Working in the space between Community, Arts, Government and Business
Momentum Arts has been founded by Queensland-based arts specialist Nigel Lavender, following on from his leadership as Executive Director of Queensland Music Festival for over ten years, specialising in developing strategic production concepts, advice on public and private funding and consultation to the Queensland Arts sector and State and Local Government.
Nigel is a strategic thinker who takes a holistic approach to assess big picture issues, building partnerships and networks to deliver coherent plans for future growth. He brings a creative, rigorous and solutions-focused approach to producing and consultancy, with international and multi-faceted experience in stakeholder and community engagement and festival management.
Nigel is particularly focussed on regional Queensland with a wide network of contacts and peers in State Government, Local Government and the Regional Arts Services Network. He is also exceptionally well-connected to major arts organisations across the State.
In August 2020, Nigel took up the part-time role as Lead of the Regional Arts Fund in Queensland — administered by Flying Arts Alliance — managing the delivery of RAF Boost funding to regional artists and organisations, including three-year contracts for RAF Renewal.
key capabilities of momentum arts
Production consultancy / Community Engagement through the arts / Business planning and strategy / Stakeholder management and partnerships / Festivals and Event planning / Change Management / Project management / Fundraising / Board contribution and governance / Evaluation
Queensland Music Festival
May 2008 — Nov 2018
Led a multi-faceted team to deliver ideas and projects largely self-produced and conceived in multiple partnerships, to ensure the successful delivery of a state-wide biennial festival. Reporting to the board, accountable for all financial management, governance and board support, stakeholder relations, business planning and strategy, general management, HR, co-productions and fundraising. Oversaw annualised education programs, marketing and business development and Programming. Managed all external stakeholder relations with State Government, key partners and regular sponsors and donors.
Key outcomes included:
- Established a template and structure attracting James Morrison as Artistic Director (2013 and 2015) followed by Katie Noonan (2017 and 2019)
- Audiences increased by 120% since 2009; total events risen by 58%; turnover increased by 40% to $8m; and increase in corporate sponsorship of 500%
- In 2016-2017 QMF: reached 130,000 people, with a 97% approval rating; delivered 33 free programs with in total more than 800 performances, events and workshops; commissioned 13 World premieres; achieved an ASR of $5.5m with a reach of 58m; and broke all records for corporate and philanthropic support
- Developed enduring relationships with Trusts and Corporates (Aurizon, Tim Fairfax Foundation) which increased corporate support fivefold since 2008, with $1.5m achieved in 2017 by strategically aligning high exposure and popular appeal with artistic aims and social need to create corporate will
- Led major cash and in-kind partnerships with fundraising from all sources totalling $3.4m in 2016-17
- In 2018 led the successful tender process for QMF to take up the role of State Coordination Office together with the North Queensland hub for the Regional Arts Service Network.
May 2007 — June 2008
London, United Kingdom
As Interim General Manager, oversaw all operational matters, stabilising and re-focussing the company structure in an organisation with six diverse business streams focussing on the interface between the Arts and the socially disadvantaged. Introduced streamlined and efficient accounts reporting and supported multi-level stakeholder relationships with non-arts funders.
General & Finance Director
The Junction CDC Ltd
April 2005 — March 2007
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Led a venue team during a period of significant change following the successful redevelopment and addition of a new 250-seat theatre. Implemented a review of the company’s Business Plan while also creating initiatives to raise the venue’s profile in the community. Launched a campaign to attract conferences and contributed to a review of education strategy. Raised £338k additional Lottery funding and had a pivotal involvement in other areas of fundraising.
March 2001 – April 2005
London, United Kingdom
Played a key role in stabilising and expanding an organisation focussed on supporting emerging voices in performing arts from minority backgrounds. Developed a culture of cost and profit amongst staff, driving down overheads and maximising value for funders. Box Office income rose by 100% and revenue from commercial relationships by 400%. On departure, the company had a stable balance sheet and strong staff team.
Royal Theatre Northampton
March 1993 – December 1999
Northampton, United Kingdom
Worked alongside the Artistic Director to establish new initiatives for audience development and commercial partnerships to expand the program for an extremely busy 600-seat regional repertory theatre. Between 1995-99, took a leading role in creating the Northampton Theatres Trust, merging the Royal with its neighbouring presenting house, Derngate, managing a stressful period of change.
Director Music at Australia Council for the Arts
“As Director of Music at the Australia Council for the Arts, I am extremely familiar with Nigel’s successful leadership of the Queensland Music Festival. The QMF is a complex, geographically vast, important cultural event. Nigel has grown the scale, impact and relevance of the organisation significantly. He has worked comfortably with multiple artistic directors, board members and government representatives, skilfully managing a large team and multiple partners. I’ve personally admired Nigel’s capacity to drive and deliver on a long term and ambitious plan. I highly recommend Nigel.”
James Morrison AM
Head of School at James Morrison Academy of Music, University of South Australia
Nigel is one of those rare individuals who manages to combine a strict work ethic and adherence to goals, KPIs and procedures with real heart and a passion for not only the ‘mission’ but the people with whom he works. A caring and considerate person, he always creates an environment where co-workers feel they can achieve their best and are encouraged to contribute beyond a mere job description. In my extensive experience working with Nigel, this has resulted in a vibrant, energetic and productive workplace where it is a joy to participate and we regularly exceeded expectations. Whilst having a healthy respect for tradition and incumbent procedures, Nigel is always quick to innovate and embrace new opportunities in a timely fashion; while in times of crisis, he acts in a decisive but considered manner. In any role where the attributes of sincerity, diligence, experience and integrity are valued, I could not recommend him more highly.
Chair, Queensland Music Festival and Senior Lawyer
On behalf of the Board, I welcome the opportunity to publicly thank Nigel for his vision, dedication and tireless service to QMF. Under his stewardship, the reach, breadth and depth of the Company and its program have all been extended. While Nigel will be sorely missed, QMF is well placed to continue to contribute to the cultural life of Queensland, and that is a legacy of which Nigel can be justifiably proud.
Business Advisory Partner, PKF Australia
Having worked alongside Nigel for several years during his tenure at QMF I can honestly say his commitment and passion to all that QMF deliver is outstanding. I have always found him to be extremely professional, open to ideas and inclusive in all that he set out to achieve. I would highly recommend Nigel for any future role.
Joyce McCulloch GAICD 'CF'
Focus on Community and Local business in Mount Isa
I have worked with Nigel now for six years in my capacity as an elected official and as Mayor. I found Nigel extremely knowledgeable with his role at QMF and very passionate about bringing successes to rural and remote communities such as ours. Nigel is such a delight to work with and whoever gets to work with Nigel in the future, consider yourselves lucky.
Market Engagement Director
In the course of running Queensland’s Anzac Centenary commemorative program from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, I engaged with the Queensland Music Festival to deliver two sets of events between 2013 and 2018 – ‘One Hundred and One Years’ in 2015, and ‘Voices of Remembrance’ in 2018. Nigel was instrumental in making these key events happen, to a very high level of quality, on time, and within budget.
I knew that I could rely upon Nigel and the QMF to proactively communicate at just the right level, be responsive when needed, and quietly get on with organising and delivering great events across regional and metropolitan Queensland. I recommend Nigel unreservedly – if you want it done, and you want it done really well, with the minimum of fuss, on time, on budget, so that you can be confident that when the Premier shows up that they will be happy, then go with him.