We sat down with one of our event speakers, Lesley Gillan, to ask her a few questions in the lead-up to our Melbourne Knowledge Week event Diversity in the innovation ecosystem on May 22. Lesley is Head of Human Resources at ACMI, Australia's only national museum of film, videogames, digital culture and art.

Lesley has extensive experience as an HR leader in both the public and corporate sector as well as being a highly skilled mediator and conflict coach. Her particular interest is in helping organisations understand the benefits of conducting their business with a social conscience. She enjoys supporting leaders to empower, motivate and inspire others and offers a collaborative approach to cultural transformation.

Lesley, why is diversity and inclusion important to you?

Diverse, inclusive spaces enrich our lives and help us to build stronger, more cohesive communities. I believe that I have a role to play in fostering a just and equitable society through understanding, respecting and promoting people’s differences and experiences and by building strong relationships based on trust and respect. From a workplace point of view, there are extraordinary benefits to be realised through diversity and inclusion. Diverse, inclusive workplaces lead to innovative, dynamic and forward-thinking organisations where everyone feels welcome. I also care deeply about the employee experience and I know that inclusion and belonging really make a difference to people’s wellbeing.

When did you first feel like the work you are doing in this space was starting to make an impact?

The opening night of ACMI’s Cleverman Exhibition was a significant moment for ACMI in acknowledging and celebrating the centrality of First Nations People in our culture and firmly placing Indigenous voices and practice at the centre of our museum. This exhibition examined the making of Cleverman, a dystopian sci-fi TV show with a predominantly Indigenous cast and crew. The show delves into a series of Aboriginal origin stories in a contemporary context, touching on themes of class, racism and power. The exhibition explored First Nations storytelling, language and creativity in production design, costumes and props. It invited the audience to ‘listen first’, in honour of Indigenous oral storytelling traditions, and to immerse themselves in a powerful and contemporary expression of origin stories. The exhibition was curated by ACMI in consultation with an Indigenous Advisory Group and co-curated by Cleverman’s concept creator Ryan Griffen and production designer Jacob Nash.

At the opening night, one of our Indigenous curators, Kat Clarke, opened the exhibition by paying tribute to the Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung languages from Northern NSW, which featured in the exhibition. She also acknowledged and paid respect to the lore of Bunjil the eagle. It was an incredibly moving, insightful and respectful event and a great example of how we want to support First Nations voices in our new museum.

Where would you recommend people look for resources to build their practice and understanding of this topic?

  1. Namely – HR blog
  2. Culture Amp – employee feedback platform
  3. Refugee Talent – this is a great employment platform that helps companies hire diverse talent and refugees struggling to get jobs that match their experience in a new country.

Book your ticket (free event) to Diversity in the innovation ecosystem

This event is part of Melbourne Knowledge Week, 20–26 May 2019, proudly presented by the City of Melbourne. It is hosted in partnership with Committee for Melbourne.