Sync is a training programme designed to energise, inform and ultimately change disabled and Deaf people's relationship with leadership, by offering support, encouraging dialogue and designing leadership interventions.

It provides fresh perspectives and also challenges deep seated thinking about leadership and disability. Designed to be radically different to any other training programme for people with disability, it takes its inspiration and name from syncopation – the emphasis on an unusually un-emphasised beat.



Authentic Leadership image taken at SYNC workshop

Authentic Leadership image taken at SYNC workshop


The Sync Leadership residency in Australia is a programme for up to 12 people with disability designed to take the Sync thinking and learning deeper. It is a five-day training course, looking at leadership theory and coaching principals in relation to leadership. The decision to undertake this opportunity aligns with the Australia Council Disability Action Plan leadership goal, to explore the development of a leadership training program for artists and arts workers with disability at a national level.

The Sync Leadership residency is presented by Jo Verrent, a UK based artist, producer and consultant with disability who specialises in the development of diversity and access, currently Senior Producer with Unlimited. Jo Verrent is the co-founder of Sync – and its sister programme in the south-east of the UK. In Australia, Sync is also presented with assistance from Emma Bennison, CEO of Arts Access Australia.

Sync leadership pairs leadership learning and one-to-one coaching. Participants initiallly undertake leadership training, including five full days of face-to-face development work as a group. Following the residency each member will be offered a limited number of personal coaching sessions over the following six months with Jo Verrent, course leader and/or Sarah Pickthall (co-creator of Sync) with options ranging from face to face, by telephone, email or messenger.

In 2014, the Australia Council for the Arts has invested significantly in its future leaders, by covering all costs of the programme and associated travel. The cohort of applicants were selected on the basis of their demonstrated leadership potential, commitment to the arts sector, and the potential benefits of the training to extend their leadership career. This year’s successful applicants will be profiled on Disability Arts International soon, and include:



  • Janelle Colquhoun – QLD
  • Morwenna Collett – NSW
  • John Flannagan Willanski – SA
  • Janice Florence – VIC
  • Emma J Hawkins – VIC
  • Belinda Locke – QLD
  • Liz Martin – NSW
  • Gaelle Mellis – SA
  • Racheal Missingham – QLD
  • Michelle Ryan – SA
  • Sophie Sherriff – VIC
  • Gaele Sobott – NSW


A press release about the programme can be found on the Australia Council website. Morwenna Collett’s Unlimited blog about her secondment can be found here