Half The Sky grew out of a series of conversations between 5 women, working in the arts, living in lockdown in Perth, Western Australia. In the throes of a global pandemic we realised change was urgent and new conversations essential. We had to do something to challenge norms, transform habits, re-focus values and inspire others to create a world without gender discrimination. We were artists and art-workers. Why not use our skills to facilitate conversations and debate, to ask difficult questions and celebrate the extraordinary diversity of cultures and the communities around us. 

We began with a series of gatherings: community events, open space workshops and performances, small gatherings around food and conversation and closed 2021 with the magnificent story telling performance "Remarkable Women". And we learnt that by telling our stories, by listening and sharing experiences, we could expand our communities, build connections, grow our imaginations, and discover social courage and creativity.

Wendy Martin
Creative Producer and Artistic Director, curator of compelling performing arts programs, multi art-form festivals, events and public engagement programs.

As Artistic Director of Perth Festival (2016-19) Wendy championed innovative arts sector and education initiatives and commissioned major events that connected deeply with Nyoongar culture and the city’s diverse communities. At London's Southbank Centre and Sydney Opera House she developed festivals celebrating the work of Deaf and Disabled artists, artists of the African diaspora and First Nations performers and artists. The Festival of Women continues her commitment to inclusion in the arts, now with a focus on building projects that will celebrate and empower women and girls.

Liesbeth Goedhart
Liesbeth has worked in the arts and cultural sector in Western Australia for 20 years since graduating with a fine arts degree from Curtin University. She has held a range of senior roles, including Director of Marketing and Development for the Perth Festival (2000-2005). Since 2010 her firm, goedhART consulting has specialised in business development expertise for the cultural sector including the facilitation of strategic planning and fundraising strategies. Liesbeth is a champion of social change through the arts and passionately believes in celebrating the strong voices of women that need to be heard. She would like to look back in ten years’ time, celebrating all that’s been achieved, with the Festival of Women an established part on WA’s cultural calendar, a pillar of support for women and girls and a beacon of transformative experiences for all.

Deborah May
Film maker specialising in  the performing arts. Deborah grew up in Zimbabwe, studied Fine Art at St Martin's College of Art, London and after graduating joined the pioneering Space Theatre in Cape Town, a defiantly non-racial venue in a racially divided country, which focused on the power of the arts to express our common humanity and challenge assumptions. Her first film You Have Struck a Rock told the extraordinary story of 50,000 women occupying South Africa's parliament buildings, a co-production with the UN Film who then commissioned a short animated film warning of climate change. As well as documentaries and multi-camera productions of theatre works, Deborah has collaborated with choreographers, composers and visual/performance artists to create small-scale films and online web projects. Recently she created a series of blogs which document singular and special projects in an engaging and novel way, including for DADAA, Telethon Kids Institute and My Place, in Perth.

Kira Rikkers
Kira is an experienced communications specialist with a love of writing and a passion for social and environmental justice. She has previously held arts marketing roles with FORM, PICA and Barking Gecko, and was the owner and editor of online city guide We Love Perth from 2017-2019. In the broader community space, she has spent time with Danjoo Koorliny, TEDxPerth, Open House Perth, and the Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD), among others. Her destination marketing experience includes stints with Tourism WA, City of Perth, and RAC WA.

Living abroad from 2003-2007, Kira studied languages, worked as an au pair in Paris, and represented Australia at the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan. Kira holds a Bachelor of Communications with majors in Advertising and PR, and a Diploma of Languages in Japanese from Edith Cowan University. In 2021 she completed a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact at the Centre for Social Impact, based at UWA Business School.

Ai-Ling Truong
Ai-Ling works as a policy analyst in government and outside of work gets involved in community focused arts, cultural and food projects/events. She is an innovative food and music curator, cook and writer for food and lifestyle publications including The West Australian Good Food Guide and Gourmet Traveller. Ai-Ling is also a presenter
on RTRFM, an independent, non-profit community radio station that provides an alternative voice for Perth through innovative music and talks programming with a strong focus on the arts, culture, social justice, politics and the environment. She has been a director on RTRFM's Board since 2017.

