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Management Team

Management Team

Dr Ricardo Peach - Executive Director

Ricardo developed and was co-director of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PAID) at the University of the Free State, partnering with the Vrystaat Arts Festival and a Founding Director of the Pan-African Creative Exchange (PACE) before he took up the position of Executive Director of AFCM, commencing in May 2021.
In his independent role he assisted as a Festival Partner Consultant for the Australian SituateArt in Festival initiative (2013-14). He has a long association with the Australia Council for the Arts, having been Acting Director of the Inter-Arts Office in 2012. At the Australia Council from 2006 to 2012, he commissioned research on arts and creative industry partnerships with QUT, instigated an MOU with UNESCO, developed the Indigenous Experimental Art Fund and the Art in Festival initiative among a range of special projects and flagship programs.
He is a huge advocate of regional arts development, having managed several large scale initiatives in South Africa. “They are complex and nuanced, but vital for establishing the cultural and economic autonomy of regional centres.”

Sheridan Helft - Marketing Manager

Sheridan Helft is based in Melbourne as our Marketing Manager, and brings a wealth of experience to our organisation. Sheridan worked in marketing management for many years with several large companies including Diners Club, Citibank and Fairfax Media. Originally from Townsville, she brought her young family back for a seachange in 2011 and spent 12 months living in Townsville, which is when she came to work for us. Now back in Melbourne (her favourite city in Australia, besides Townsville of course!), Sheridan manages all of the Festival’s national advertising and publicity, making frequent visits back to Townsville. A perfect combination she says!

Sue Hackett - Philanthropy Manager

Sue is no stranger to the Festival and is delighted to be returning as our first full-time Philanthropy Manager. Now based in Sydney, Sue took a short break after leaving AFCM in 2015 before returning to an old haunt, Opera Australia, where she originally cut her arts administration teeth though this time she worked as Special Events Manager for the Philanthropy Department. Prior to AFCM Sue spent many years in Europe where she had an agency based in Bologna, Italy specialised in representing creative teams in Europe, the UK and the USA. Having been immersed for decades in orchestral music, opera, theatre and artist management the lure of chamber music in a tropical festival environment has provided the perfect corollary. Passionate about the effect of the arts in regional Australia Sue believes that the intriguing story of the AFCM has many chapters still to come.

Jacqui Ferry - Marketing and Development Executive

Jacqui joins us most recently from Newscorp and from running her own photography business.  A background in Marketing, Customer Relations and Photography, Jacqui spent 13 years living throughout Europe, working mainly for large hotel chains and boutique restaurants.  Returning originally for 6 months, Jacqui fell in love with the ease of life in Townsville, the ability to see more than 10 days of sunshine a year, exercising outdoors and the property market.  Six months turned into eight years and with a Queenslander (129 years old!) and 2 Border Collies, a definitive plan to stay.  

Denise Kaitira - Finance Manager

Denise has worked in finance and administration for 20 years, most recently with James Cook University working in the grants management side of research projects. Denise has also had much experience working with not-for-profit entities, including 1.5 years spent in the Torres Strait helping cultural and other organisations achieve their goals. Having lived in this part of the world for about 15 years, Denise has been very aware of the importance of the AFCM to the region. Passionate about the benefits of music and the arts to the community as a whole, Denise is excited to be a part of the AFCM team.