Robert Buckingham is the CEO of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, and MPavilion’s creative director. He has a long association with Australian design and the arts, and has created, curated and coordinated hundreds of art and design events and exhibitions.
Robert co-founded the Fashion Design Council of Australia (FDC) in 1984, worked in programming for Craft Victoria and the WR Johnston Collection, and was the founding creative director of the Melbourne Fashion Festival from 1996 to 2003. In 2006, Robert established Mr Buckingham, a consultancy specialising in business and project development through strategic creative planning, brand development and event direction.
Robert first collaborated with Naomi Milgrom at the Melbourne Fashion Festival, creating its inspirational cultural program. In 2013, they worked with RMIT University to bring a major exhibition showcasing the acclaimed Belgian fashion designer and educator, Walter Van Beirendonck, to RMIT Design Hub.
Deputy Creative Director
Jessie French is the deputy creative director of MPavilion. She has worked on the project from the very beginning, before its launch, as assistant producer in 2014 setting up the project and working heavily across the inaugural season’s music program and as associate producer overseeing the whole program in 2015, before becoming deputy creative director in 2016. Jessie has lectured at The University of Melbourne, RMIT University, and the Victorian College of the Arts on curatorial practice and public programs and is a curator of the Robin Boyd Foundation’s DADo Film Society, which is dedicated to screening documentaries and films on architecture, design and urbanism.
Before joining the MPavilion team, Jessie was project coordinator at Right Angle Studio, working behind the scenes on many creative projects with City of Melbourne, the National Gallery of Victoria and The Future Laboratory. Before this, Jessie worked across a diverse range of creative projects; In 2007, she was part of a small team to bring British fashion designer Kim Jones to Australia; she also worked as a photographer, and was published in Vice, Oyster, Vice, Harpers Bazaar and Russh among others; and on production of two feature films; Hail (2011), directed by Amiel Courtin-Wilson, which premiered at the 68th Venice Film Festival—one of only a handful of Australian films to feature in the selection over the past decade; and Ruin (2013), directed by Amiel Courtin-Wilson and Michael Cody which premiered at the 70th Venice Film Festival and was awarded the special jury prize.
Producer – Programs and Engagement
Sara joined MPavilion in 2017 as producer, helping to facilitate and communicate the 2017/18 cultural program. An experienced writer, editor and broadcaster, she also presents the weekly radio show Parallel Lines on Triple R, looking at how arts, culture, design and science inform our everyday experiences in the world.
From 2015–17, Sara was editor of Assemble Papers, a biannual print and weekly online publication exploring ‘small footprint living’ across art, design, architecture, urbanism and the environment. Previously, she was assistant editor at Australian Book Review and online editor at Australian Design Review. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, Australian Book Review, Vice and VAULT, among others. As a broadcaster, she has covered arts, culture & food for Monocle 24 (Monocle’s global radio station). A regular public speaker, Sara has chaired panels and appeared as a guest at the Wheeler Centre, the Emerging Writers Festival, Face the Music, Melbourne Indesign, Monash University and the Melbourne Art Book Fair. Her career highlight was hosting the Sugar Mountain x Visions (UK) Dog Show, a fundraiser for Guide Dogs Victoria at MPavilion 2016/17.
Technology and Production
Sam Redston manages technology and operations for MPavilion, and through his business Flot & Jet works with diverse performing arts projects, public events, corporate events, installations and sculptures. The many varied projects Sam has collaborated on all have a common thread of being led by creative visionaries with extraordinary technical and operational challenges—with MPavilion being a perfect example. Sam is motivated to deliver outstanding creative concepts using a blend of production, business, logistics and operational skills developed over 20 years in event production and project management roles.
Project highlights over the past 15 years include: MPavilion 2014 & 2015; Director & General Manager, Creative Production Services ’08-’15; Crown Casino’s Christmas and Lunar New Year installations ’08 to ’14; King Kong The Musical’s Opening Night Party & Eureka Tower Stunt ’13; major public art installations at Federation Square ’12, ’14, ’15; City of Melbourne’s 100m Chinese Dragon installation, Docklands ’14; Melbourne Fashion Festival Parties & Public Events (various) ’03, ’08-’12; Melb 2006 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony (Delhi Segment – Production Manager); Keating! The Musical ’06 premier season; Production Manager/Technical Director Jack Morton Worldwide ’06-’08; Business Development Manager, Gearhouse Group ’98-’01.
Communications and Development
Alexandra has worked with MPavilion for over a year and brings communications expertise honed in London, where she helped cultural clients in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Alexandra has also been a director at Edelman, a communications firm with a focus on brand marketing, and vice-president of communications at Louise Blouin Media, a leading international art and culture magazine, website and book publisher. At the Louise Blouin Foundation, Alexandra took on the role of development director, and she has also worked at Brunswick Arts, a prominent communications firm specialising in arts PR. Her extensive experience includes work with organisations such as the United Nations, Macquarie Bank, HSBC, ADACH, China’s Ministry of Culture, Christie’s, Venice Biennale, Art Dubai, Abu Dhabi Art, Sharjah Biennial, Design Miami/Basel, PAD Fairs, Stella Art Foundation, Kandinsky Prize, YSL, Chanel, Mont Blanc and Absolut.
Daniel Gladys is MPavilion’s copywriter. Daniel has a background in independent publishing and commercial copywriting. He started his writing career as the founding editor and contributing writer for a sub-culturally influential online zine before working with The Thousands, Right Angle Studio and in a varied freelance career for both independent publications and commercial clients.
Assistant to Robert Buckingham
Zoe Dzunko assists Robert Buckingham, MPavilion’s creative director and Naomi Milgrom Foundation CEO. Zoe is a writer, editor and educator with a background in publishing and arts management. In 2014 she co-founded Powder Keg, an online poetry quarterly based out of Melbourne and New York, and alongside Annabel Brady-Brown she is editor of Australian cultural magazine The Lifted Brow. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from Deakin University, and completed her Masters degree at Melbourne University, where she teaches creative writing, small press publishing and independent media.
Community Manager and Marketing Assistant
Bec is MPavilion’s community manager and marketing assistant. She is also a photographer, graphic designer and art curator. Bec has photographed for Broadsheet and Fashion Journal, with her photographic work featured in Oyster Magazine, Acclaim Magazine, I-D Magazine and Smith Journal, among others. In 2016, Bec founded Junior Space, a not-for-profit art store and gallery space in Fitzroy.