Our People

Meet the people who make art happen at Courthouse Youth Arts

Ilana Russell


Ilana Russell is a multidisciplinary curator-producer with experience spanning visual and public art, performance and sound. Her work is collaborative and socially-engaged, seeking moments of connection in the public realm and exploring the temporal relationships these exchanges produce.

Working across various artistic disciplines, Ilana’s work has been presented with Melbourne Festival, Public Art Melbourne, NGV, White Night and Arts Centre Melbourne. With over a decade experience leading projects with artists, government and institutions, Ilana is adept at negotiating the boundaries of risk, investigation and provocation, particularly within a bureaucratic framework.

Working on the stolen land of the Kulin Nation, Ilana has extensive experience collaborating with First Nations artists and curators, and has developed and toured award-winning international works for Black Arm Band and ILBIJERRI Theatre Company.

Currently she is undertaking Master of Arts (Art in Public Space) at RMIT.

Kgshak Akec

Media & Communications Coordinator

Kgshak is a self-proclaimed storyteller, she is inspired by her surroundings and uses her vision to execute meaningful creations. She dabbles in writing, photography, videography, interior decorating, graphic design, painting, dance and everything in between.

When she isn’t off expressing her creative energy on one project or another or utilising her talents at CHYA, Kgshak can be found reading a book in a park somewhere or at home watching a visually stunning or action-packed film. Kgshak graduated from Deakin University with a Bachelor of Digital Media and Communication.

In the future Kgshak hopes to progress in the creative industry and travel the world, learning, meeting new people and creating.

Amber Smith


Amber Smith studied a Bachelor of Design Arts (Visual Arts Major) at the Academy of Design Australia graduating as DUX.

She also has First Class Honours in the Creative Arts at Deakin University where she is currently undertaking her Doctorate.

Amber Smith is a practising artist and has shown both locally and internationally. Amber is the current Curator at the Courthouse Youth Arts gallery in Geelong. She is also a tutor

at LCI in Melbourne and is fascinated with the examination of contemporary curatorial practices. She is currently living in Portarlington on the Bellarine Peninsula.


Travis Don


Travis Don is an eager tech and gear-head who is a friendly and approachable young mentor for anyone who wants to be involved behind the (very important scenes) of sound and lighting.

He completed his certificate of Advance Diploma in Sound Production in 2016. He has worked in venues such as the Regent Theatre in Melbourne, and is the current Production Technician at Courthouse Youth Arts.

A drummer from a young age, he has played in numerous bands around the region.

He is currently involved as head beat maker in two bands in Geelong and Ballarat and has been enjoying collecting an array of gear for his studio.

Amanda Sherring


Amanda spent the better part of her late teens fighting her way to the front of crowds to catch a glimpse of some of her favourite acts. A few years later her love for music fused with her love of writing and she soon became the Editor-in-Chief at Forte Magazine. Many years and hundreds of articles with musicians later and Amanda left her full time role to start her own business. She now freelance writes for various publications in between her stints overseas travelling to humid, vibrant and interesting locations.

Amanda is passionate about Geelong’s music scene and supporting emerging musicians and she does both in her role as Music Co-ordinator at Courthouse Youth Arts.

Joshua Maxwell de Hoog

2018 Visual Arts Intern

No one really knows how old he is. Joshua is the type of guy who still plays with wrestling figurines and watches cartoons, but people guess his age as ten years off. He likes to collect things, often he is busy and doesn’t know what he is doing. Joshua is still trying to figure out what he is interested in.

He has lots of ideas, and likes talking about them with people who inspire him to make them exist. Interning at courthouse is one of many things he is excited about.

Joshua believes: poetry is really nice to be read aloud and hard to read alone.