Meet the Tauranga CCS Panel

Jolene James (Chairperson)

Jolene James has over 30 years’ experience in the broadcasting industry. She’s part of the local breakfast show on The Breeze, is Operations Manager for Mediaworks Tauranga and a funeral celebrant. Since arriving in the city in the 1990s, Jolene’s seen local arts and culture grow enormously and is passionate about how this enriches our community. Her day job gives her the opportunity to connect and collaborate both on-air and off with a number of local individuals and organisations. This allows her to be across a lot of what’s going on and communicate this to the public on the radio and through online outlets plus identify where gaps are. Jolene has served as a member of the Bay of Plenty Gisborne Lotteries Distribution Committee and is a former trustee of The Incubator Charitable Trust.

James Wilson (Deputy Chairperson)

James is Manager: Arts & Culture at Tauranga City Council. Originally from Maidenhead, in South East England, James has been working in theatre since the age of fifteen. James trained as a theatre director at Rose Bruford Drama School in Greenwich, South East London, and then worked for a variety of arts organisations in London, including the Lyric Hammersmith, Tate Modern and The Orange Tree Theatre. Prior to Baycourt, James worked at Q Theatre, Auckland, where he was Chief Executive between 2012 and 2018. James joined Q as Executive Producer in 2011, just as the doors opened to the public. Under James’ leadership, Q Theatre was a four-time winner of the EVANZ (Entertainment Venues Association NZ) award for best small venue, taking out the award in 201, 2014, 2016 & 2017. James also won the Venue executive of the year award, and the Supreme venue person award, from EVANZ in 2017. Prior to his work at Q Theatre, James was General Manager for Massive Theatre Company, working to create and tour New Zealand stories around the country. James has served on the Executive board of PANNZ (Performing Arts Network NZ), the peak body for performing arts producers, venues and festivals in New Zealand, and chaired the organization for 4 years.

Nicol Sanders-O’Shea

Nicol Sanders-O’Shea resides in Tauranga, New Zealand. She has a MFA with first class honours from Elam School of Fine Arts and a post graduate diploma in Tertiary Teaching from AUT. She has taught in several tertiary art & design programmes including AUT, Elam and EIT, and is currently a Programme Manager and Senior Academic Staff member at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. She won the WSA New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award in 2015. She was invited to participate in the Tr6 printmaking installation residency in Manhattan, New York in 2018. Her work has been selected for public gallery exhibitions in New Zealand: Pataka Museum, Hastings City Art Gallery, Gus Fisher Gallery, Tauranga Art Gallery, Calder and Lawson Gallery, Aratoi Museum and Waikato Museum. Her works are held in both public and private collections in New Zealand.

Jo Torr

Jo Torr is a practising artist best known for her sculpture that encapsulates themes of mutual cultural exchange between peoples. The sculpture generally takes the form of costume with historical and Polynesian/Māori references. Her work often challenges the conception of sculpture and is exhibited and collected by public art galleries and museums throughout New Zealand. She has over 29 years’ experience working with collections in art galleries and museums including Te Papa, Te Manawa and most recently the Tauranga Art Galley. Torr is considered an expert in her field of museum registration. Jo is passionate about New Zealand’s art, history, and culture. Since arriving in the Bay of Plenty she has continued to seek connections with Māori communities through learning to weave flax – (raranga and whatu). She has tertiary qualifications in fine art, Māori visual art, graphic design, librarianship, museum studies and fashion design.

Jay Phreaze Chase

Tauranga-based Phreaze – aka Jay Chase – is a youth worker of over 14 years, as well as an entrepreneur, award winning MC/rapper, producer and performer for even longer.  Based at the Historic Village and Poike, her business venture “Phreaze Factory” offers fellow independent artists and performers the types of services Phreaze wished she had been able to access early in her career.  These include custom printing and photography to help artists promote themselves, event management, assisting new artists through The Purple Lab workshops for beginners, and developing workshops for more experienced artists.  Phreaze does all of this while also running her own clothing label – PFC Streetwear & Music Inspired Prints.

Although she was the driving force behind the Urban Prophetz Crew, Phreaze has always maintained a strong solo career, proving this with the release of her solo LP titled ‘Sub Zero Dynasty’.  Despite her long list of accomplishments, Phreaze considers herself first and foremost (after a Mama) … an artist.  Having relocated back to Aotearoa from Australia, Phreaze continues to produce, record, perform, host events and workshops with a strong commitment and focus around developing local artist communities.

Liz Cooper

Liz Cooper is an Aotearoa-born exhibition curator, writer and consultant specialising in contemporary craft/object. Over the last two decades Liz has worked with many artists and makers, and a variety of publicly funded and commercial organisations in both visual arts and events, in the UK, Ireland and more recently in New Zealand. At the core of Liz’s practice is curation of contemporary craft: exploring ideas through the work of makers who engage with skilled processes and intriguing materials. In the last three years she’s curated exhibitions for The 62 Group of Textile Artists, MAC Birmingham, Design & Crafts Council Ireland, CCAM Barcelona and University of Waikato.

Liz writes occasional maker profiles for Embroidery magazine (UK) and is a Design & Crafts Council Ireland mentor. Since 2014, she has been part-time development manager for Design-Nation, a portfolio of contemporary designer/makers in the UK who exhibit regularly at leading events like London Craft Week and London Design Festival. For Design-Nation, Liz leads on strategic projects, brand development, and securing grants and support though major partnerships and in-kind gifts. Other places she’s worked include The National Centre for Craft & Design, Mary Ward Centre, Studio Voltaire, Upper Street Events, and Contemporary Art Society, all in England. Liz studied textiles at Goldsmiths College London.