Christine Scoggin
Cultural Community Development practitioner with over 20 years experience in intercultural facilitation and a firm believer in the power of the arts to build individual and collective capacities and create the futures that we want to see for ourselves, our families and our communities. Christine was the founding CEO of the Aboriginal Art Centre Hub of WA and recently completed a PhD through research conducted with a South African grassroots organisation, Qala Phelang Tala, where a group of highly marginalised South Africans engaged in an innovative, self-help building practice to reduce waste and provide inexpensive, climate-appropriate, shack-replacement shelter.  Christine uses visual communication and strategic thinking to raise individual and collective capacities and to empower community members to take action on issues that are important to them, positively affecting communities’ positions within the context of larger social institutions.

Fiona Stanley AO (patron)
Professor Fiona Stanley trained in maternal and child health epidemiology and public health,  She has spent her career researching the causes of major childhood illnesses such as birth defects. In 1990 she founded the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. She is a vocal advocate for the needs of children and their families and when  named Australian of the Year in 2003 she used the opportunity to highlight what she saw as serious and ongoing social and medical problems, famously declaring that contemporary society is 'toxic for kids'.

In 2004 Fiona was honoured as a "National Living Treasure" by the National Trust and is currently a Distinguished Research ProfessorUWA Medical School, Paediatrics. Professor Stanley has more than 300 published papers in scientific journals and has served on the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, the Federal Government's Social Inclusion Board and the WA State Government's Indigenous Implementation Board. She has given and contributed to many presentations, on the socio-economic determinants of child health, on health and climate change and First Nations response to Covid 19 in Australia.

Sharyn Egan
Sharyn Egan is a Nyoongar woman whose arts practice began at the age of 37. Sharyn works in a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture and woven forms using traditional and contemporary fibres. Her work explores her experience as a member of the Stolen Generation, commenting on the associated trauma, emotion and the deep sense of loss and displacement experienced by Aboriginal people. Her woven works include traditionally styled contemporary forms and baskets, as well as sculptural forms often based on flora and fauna that have totemic significance for the Nyoongar people. Sharyn's artwork is included in collections at the National Museum in Canberra, the Berndt Museum of Anthropology in Western Australia and a number of local councils in and around Perth. Sharyn also works as an art lecturer at a TAFE college south of Perth teaching in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural arts program.

Meri Fatin
Producer, interviewer and facilitator. In her talks, presentations and conversations, Meri seeks out unique stories and offers the means to convey them with authenticity and confidence. Recent high profile conversations include Margaret Atwood and Julia Gillard. The podcast series 'Rare Air with Meri Fatin' is available on all podcasting hosting platforms. Previous work includes the Empathy Museum’s A Mile in My Shoes for the Perth Festival and a series of accident prevention stories for the Paraplegic Benefit Fund. Meri has also produced and curated high profile talks and events - bringing Christiana Figueres, architect of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to Perth in March 2020, and as guest curator for TEDX WA 's Climate Leadership Summit, November 2020.

Zainab Syed
Zainab is a poet and creative producer. Her practice sits at the intersection of live performance and social justice. She graduated from Brown University, USA in 2014, toured performing poetry and ran art therapy workshops for incarcerated women, trauma victims and refugees until 2017. From 2017- 2021, Zainab worked at Performing Lines WA as a Producer of contemporary theatre and dance. Her work focuses on facilitating intercultural collaboration through live performance works, re-imagining the frameworks around inclusion, creating new pathways for emerging and diverse artists into the mainstream arts industry as well as supporting artists and stories to tour regionally, nationally and internationally.

Zainab is also founder of Pakistan Poetry Slam, the country’s first national slam, co-founder of illUMEnate, a diverse arts collective in WA and a Humanitarian Observer with the Australian Red Cross Immigration Detention Program. She sits on the Board for Theatre Network Australia and The Blue Room Theatre (Deputy Chair). Zainab is currently a Producer at Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney.