I acknowledge my privilege in living on land stolen from the Gunaikurnai people in Metung East Gippsland; custodians for 120,000 years of respect and responsibility, care and connection to this place.

My gratitude for being welcomed by the oldest living culture in the world, holds me in obligation to learn, with permission, the humility in being one with country; to learn how to see country with my ears and hear country with my eyes, I acknowledge the Un-learning I need to do in deconstructing the colonising British and European migrant mindset I absorbed in my youth, echoing and ricocheting at every turn, every look.

Allowing silence when walking, so silence speaks, land wind water and everything speaks and is alive.

Arriving in Australia after many cultural experiences throughout Papua New Guinea in 1971, the culture shock I underwent enabled me to reassemble myself through making art at the South Australian School of Art, Adelaide. I acknowledge the power of this land is regenerating my spirit with an obligation to open to, respect and be in conversation with the land in my own backyard, down the Wallaby track or under the city!
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Over the last three decades I’ve watched Catherine emerge as an accomplished thinker, artist and leader, committed to the regeneration on country, community and local economies.  A skilled educator, community arts practitioner and collaborator, Catherine combines a lifetime of practice and purpose with a passion for the transformative force of art and the environment to regenerate communities and the planet in which they nest.

VINCENT RYAN - an urban planner and local economic development practitioner, worked with Catherine in the 1990s to establish Artists and Industry in Maribyrnong.


Catherine is a highly skilled and passionate change agent and cutting edge artist, working at the confluence of art and ecology. She brings with her considerable knowledge and experience, offering heartfelt commitment and support in her many roles, igniting the spark of creativity within her students. She has worked extensively alongside multicultural communities acquiring a sophisticated grasp of the social and economic issues they face. I respect Catherine as an accomplished activist and critical thinker in the Arts.

JULIE CLARKE - Oases Graduate School, Borderlands Co-operative - a place of inclusion and co-production


I have known Catherine Van Wilgenburg since the 1980s. I first met her in Adelaide at the Experimental Art Foundation, whilst I was an appointed strategic development consultant to the Australia Council’s Community Arts Board. Then later, as Senior Manager in Victorian State Government Ministry for the Arts, I appointed Catherine as artist-in-residence with the Gronn Place tenants, in the West Brunswick walk up flats.

Catherine has multiple skills in art, community cultural ‘place-based’ arts initiatives, in eco-arts, arts in education, art in geopolitics and climate change, art in new economics, and the arts in localised culture ecosystems developments.

Underpinning her culture and arts approaches, is her migration transition to Australia, where she formed a strong connection to Land. She continues to search for meaningful art partnerships, which relate to decolonisation issues, and to creating whole systems thinking, new governance structures, and localised leadership

Catherine brings to all her work a strong humanitarian vision, as evidenced in her success, including as a FLOAT artist exhibitions prize-winner 2021, as a primary/secondary/tertiary teacher, her local transformative leadership, and her published writings.

Her key drivers emphasise cross-disciplinary collaborations, strategic participatory methods, which incorporate both urban and regional development projects. Her eco-art insight has introduced Local Governments and Local Community Agencies to a new collective frame and localised paradigm-shift.

SUE CLARK -  Director Torque P/L - Strategic Themes: Creativity Impact in Entrepreneurship, Arts Ed, Art + Mind Health and Wellbeing action research.

Lend Lease Developers ( Public Art Melbourne Docklands (2000-2020), The University of Melbourne's Wade Institute for Entrepreneurship ( 2015- ongoing), Vic.College of the Arts, Local Government, Community & Corporate sectors. includes Creativity & cultural entrepreneurship innovation; arts & cultural planning strategies & partnership brokerage; the arts & strategic amenity design plans; creative incubator hubs ; artists in intercultural projects; ; the arts in education; public art strategies including artist commissioning & curatorial program management. Specialist skills in Public Policy including the arts and cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, social equity and refugee settlement, as well as initiatives in cultural entrepreneurship and the arts induction including curriculum innovation.


Catherine is wonderfully creative and able to listen and understand the views of varied stakeholders and morph these into ideas, suggestions and projects to do things differently. Regenerative in her understandings, she inspires partners to think and act differently and deliver new and innovative projects. She designed an EcoArts Toolkit for our collaboration, which inspires partners to think laterally from the beginning of their projects. A refreshing voice and partner in our collaboration.

RACHEL LOPES -  Lead of Chain of Ponds Collaboration for the transformation of Moonee Ponds Creek to a natural waterway.