Michael Campbell (Executive Director)
Michael has worked freelance as an arts consultant and strategist, editor, writer, events manager, director and choreographer. He was the Festival Director for the Brisbane Writers Festival (2006-2009), and the literary events program at gleebooks in Sydney for 4 years (2002-2005). He is a Board member of Currency House, chair of its Editorial Committee, and edited Keith Bain on Movement and Keith Bain: The Principles of Movement for Currency House and Oberon Books (UK).
Michael has also worked across the arts in various other capacities including as an artistic director, director, choreographer, artistic co-ordinator, events manager, librettist, writer, editor, and dancer. He was a principal dancer with West Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet and Oper der Stadt Köln, and has worked for companies including Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare Company and Griffin Theatre Company. He has worked for Opera Australia on numerous works including Merry Widow, Handa on Sydney Harbour: Carmen and La Traviata, La Forza del Destino and Salome. In 2004 he directed the opera Madeline Lee, which he also co-wrote, and was nominated for seven Helpmann Awards. Recent projects include directing Violent Extremism and Other Party Games (Depot Theatre), Equus (Nomadic Artists), The Cunning Little Vixen (Pacific Opera), an outdoor performance of Twelfth Night and directing, producing and co-creating The Faces of Mercy – a multi-artform work performed in Sydney and Rome; presenting the TV show For the Love of Books (Studio TV – Foxtel); judging the 2013, 2014, 2016 WA Premier’s Book Awards; and writing and directing (she had) immortal longings (Australian Shakespeare Festival, Hobart).
Michelle Rickerby (Producer)
With a background in children’s television production including television production manager, children’s television character writer and playwright. (Nickelodeon, Sydney and The Children’s Channel, London) Michelle was the Executive Producer of ABC Commercial for three years overseeing the development, production and co-production of content, products and services for distribution via ABC Commercial business units. Recently a social media manager, Michelle has worked in London as a writer, producer and film reviewer for Universal TV Studios and has experience as a consulting editor for film scripts for independent film producers.
Hajer Al-awsi (Program Associate)
Hajer was born and raised in Australia growing up in Western Sydney primarily in the Parramatta region. She is of Iraqi descent. She writes stories concerned with capturing the complexity of being a second generation Muslim, Arab immigrant. Her writing focuses on female experiences within this identity. The stories encapsulate the psychological effects of tribalism and religiosity often in contexts that challenge practices the main characters have been discouraged, and in many cases forbidden, to participate in. Having moved around Western Sydney throughout her childhood, and attended disadvantaged schools, she is aware of the lack of support for the arts and writing that exists in Western Sydney. She believes that WestWords is making a difference, creating spaces where kids can grow up with opportunities for them to be nurtured and flourish, as people and as artists.