ABOUT ILA

ILA IS A NOT-FOR-PROFIT SOCIAL ENTERPRISE DEDICATED TO THE ARTS

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ILA is dedicated to supporting the arts, the immersive arts in particular.  

Pioneered by founders Nick and Sophie Dunstone who began the philanthropic endeavor in 2021, our mission is to create opportunities for artists to give audiences new experiences in the world of immersive art – to extend the work of traditional and digital artists, performers and musicians by providing the support and the venue that beings their vision to life.  

In the process, establishing for Adelaide a unique immersive light and art venue for the celebration and appreciation of immersive experiences in a space where creativity, technology and hospitality blend to deliver breathtaking and innovative new experiences.  

Like magnets we bring people together to tell, share and experience stories, creating a community that empowers artists and strengthens the cultural fabric of our communities. Our multifaceted institution is home to a number of unique spaces hidden behind our 150 year old heritage façade. Profits generated through ILA’s events, hospitality and immersive technologies are invested back to support our mission to create opportunities for artists.  

Our People

Nic Mercer

Nic Mercer is a culture minded leader who places emphasis on people, process and product. Nic joined the team at ILA in 2022, bringing a wealth of knowledge from his management positions in sport through to his most recent endeavour as the General Manager of Sales and Marketing at the Adelaide Convention Bureau. During his previous tenure Nic promoted the state of South Australia as an ideal business event destination. Showcasing the best of Adelaide and its regions hospitality offerings. Known for his work in unique environments from the Olympics to boardrooms and now an immersive tech, arts and hospitality hub, Nic’s passion for working with non-for-profit sectors remains true as he works to solidify ILA’s position as a global leader in the immersive technology space that creates opportunities for artists. 

Antoinette Tyson

Antoinette is a passionate supporter of the arts, and prides herself on developing and cultivating meaningful, collaborative working relationships. A proven leader with a wide and varied career across a range of industries and organisations, Antoinette joined ILA in a newly created position, bringing a wealth of experience to guide the team as General Manager.

Through a lengthy tenure at the Adelaide Festival Centre in a marketing and communications role, Antoinette had the opportunity to fulfil her love and passion for the arts before transitioning to the non-profit sector. Establishing herself as a leader across senior and general management roles in a range of not-for-profits including Zoos SA, the Australian Music Examinations Board and associate of ILA, the Elder Conservatorium of Music with the University of Adelaide, Antoinette’s experience and passions now culminate at ILA. 

Having previously worked across operational and strategic roles within arts and tourism organisations, Antoinette maintains a people first ethos and believes that staff are the most valuable assets to a team. Antoinette will support the ILA team in creating opportunities for artists, and a superior experience for audiences, patrons and supporters. 

Josephine Davey

Josephine commenced working for ILA’s founders early 2020 (pre-Light existence) whilst in her final year studying a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice. After being admitted to practise as a Solicitor and Barrister in the Supreme Court of South Australia, Josephine has worked closely with ILA’s founders to assist them in bringing their vision to life using both her legal guidance and foundational understanding of the organisation.  Josephine is currently on maternity leave. 

Kerri Bryant

Kerri joined the ILA team in 2023, bringing with her a wealth of sales experience and a track record of building long term, trust-based relationships. With over 5 years in the events industry, she is passionate about creating memorable and innovative events for her clients.  

Kieran McCann

Kieran prides himself on being a strategic thinker and doer, taking a relationship first approach backed with a trustful, transparent and open communication style to his leadership. He has a passion and belief in the power of storytelling, great stakeholder engagement, marketing and comms to support revenue growth. As an accomplished executive with extensive global experience, he has honed his craft across the UK, New Zealand, Sydney and now is thrilled to call Adelaide home. His passion for the arts started early in his career working for an art collector. As partnership manager he is thrilled to be working across the corporate and philanthropic sectors, helping them engage with our spaces, events, technology and hospitality to support artist developments and projects. 

Bilal Javed

Bilal grew up in the North East of Pakistan. Through influence, recipes and skills passed down from his Grandma and Mother, Bilal developed a very deep connection with food at an early age. Having had the opportunity to work in kitchens across the world, Bilal’s career began in Dubai Movepick Hotels and the world-renowned “The Stay” by Pannick Alléno. After moving to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Bilal fell in love with the food and wine culture of Adelaide whilst on holiday and relocated to work at Hardy’s Veranda Restaurant in the Adelaide Hills. Now, Bilal says he has found his lucky stars as he cements his position and passion at  Aurora Restaurant. Bilal is committed to ILA’s values and is dedicated to fostering a fair and supportive environment where the next generations of chefs can be trained and developed. Breaking away from traditional kitchen practices, he strives to foster a fair and supportive environment where new skills are taught and growth is encouraged.

James McLennan

Originally hailing from Sydney, James is a hospitality veteran, previously working at various highly acclaimed restaurants around the country including New South Wales Rockpool as a Sommelier. James moved to Adelaide to study and is a longstanding member of Aurora Restaurants hospitality team, quickly making an impact with his expertise and leadership and progressing to his role of Hospitality Manager, overseeing food, beverage, functions and front of house across ILA.

Elise Heath

Elise joined the team at ILA at the beginning of their second year and brings a blend of creativity, analytical thinking, and interpersonal skills to the team. Her background in Psychology, customer service and sales followed by studies in Business and Marketing, has provided Elise with a deep understanding of consumer behaviour which she leverages to create influential marketing campaigns and communication pieces. Elise’s passions for food, wine, and music, combined with her interest in how the integration of new technologies can enhance marketing align with ILA’s core service pillars and values, enabling her to share the organisation’s mission with the world through innovative and impactful strategies.  

