Catherine West named NIDA chair

Catherine West

NIDA has appointed Catherine West as chair, following the departure of Noel Staunton, who steps away after nearly a decade on the board.

A NIDA board member since April 2021 and a member of the NIDA Foundation Board since May 2019, West has more than three decades of experience in the media, entertainment, and telecommunications industries spanning Australia, the UK, and Europe.

She is deputy chair of Nine Entertainment and a non-executive director of Peter Warren Automotive Group and Monash IVF, as well as chair of the board of governors of Wenona School and a director of the Sydney Breast Cancer Foundation.  

She previously served on the commercial committee of BAFTA in the UK and was also a member of the Women’s Leadership Group of the Prince’s Trust, also in the UK.

West said she was honoured to be appointed chair of the “iconic” organisation.

“NIDA is the engine room for the creative industries, with its higher education and vocational education courses providing the pivotal creative workforce for the 17-billion-dollar economy,” she said.

“NIDA trains the most talented, future-focused tradespeople of the arts, the creative leaders and IP generators that bring our Australian stories to life on theatre stages, on streaming services and television networks, at live events, and on new platforms all around the world.

“With around 80,000 audience members coming to NIDA each year and more than 20,000 participants in open training and corporate programs NIDA is a vital community hub for everyone and an integral part of the arts and culture sector.

“On behalf of the NIDA board I would like to acknowledge the incredible contribution Noel Staunton has made during his tenure both as chair and board member who has been a lynchpin in taking NIDA forward over the last nine years.”

Staunton, who has led the board since 2019, paid tribute to the board and CEO Liz Hughes, as well as the institute’s staff, students, and supporters for their assistance during his “wonderful” tenure.

“As a director, I have witnessed the commencement of Vocational Studies Courses at NIDA, the opening of the Graduate School, and the commencement of a Master of Fine Arts courses as well as appointed CEO Liz Hughes,” he said.

“I have been privileged to serve with a committed and passionate volunteer group of artistic and professional directors who give generously of their time, wisdom, experience, and networks. I wish NIDA and its talented staff and students much success in the coming years.”

Hughes said she felt privileged to work alongside Staunton, whom she described as a “visionary of the creative world”.

“Everybody in the NIDA community has benefitted from Noel’s immeasurable industry knowledge and guidance during his time as both chair and board member,” she said.

“Catherine has played a substantial leadership role on the NIDA Board and Foundation Board over the last five years. Her broad understanding and experience across a range of industries and not-for-profits coupled with her love and passion for the creative industries and NIDA will set the organisation up for great future success.”

Joining West on the NIDA board of directors are Richard Refshauge (deputy chair), Claire Annesley, Darren Dale, Peter Ivany, Anthony Kerwick, John Robinson, Sigrid Thornton, Anna Tregloan, and Sophia Zachariou.