Dr Cecelia Cmielewski

Cecelia_CDr Cecelia Cmielewski is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University (WSU) and an arts industry leader with over thirty years’ experience in the cultural sector. She is the author of Creative Frictions: Arts Leadership, Policy and Practice in Multicultural Australia (2021, ANU Press). Her current research role is on the ARC funded The Collaborative Museum – Embedding Culture in the City (2021-2025). Cecelia was previously the research officer and contributing researcher on the ARC project UNESCO and the Making of Global Cultural Policy: Culture, Economy, Development. She was the project manager and contributing WSU researcher on the ARC-funded project Recalibrating Culture: Production, Consumption, Policy, and was a principal investigator on the ARC funded Large Screens and the Transnational Public Sphere. She held Senior Policy and Project Management roles at the Australia Council, the Federal Government’s arts funding and advisory agency between 1998 and 2011.

Cecelia was awarded her doctorate from the Institute of Culture and Society in 2018. Her thesis researches the relationship between the experiences and practices of artists of non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB) and key arts policies through a consideration of the roles of creative and organisational leadership. Her research interests address inclusion in the creative sectors with a focus on the relationship between creative production and multicultural policies. Cecelia is also a curator, including curating metanarratives for ISEA2015 in the UAE.


  • PhD, Western Sydney University
  • MBA, University of Adelaide
  • Bachelor of Design, University of South Australia
  • Bachelor of Arts, Flinders University

Selected Publications

Cmielewski, C., Creative Frictions. Arts Leadership, Policy and Practice in Multicultural Australia, 2021, ANU Press. https://press.anu.edu.au/publications/creative-frictions 

“Arts Activism in a Cultural Policy Void” in Bennett, Stevenson, Myers and Winikoff (eds), The Australian Art Field. Practices, Policies, Institutions, 2020, Routledge.

Cmielewski, C., Hilder, C., Van Den Nouwelant, R., Rowe, D., Stevenson, D., Magee, L., & Ang, I. Final Report_ Planning for Parramatta’s Cultural Infrastructure, 2020. Western Sydney University. Doi.org/10.26183/e5yg-0x03

Reports commissioned by the Local Government on Cultural Infrastructure can also be found at <www.culturalinfrastructure.org>.