Dave founded Dionysus to develop a more artistic and compelling culture in Canberra. Through an extraordinary range of quality cultural projects shown on this site, his team program and manage places to become meaningful destinations. For a video on David's current work, see this HerCanberra interview.
Driven by contemporary philosophies of culture and meaning (esp. deconstruction and post-subjectivity), Dave has connected skills across programming, arts administration, event management, branding and communications, hospitality, government regulation, place visioning and place management to widen the creativity and critical response of hundreds of thousands of people. This creates more exciting places to visit and live, and nurtures harmonious communities to value creativity and, over time, greater existential meaning. In today’s fragmented world, that’s what we need most.
He is the sole Director of Dionysus and volunteers as both the President of MusicACT and a Director of Australian Dance Party.
Lavanna is the Canberra City Place Manager.
Her career started in a 1950s Rock’n’Roll café, dancing the Peppermint Twist and feeding the jukebox while slinging shakes and hot apple pie. After completing the Acting for Screen & Stage degree at Charles Sturt University, Lavanna relocated to Melbourne.
By day she set up a café at the Bundoora Homestead Art Gallery and at night managed and booked one of Melbourne’s most popular jazz and reggae venues – Cape Lounge; as well in her spare time directing plays, running a small catering business, and acting as a tour manager/publicist for a blues and roots artist.
Moving into the cinematic world in 2006, Lavanna worked for 11 years at Palace Cinemas fulfilling numerous roles including Festivals Event Co-Ordinator and National Sponsorship Manager. She relocated to Canberra in 2012 to open Palace Electric Cinema as General Manager. Actively running over 14 film festival opening nights per year, as well as running the business operations of a cinema, bar and café; Lavanna is a multi-skilled event manager with a keen business mind.
She joined Dionysus in July 2017 as Place Manager for the ANU Pop-Up Village, where she was the nexus of the uni's main social hub, overseeing daily operations and up to 20 events per week, including concerts, interactive events, cultural exchanges, public lectures and a red-hot Politics in the Pub. Lavanna has worked with the Dionysus team as the Festival Manager of both Art, Not Apart and the Greek Film Festival, and still advises the team on those festivals, but is managing 11 staff on behalf of ACT Government so is pretty tied up programming and activating our capital city.
Oli Hughes, more commonly referred to internally as ‘The Soul Man’, specialises in operations, logistics, and compliance at Dionysus.
He studied Photography and Media Arts at the ANU, where he adopted light painting techniques in his art practice and in graphic design work for local event promoters based in Canberra and Sydney.
Shortly after graduating, Oli became obsessed with Aboriginal rock art, and specifically how our First Nations people used art as a teaching mechanism, evidenced by ancient libraries exhibited in nature. He showed this by leading rock art expeditions across 3000kms in the remote Kimberley region for a high-end tour company. He was privileged to spend time with First Nations people, gaining a deep understanding of their history, cultural practices, intelligent kinship systems, connection to country, and the Songlines that have educated for over 50,000 years. With this knowledge he then moved into the field of employment and community services, working in remote communities to mentor and support First Nations people with their employment and training goals. Operating in this harsh environment for over six years, this city slicker turned off-road truck driver became an expert in using initiative to solve complex problems, preparing him for his role at Dionysus.
In 2019 Oli joined Dionysus as the Soul and Operations lead. It is an amorphous role with a clear mandate - bring soul to the city. On any given day he will be pumping tunes and bubbles while commanding The Soul Defender, researching party artillery, or strategising for the next series of cutting edge events. He is a member of the City Renewal Authority Reconciliation Action Plan working group and works closely with Lavanna to design and deliver a diversity of cultural programs as the City Place Managers.
Gupi is a native visual communicator. Gupi spent time studying architecture under Professor Mario Botta at Università della Svizzera Italiana in Switzerland. She combines her skills in architecture, photography and graphic design; to add art, colour, and fun to our stories. Despite speaking six languages, visual representation is Gupi's speciality, giving spice and excitement to the everyday.
Gupi and Jeremy combine their superpowers of visual design and communication, to create beauty in any story they tell, be it through a photo, words or a hilarious Tik-Tok. In Argentina, Gupi specialised in storytelling for events. She might be short but she dreams big! She combined her event management and visual representation skills to produce Climactivo, an international Climate Change summit with 20,000 people, and also led a team of 15 to deliver a 500,000 people, 10 day festival for Argentina's bicentenary.
Gupi can always be found behind the camera, sharing smiles with all those around her.
Isaac creates and implements events at Dionysus. In 2020 and 2021, Isaac developed a new framework to analyse music festival cancellation in the context of covid and beyond in his thesis Showstoppers: How Music Festival Decide to Cancel, which was awarded first-class honours at the University of Melbourne. While writing this thesis, he worked every weekday with Dionysus to produce Lunchbox Acoustic, a constant series of safe outdoor gigs in the middle of a pandemic.
