Member Profile : Ian RT Colless

Ian is a member of the Dharabuladh (Therabluat) clan of the Gundungurra people, & a mixture of Walsh and Irish heritage. He is the Grandson of the late Aunty Dawn Colless who made many milestones, awarded the Australian Centenary Medal (a Federal award to honour people who have made a contribution to Australian society or government), & chosen to be a torchbearer for the 2000, XXVII Olympiad in the Blue Mountains.

Currently he is working with the Australia Council for the Arts as the First Nations Project Officer, with the Capacity Building team. Ian has been involved in the development of Custodianship Program.

The Custodianship Program is designed by First Nations leaders for First Nations leaders to transform sustainability in culture, practice, community and the arts. Gathering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts leaders from across Australia, Custodianship Program transforms people. 

Ian is a graduate of Newtown High School of the Performing Arts (NHSPA). He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Creative Industries. A Bachelor of Arts (1st Class Honours) from Edith Cowan University’s, Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts (WAAPA), & a Masters of Arts from New York University’s (NYU), Steinhardt School of Culture Education & Human Development. At NYU Ian completed an Independent Study & designed a curriculum, through full-time study, coursework & participation with the American Ballet Theatre (America’s National Ballet Company) & observation of The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School (NYC). 

Ian has taught at NYU, QUT, WAAPA, Aboriginal Centre of Performing Arts (ACPA), The University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Sydney Dance Company Pre-Professional Year, & NAISDA Dance College. His formal education & professional experiences around the globe have seen him ascertain expertise to lead, design, organise & deliver exceptional: programs, workshops, resources, syllabus & curriculum to a variety populations & mixed demographics internationally. 

For 11 years Ian has been Artistic Director, Producer & Chief Choreographer of Untitled|Collective (U|C) since he founded it in Brisbane with Co-Founder Madeleine Johns. 


Ian has held three public service roles at Arts NSW (now formally known as Create NSW). Over the duration of these roles Ian was involved implementing (Stage Two) of the NSW Aboriginal Arts & Cultural Strategy (2015 – 2018) into the sector.

See Ian at First Nations Led Approaches to Creative Engagement.

Organisation Colleagues

Arts Ablaze is a conference and celebration of regional arts in Queensland taking place at Ramada Resort Kooralbyn Valley on Wednesday 2 to Sunday 6 October 2019.

Ramada Resort Kooralbyn Valley
Oct 02 2019 To Oct 04 2019