2017 Program


Welcome - Mark Haynes (Cultivator Chair)
Special Guest & Host - Eddie Zammit - T.World
Welcome to Country - Mark Grist

Ben Knight - ABC Journalist

There’s a big world out there and he’s reported on a lot of it.

Ben grew up in Mildura, graduating from Mildura High School in 1988 before moving to Melbourne to embark on what he describes as a ‘spectacularly unsuccessful academic career’

Five years and two failed attempts at university later, he returned to Mildura, and somehow managed to talk his way into the local ABC station, where he eventually landed a job as a radio producer.

It was the beginning of a long and unexpected career in journalism.  After moving back to Melbourne in 1998, Ben made the shift from live radio to TV news and current affairs reporting.

In 2008, he was appointed as the ABC's Middle East Correspondent and spent four years in the Jerusalem bureau.  His coverage of the Arab Spring uprisings in Libya and Egypt were nominated for a Walkley Award.

In 2012, Ben returned to Australia to become ABC's Olympics reporter, covering the London Games.

The following year, he was posted to Washington as North America Correspondent, where he spent three years covering the lead up to the 2016 Presidential election.

Last year, Ben reported for the ABC's flagship current affairs program, 'Four Corners'.  He is now a senior reporter in the Melbourne newsroom, and regularly returns to Mildura to visit his family, who apparently, still can't quite believe he has bluffed his way this far.

Arjun Bhogal - BorderWalk
World-walker, adventurer, lived to tell the tale.

After a five year walk across the world, from the United Kingdom to Australia, Arjun Bhogal, writer and adventurer, has landed in Mildura to share his story.

Arjun’s world-walk was inspired by the millions of people around the world who have to walk miles everyday, in search of clean, safe water - each step Arjun took raised money for Water Aid, charity that helps communities around the world to access a sustainable, clean water source.

On his journey, Arjun crossed through deserts, mountains and areas of civil unrest. He was hunted by the Taliban and spent a few nights in a Kyrgyz jail after an unfortunate encounter with some corrupt police.

Arjun hopes his story inspires others to have a more global outlook and encourages them to conjure up adventures all of their own.

“I hope I remind people that they can have their own adventures no matter how big or small - that you don't have to be ‘special’ to achieve something special.”

Arjun is currently working on a book and documentary about his world-walk.

As he points out, we are all capable of achieving great things and maybe hearing Arjun’s story will be the beginning of your own grand adventure. 

11.10am  Morning Break (15mins)

George Rose - Mural Artist
She knows where she’s going.

Melbourne-based artist George Rose spends most of her time climbing up ladders and painting murals. Since abandoning her formal design training, George has pursued a multidisciplinary art practice using colour, gradients and type to spread her message.

George travels from one project to another, rarely in one city for longer then a few months completing art commissions for a diverse range of clients. She has recently worked with CURVY, Good Cycles, Jansport, Lower Murray Water, Starbucks and YHA Australia to name a few. If she’s not completing work for commercial projects, she’s on the global festival circuit including First Coat, Perfect Match, Roskilde, Tropica, Wall to Wall and Wonderwalls.

George has also been the recipient of some awards, including the Borrowed Wall Art Prize for Liverpool City (2016) and the Skate Park in Canberra (2017). You can’t stop someone who knows where they’re going.


12.10pm    Lunch Break (50mins)

Sophie Cook / Russell Kerr - Community Engagement Projects


Grace Dlabik - BE.collective culture
Passion, talent, fashion, philanthropy.

With passion and drive, Grace Dlabik blends fashion with philanthropy and she will be joining us on the Cultivator stage to share her story.

Without giving too much away, now internationally established, Grace kick-started her career in Melbourne in mid 1990s, when she took up a part time job at prominent fashion house FUBU while still a college student. Motivated and talented, Grace quickly rose through the ranks to become Head Designer.

Today she is the founder of BE. and creative studio GiDi CREATIVE, she is one of Australia’s most renowned and sought after Creative Directors. Grace is known for her work on high calibre campaigns for major brands and celebrities, fashion editorials, boutique labels, film clips, TVCs and short films. Without sounding like her CV, Grace’s fresh perspectives and adept fusion of culture and design made her the top choice for major brands such as Nike, New Balance, Baby G Shock, Puma to name a few.

Choosing to embrace an outward approach, Grace acts as a role model for emerging artisans inside and outside the fashion industry - she has helped inspire and mould many aspiring creatives around the world, directly and indirectly helping shape global standards in the fashion and wider creative community.  Her desire to mentor comes from a deep devotion to social empowerment and community and it is this devotion that caught the attention of the Cultivator team.

Grace Dlabik wants to change the world. Come and hear what she’s doing to make her dream come true.

2.10pm Afternoon Break (20mins)

Jake Barrow - Executive Creative Director Y&R

Advertising creative, mentor, best amateur boxer that never was and owner of stunning looking cat.

Growing up in Red Cliffs, Victoria. Jake attributes being named ‘Funniest Kid in High School’ as a pivotal moment in his life, according to him, that was when his career in advertising was born.

On completing school, Jake earned a degree in Design at Mildura’s
La Trobe University, before making his way to Melbourne where he placed second in the prestigious Australian Writers & Art Directors School.  

Since then he’s worked at some of Australia’s  top advertising agencies pushing actors out of planes, throwing puppies at voice over artists, creating payment systems for billboards, infecting posters with diseases, teaching puppets to ride bikes, giving courage to LGBTI kids, inventing Kanye West cocktails and setting office blocks on fire - all in the name of creating interesting ads.  

Jake is one of Australia’s most awarded advertising creatives. In both 2013 and 2014, he was ranked in the Top 20 Creatives in the world.

Jake has many career highlights including creating a global dog adoption movement and judging at the esteemed Spikes Asia festival of creativity and having work featured in the book 100 Ideas that Changed Advertising but he can tell you all about that.

Jake is a guest lecturer, he mentors young up and coming creatives and he still has time to fulfil his role as Executive Creative Director at the iconic Australian advertising agency, Y&R Melbourne.

Jake still wonders if he could make it as a boxer and is absolutely sure he owns the best looking cat in Melbourne, possibly in the world.

3.20pm Q&A with Speakers - Your chance to ask our Speakers questions.

4.20pm Closing
Thank you for being a part of Cultivator 2017, we look forward to seeing you again next year.