SB
This is a place that musicians dream of - beautiful, unspoilt, developed with such sensitivity; the audience wants you to experiment and demands you play at your best and play with them. We want to spread this around the world.
— Giovanni Sollima, one of the world's greatest cellists

A Leadership Case Study: Four Winds Bermagui

2014 April - Festival Soundshell Venue audience stage - photo by Robert Tacheci- high res.jpg
First sounds in the Four Winds Festival's new sound shell, ABC South East NSW, 10 March 2014    First sounds in the Four Winds Festival's new recital hall,  Sound Shell , with Artistic Director Genevieve Lacey. Genevieve was Artistic Director of Four Winds from 2010 to 2012. Photo by Bill Brown.

First sounds in the Four Winds Festival's new sound shell, ABC South East NSW, 10 March 2014

First sounds in the Four Winds Festival's new recital hall, Sound Shell, with Artistic Director Genevieve Lacey. Genevieve was Artistic Director of Four Winds from 2010 to 2012. Photo by Bill Brown.

In 2017,  I was honoured to receive the Creative Partnership Australia's Arts Leadership Award for my work spanning more than 10 years at Four Winds Bermagui. Below I share with you the story of Four Winds, as told at the award presentation by Carrillo Gantner.

Four Winds started in the late 1980s as a shared idea among a group of neighbours including Sheena who yearned for the spiritual food of fine music to match the sheer beauty of their coastal environment. The first concert took place in April 1991 on a piece of scrapped dirt in front of a rough hillside. There was no sound system, shelter or toilets, just a small band of grateful and appreciative locals who brought their own deck chairs and thermoses to hear the voluminous international diva Rita Hunter and two illustrious Bermagui neighbours, Dr Michael Brimer playing Beethoven and noted actress Patricia Kennedy reciting poetry.

Funded and built under Sheena’s inspiring leadership, today Four Winds has the truly magnificent facilities of “Nature’s Concert Hall” as she named them: the outdoor Sound Shell designed by Philip Cox which seats 2,000 and the indoor Windsong Pavilion designed by Clinton Murray, a state of the art recital room with dazzling acoustics which seats close to 200 and is also used for schools programs, residencies and a host of other community uses.

Today these facilities deliver a year round program of musical pleasures delivered by national treasures and international greats as well as by the next generation of Australia’s outstanding musical talent.

Sheena has built active partnerships with the Australian National Music Academy, the Sydney Opera House, the National Music Teachers Education Program, the Bega Valley Shire Council, state and federal funding agencies, plus developing international linkages with producers and venues across the globe.  She is a tireless networker and formidable fundraiser whose success is based on solid preparation and research married to irresistible persuasion and a personal passion for the cause.

She has led through commissions, residencies, exchanges, respectful and reciprocal engagement with the local Yuin people, digital content, large and small scale community music projects that have taken over the wharf, the headlands or the football oval, and an artistic vision that extends way beyond the centrepiece of the original biannual music festival that now attracts thousands to include the expansion of music learning opportunities for young people through education programs and performances in schools across the south coast region.

Sheena Boughen is a true leader who has brought together teams of people motivated and energised by a shared purpose and commitment.  What she has achieved would be outstanding in a major metropolitan centre; in a regional setting it is utterly remarkable. 

 
 

Projects & Collaborations

 

ithree institute UTS 

Since Professor Liz Harry became the leader of the ithree institute at UTS in 2016, I have worked with Prof Harry and her team on their strategy agenda and leadership development. More recently, this work as advisor has included a strong focus on culture and building a vibrant, dynamic and collaborative team approach. 

 

 

Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF)

During 2017, I worked with the ISF team to consider various future issues, and in particular, the Institute's Deputy Director, Distinguished Professor Cynthia Mitchell.

 

 

Four Winds Bermagui

As Chair and pro bono CEO of Four Winds Bermagui, I led a national transformative project in both concept and building the future, spanning 10 years.  At the end of 2016 I stepped down from these roles and was appointed Inaugural Life Ambassador of Four Winds. 

 

 

Sydney Opera House

Brought in by Chief Executive Officer Louise Herron to work with the Theatre and Events Director and  team.

 

 

Nestle Australia-Pacific

Established - and was Strategic Facilitator for - External Advisory Board.


 

Ecos Corporation and Greenpeace Japan

Including my Masters of Anthropology on the cultural tension and strategic demands of Greenpeace Japan with the international organisation.

 

 

BHP Billiton

In early days of environmental groups, worked with corporate sector, and set up with Rio Tinto Global.