1-11 August 2024  View all 2024 events
South Stradbroke Island | Photography by Jo-Anne Driessens


In late 2020 Placemakers* Gold Coast invited expressions of interest from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts industry professionals, passionate about culture and place, to join the newly formed First Nation Reference Group.

The purpose of the group is to provide cultural advice and guidance to support the strategic vision of Placemakers* Gold Coast and the annual BLEACH* Festival. Placemakers* Gold Coast is committed to building a solid foundation that supports accurate, authentic and respectful representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander principles, and to embedding these principles in the ecology of the organisation and Festival planning process.
The First Nation Reference Group will:
  • Provide cultural advice on contemporary First Nation practices
  • Assist with establishing fundamental principles that support a respectful representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Discuss cultural matters relevant to the organisation and Festival deliverables.
  • Share the Placemakers* Gold Coast vision towards nurturing community through culture-led, place-based experiences
  • Understand needs of the local arts ecology and community
  • Bring valuable skills and knowledge specifically around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture values.

Hague Best

Hague Best is a Traditional Owner of the Yugambeh Language Region, with extensive knowledge and experience across all aspects of Cultural Heritage, including local language and family connections associated with the Gold Coast.

As a community leader and Elder, Best has supported a number of arts sector initiatives aligned to the Arts and Culture Strategy and led by the City’s Arts and Culture team, including the inaugural Indigenous Arts and Culture Forum, South Stradbroke Island Indigenous Artist Camp and Public Art initiatives.  

Rhianna Patrick

HRhianna Patrick is a freelance Torres Strait Islander media professional and journalist with family connections to the Zagareb (Mer) and Wagadagem (Mabuyag) clans of Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait).

Rhianna spent nearly two decades at the ABC before leaving to pursue other opportunities in 2020. For the last few years, Rhianna has curated Spotify's 'Original Storytellers' playlist.  

Jo-Anne Driessens

Jo-Anne was raised in Mianjin - Brisbane, Queensland and has been a practicing photographer for 3 decades. Completing a 4 year Photography cadetship at the State Library of Queensland in 1999, Jo-Anne has also worked across various arts and community focused roles and is able to bring holistic skills into specialised projects including curatorial frameworks; historical and contemporary research experience and community and cultural protocol principles.

Her passion in working with archival records and old photos has assisted her in connecting with her Aboriginal family and learning of the historical connections to Cherbourg (Barambah) and Yarrabah communities and also the traditional connections to Guwa (Koa) people through her Great Grandmother, (Nancy Watson/Chambers) and Yalangi and Yimithirr people through her Great Grandfather (‘Tippo’/Charlie Chambers).

While working with the City of Gold Coast, Jo-Anne has been able to work closely with Artists of all disciplines and has successfully delivered an annual professional development program known as the ‘South Stradbroke Island Indigenous Artist Camp’ (2014-2019). Having gathered over 25 years of Government career experience, Jo-Anne decided to move into the not-for-profit sector and commence her role with Placemakers* Gold Coast between 2020 to 2022 as First Nation Curator and continued to deliver the Rising Tide Artist Camp in 2022.

Later in 2022, Jo-Anne joined the Arts Law Centre of Australia as the Artists in the Black Coordinator which continued her journey with the not-for-profit sector and works alongside the team of Lawyers towards a dedicated National service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists of all creative disciplines.  

Stephanie Parkin

Stephanie Parkin belongs to the Quandamooka People of North Stradbroke Island. As co-Founder and Principal Solicitor of Parallax Legal, Stephanie advises a range of clients in relation to intellectual property, Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property, protocols and respectful ways of engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, art, cultural expressions, knowledge and materials.

Stephanie is the Chairperson of the Indigenous Art Code, a national voluntary Code of Conduct aimed at establishing and promoting fair and ethical trade between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and those who wish to buy or licence their works. Within her own Quandamooka community, Stephanie is a director of the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation.  

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the Yugambeh Language Region and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People of the Gold Coast. We recognise their continuing connection and contributions to country and culture. We pay respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.