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Alumni Awards 2023 Mentor Feature: Chris Mercer

By November 3, 2023November 7th, 2023No Comments

Chris Mercer has come a very long way since he received a grant from his local CEF foundation, CEF Snowy Monaro, way back in 2002. 18 years later he now finds himself as the Head of Programs and Place at the National Sound and Film Archive in Canberra, as well our Alumni Ambassador and one of five mentors offering his time for one of the winners of this year’s Alumni Awards.

Chris Mercer

Local foundation:
Country Education Foundation of Snowy Monaro

University of Wollongong, University of Pennsylvania (USA), University of NSW

Bachelor of Creative Arts – University of Wollongong, 2003 – 2005

Executive Program: Arts and Culture Strategy – University of Pennsylvania, 2017 – 2018

Master of Environmental Management – UNSW, 2022 – Current

Where are you from?
Cooma, NSW.

What did your parents do for work?
Dad worked at the Business Enterprise Centre and Mum worked as a book keeper.

How many siblings?
One brother.

Where are you/have been working/living now?
I am currently living in Canberra working as the Head of Programs and Place at the National Film and Sound Archive.

How did you get to where you are now? What support was needed to get you there?
I have been fortunate throughout my career to have some wonderful mentors to support and guide me.

The initial grant from the CEF supported me financially but also provided a sense of belief that I could pursue a career in the arts.

What advice would you give a young student aspiring to reach the heights you have?
Be true to your authentic self and create environments for those around you to thrive.

What have been some of your greatest achievements to date?
Firstly, my wonderful children Finley and Willow. After that, being a Production Manager for shows on the West End and Broadway (Warhorse, Great Britain, The Nether, Peter Pan, The Book of Everything), and leading the ARUP Australasia Arts and Culture business.

What do you like to do in your spare time? What are you passionate about?
I am enjoying my studies in a Master of Environmental Management at UNSW. I am passionate about the role of the arts and culture sector to communicate on climate.

What is next for you?
I’ll continue working with the brilliant team at the NFSA to develop and deliver our Place Strategy, whilst completing my Masters degree.


Best playlist for concentrating?
Classical Music.

Favourite place for coffee?
Anywhere with friends.

Last book you read?
Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta.

Fantasy dinner party… if you could start a study group with any 5 people, dead or alive, who would they be?
Tyson Yunkaporta, Greta Thurnberg, Tim Minchin, Tanya Plibersek, Ellie Carpenter.

How would you spend your last $10?
Ice cream in a park with my family.

Be true to your authentic self and create environments for those around you to thrive.

Joshua Matic

Author Joshua Matic

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