A nationally respected leader in the Australian arts sector - Emeritus Professor Margaret Seares - has been appointed Chair of The University of Western Australia's Perth International Arts Festival.
The announcement by UWA Chancellor Dr Michael Chaney and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson follows the retirement of Mr Michael Smith after eight years as Festival Chair.
Dr Chaney said the University's governing body, Senate, acknowledged Emeritus Professor Seares' long and distinguished career in the arts.
"Emeritus Professor Seares is extremely well placed to lead the Board to ensure that this fantastic community festival - founded by UWA more than half a century ago - remains one of the most significant annual events on Australian and international arts calendars," Dr Chaney said.
"In her previous role at UWA as Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Seares was unstinting in her advocacy and support for the Festival, serving on its Board since 2009," he said.
Emeritus Professor Seares has held positions as Chair of the Australia Council for four years and Chief Executive of the Western Australian Department for the Arts (now the Department of Culture and the Arts). She has been a member of a wide range of boards and councils in the government, not-for-profit and arts sectors. In 2003, Professor Seares was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of her work for the arts and education.
Michael Smith joined the Festival Board in June 2002 and was appointed Chair in August 2004. In that time, the Festival's reach increased from audiences of 120,000 to more than 200,000 annually.
Paying tribute to Mr Smith, Professor Johnson said these impressive results revealed a deepening connection between the Western Australian community and the Perth International Arts Festival.
"Michael Smith has been a passionate advocate for the transformative power of the arts and the positive contribution they make to Western Australia's sense of identity and the liveability of our community," Professor Johnson said.
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783