used by NAVA to accompany the industry open letter to Parliamentarians.