Jess Scully is passionate about empowering everyone to participate in the life of their city, connecting people with creativity, and preparing communities to take advantage of the opportunities a sustainable and inclusive future could offer us all.
For the past twenty years, Jess has charted a unique career as a leader in the knowledge and creative economy, directing ground-breaking festivals, bringing organisations together to expand access to culture and creativity, enhancing public space to transform people’s experience of Sydney, and supporting the industries of the future.
From 2009 to 2017 Jess was the founding director of Vivid Ideas, Australia's largest creative industries event, a 23-day event which enlivens the city with talks, workshops, exhibitions and events. Jess has curated creative sector events including Junket, TEDxSydney and Curating Participation. Jess was a founding contributor to the Sydney Culture Network, a city-wide collaboration of cultural institutions co-ordinated by UNSW Art and Design, launched in late 2017.
In 2016 Jess was elected as a Councillor for the City of Sydney as part of the Clover Moore Independent Team, where she has focused on several issues she is passionate about: supporting the revitalisation and growth of Sydney’s nighttime ecology, exploring new models to address the housing crisis, nurturing a transition to the workforces and workplaces of the future, and protecting our digital rights in the public realm. She is committed to opening up local politics to younger and more diverse people, to expand who plays a role in shaping the life of the city. As part of her council duties, Jess is the co-chair of the Nightlife and Creative Sector Advisory Panel and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel, chair of the Curatorial Advisory Panel, deputy chair of the Cultural and Community Committee, and member of the Audit Risk and Compliance Committee.
In the past, Jess has served as an arts policy advisor to the NSW Minister for the Arts, directed the Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards and the Creative Cities East Asia project, established 2SER’s so(hot)right(now) weekly arts radio show, curated public art projects, and began her career as editor of creative industries publications including Yen, Empty, SummerWinter and Hotpress.