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Daniel Santangeli: Future Leaders Program

Dec 10, 2018

Daniel Santangeli is Program Manager at Midsumma Festival, Australia’s premier queer arts and cultural festival. 



What attracted you to the Leadership Program?

I was attracted to the Leadership Program because everything I’ve learnt about leadership has been on the job and from watching established leaders that I’ve admired throughout my practice. I’ve never had a chance to stop and reflect on what leadership means to me. I’m looking forward to being in the same room as a group of fantastic peers asking big questions, sharing our experiences and setting the agenda for the future of the arts.

What does leadership in the arts mean to you?

To me leadership is all about making space for others. In my role as Program Manager at Midsumma Festival, that is everything I’ve been working towards – making space for those LGBTQIA+ voices who have been marginalised within mainstream culture as well as within mainstream queer culture. There are so many rich arts and cultural scenes happening on the fringes, and for me leadership is about bringing those cultural scenes into the centre of society.

Why do you think it is important to develop Arts Leaders?

As a society, we live in increasingly politically splintered times as well as facing an existential crises in climate change. Our arts and culture determines how we think and feel about these issues that are facing us, and we need to develop arts leaders who can help us create an arts industry that is reflective of 21st century issues.


Previously Daniel worked as Program Producer and Program Coordinator at Next Wave (2012 – 2016), and prior to that has worked for Backbone Youth Art’s 2high Festival (2009 – 2010) and curated for Metro Arts’ two-night arts event CROSS STITCH (2011). Daniel is currently Deputy Chair for Outer Urban Projects, a performing arts company working with young people with migrant experience in Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs. In 2017, Daniel attended the highly competitive Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Shanghai.

As a theatre director, Daniel’s latest immersive work, Blind Spot, won the Melbourne Fringe Festival Award for Best Performance for its season as part of Darebin Arts Speakeasy (2016). Daniel’s previous works include Wheyface (Next Wave Festival, 2012), Room 328 (nominated for three Green Room Awards for its 2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival season), DJ While You Sleep (Judith Wright Centre, 2010), Several Words Associated with Revenge (Metro Arts’ Independents Program, 2008) and circus works created with CIRCA’s youth ensemble in 2008. In 2017, Daniel worked as dramaturg on the award winning Biladurang by dancer Joel Bray (Melbourne Fringe, Deadly Fringe).

Daniel graduated from Queensland University of Technology with first class honours in 2007.

Learn more about the Leadership Programs.