Isaac's driving motivation is to give people the opportunity to connect with each other and the arts. He believes that eudaemonia (human flourishing) arises from the constant practice of being happy and living with purpose, and that artistic events are a way to achieve this.
From early beginnings at ANU, where he studied a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics and ran uniVibes, the student party society, Isaac honed his craft of producing events, ranging from all-night extravaganzas in a functioning church to spinning vinyl at art gallery openings. He also fell in love with music, producing several albums, DJing every weekend, and working with emerging local artists to help them find their sound through mastering original creations and working on live sound for bands.
Isaac joined the team in 2020, and has worked closely with place-focused stakeholders to develop events and experiences to facilitate connection and spark connections and joy. He also moonlights as Director of Canberra House Social, an innovative house music collective.
Jeremy Jones (or Jez to you ;)) specialises in Communications and Comedy.
Thanks to an insatiable appetite for fun, Jez has shared laughs and stories through various presenting roles on Canberra radio stations for the last three years, and currently hosts a quiz show on ABC Canberra Radio. From this experience he has learned that flat whites were invented in Canberra, Kombucha does more harm than good, and you are 7% more likely to die on your birthday than any other day. He has MC'd hundreds of events and to crowds of over 3,500 people.
Jeremy loves the community behind an event, organising events from 'underager ragers' to larger music festivals celebrating Canberra's natural icons such as the Botanic Gardens.
Jeremy works closely with Gupi to design and share some of the stories of Canberra's cultural development. On a standard day, they can be found designing content about dog parties, salt of the earth food vendors or unique artists.
Jeremy studied International Relations and Business Administration at the ANU. This brought together a passion for other countries' cultures and an interest in the practicalities of business. He understands these practicalities in a range of settings, previously working for a top-tier project management company and also running his own business, 99 Trivia, which has resulted in Jeremy presenting lectures at the ANU and on business podcasts.
Jeremy also coordinates 2XXFM’s Drive show, LocalNLive and is a director of 99 Experiences, a business running concerts, trivia nights, and wine tours in the region.
Ben (or Buda to his friends) is the texpert of Dionysus. A graphic designer by profession, a video editor by passion, but a professional technology fiddler by necessity. Over the past ten years, he has designed and developed websites and applications in Argentina, a multi-award winning technology company based in Spain, Portugal, Brisbane and Canberra.
He credits his patience and ability to solve complex problems to one thing: lego, which propelled him into nerdom.
Ben studied and later taught graphic design and audiovisual media at UNSTA (Tucumán, Argentina), and also taught in Tasmania.
Ben combines his video editing and VJing skills with design and event curation, working with some of the most prestigious events in Argentina and top DJs for multitudinous electronic parties.
At Dionysus, Ben brings event management and place activation into the 21st century through new software workflows, website developments and building innovative technology solutions.
Freddie McGrath Weber is a multiskilled problem solver working across marketing, event management, agriculture, fabrication, and creative industries. At Dionysus, when stuff breaks he's 'Mr. Fix It', in addition to backing Dave's brilliant and bizarre ideas in his role as Functions and Fabrications Lead.
Freddie graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Visual Arts, majoring in Sculpture. His artistic practice stems from an environmentalist mindset that takes the form of documentary photography and sculptural works influenced by his interactions with nature. Outside the arty party, his bread and butter are marketing and events work where his talents stem from content creation through to event management and innovation. Outside of the studio or big smoke, you can find Freddie on his family farm in the Majura Valley developing agribusiness ideas that have local and industry impact.
Tegan Garnett curates and coordinates with the team at Dionysus, while also making sure the office dog, Frida, gets regular outside breaks.
Tegan came to Dionysus by her role as Program Coordinator of Art, Not Apart festival (2019, 2020) while studying a Bachelor of Arts at ANU, majoring in Philosophy and minor in Art History. Captured by events that intentionally bring people together to stir and stimulate emotions in the individual, she has strong beliefs in Art's imperative role in inciting movement, resistance, change, and unity.
Canberra's Arts scene is a great inspiration for Tegan, especially collaborating with and being privy to the work of local artists and other curators. As Creative Producer and Director of both Renaissance (2018) and pop-up local art gallery Degenerate & Six (2018), she has worked with a large number of emerging and established local artists. From working on the Inner North Art Prize team (2018), Art and Design Editor for BMA Mag (2018), Décor Coordinator for Groovin' the Moo (2019), and Manager of The Front Gallery (2019), Tegan has obtained insight into the professional world of Canberra's thriving creative scene, the movers and shakers of which she has great faith in and admiration for.