Lewis Godwin

Lewis has over 15 years of experience to the team in independent event production, creative programming, national and international tour management. Lewis founded the independent record label and touring company – Nopatience which enabled him to connect and travel with an international community of artists and co-founding Neat Collective, acreative programming enterprise designed to partner with small to medium-sized venues in Adelaide to maximise their live music opportunities. Also working independently as an artist under various monikers, he is passionate about South Australian artists and brings a creative and holistic approach to ILA’s programming, conceptualising immersive and cutting-edge experiences that further develop our connection to the arts community.

Margo Hill-Smith

Margo Hill-Smith brings a rich blend of advocacy and arts management to ILA’s Arts Council, with extensive experience in both private and public sector roles in community work and private business.

Margo’s impact on the arts sector is evident in her tenure as Co-Director and Manager of Hill Smith Art Advisory for over 20 years where she has restructured and rebranded the business, emphasising a personalised art advisory service. Her dedication to nurturing relationships with artists, clients, and organisations has significantly shaped the local arts landscape, demonstrating a lifelong commitment to the enrichment of community through the arts.

Alongside her husband and business partner Sam Hill-Smith, Margo has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting arts philanthropy through close relationships spanning several decades. Margo is currently a member of the Hospital Research Foundation Creative Health Art prize Steering Committee and Helpmann Foundation Board and has close relationships with South Australian arts organisations such as Art Gallery of South Australia, ASO, Slingsby, State Theatre Company, MusicaViva, Helpmann Academy, Adelaide Central School of Art and Adelaide College of the Arts.

Nigel Swinn

In 30 years working as the strategic director of one of Australasia’s largest brand consultancies, Nigel has worked closely with senior executives on creating or revitalising brands and their experiences in the tourism, banking, consumer and entertainment sectors.
Having worked on the national branding of New Zealand, advised indigenous communities in Cape York on startup ventures and photographed key Maori figures for several photographic series, he is deeply interested in the role of cultural and country identity and its role in creating richer and more connected communities.
Living in Sydney, his photography has been exhibited in New Zealand and the US.

Elaine Chia

Elaine is an arts leader, advocate and producer with over 20 years’ experience in senior roles in the performing and visual arts across venues, festivals, touring and cultural infrastructure projects. As CEO of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, Elaine leads the Foundation’s flagship initiatives of MPavilion and the renewal of the former Richmond Power Station in Melbourne. Previous roles include Executive Director at the Adelaide Festival, CEO at Sydney’s City Recital Hall and Director of International Signature Projects at the Australia Council for the Arts delivering as public-private partnership projects the Australian representation at three Venice Art Biennales and the redevelopment of the Australian Pavilion in Venice, Italy.

Stephen Marshall

Steven was first elected to State Parliament in 2010, became Leader of the South Australian Liberal Party in 2013 and the 46th Premier of South Australia in 2018. Steven is a passionate supporter of the arts and took responsibility for the portfolio as Premier, driving the development of the landmark Arts and Cultural Plan South Australia 2019-24. The Plan celebrated the role of artists in South Australia and detailed a pivotal role for the sector in the State’s future development.

Steven delivered unprecedented levels of support to arts practitioners and institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping many viable in what were incredibly difficult times. The Marshall Government also began work on the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Gallery, a worldclass institution to showcase Australia’s rich indigenous history and contemporary culture.

As Premier Steven recognised the burgeoning opportunities in the space sector, securing the coveted Australian Space Agency for Adelaide, which is now home to 100 space related entities.

South Australian born and bred Steven’s unwavering commitment to making South Australia a better place continues to guide his work as the Member for Dunstan.

Nicholas Dunstone

Nicholas Dunstone co-founded and established ILA (formerly known as Light ADL) alongside his wife Sophie Dunstone in 2020. With a multifaceted career as a business leader, philanthropist, and lawyer, Nicholas brings a wealth of experience to the table. He has spent over 25 years as a corporate restructuring specialist, offering his expertise globally. Currently, he is the Asia head of restructuring for the renowned global law firm, Milbank, based in Singapore.

His professional journey is marked by extensive experience as a board member in various industries, showcasing his versatile leadership and strategic skills. Raised in Adelaide, Nicholas holds a deep-seated passion for supporting the arts and the community in South Australia which is evident through his vision to support and grow ILA. His commitment to philanthropy and community leadership was recognised in 2022 when he and his wife Sophie were honoured with the Creative Partnerships Australia Award for their work through ILA.

Sophie Dunstone

Sophie Dunstone is a passionate philanthropist and in 2020 co-founded ILA, a not-for-profit social enterprise that creates opportunities for artists through the support of its events, hospitality and immersive technologies.

As a Clinical Psychologist, throughout the last 20 years Sophie has worked across both the public and private system in Australia, The UK and Hong Kong. Her career is a testament to her interest in looking after people and understanding how to support and help them.

In addition to her contributions to ILA, she is an inaugural donor for the Community Scholarship at Pembroke School and alongside her husband Nick, established a fund to support the education of underprivileged children.

In 2021 Sophie and Nick Dunstone were recognised with the Creative Partnerships Australia Emerging Philanthropy Leadership Award. Following this accolade she was appointed as the Director of the Creative Partnerships Australia Board prior to its merging with Creative Australia. She is dedicated to creating opportunities for people and supporting the growth of artistic communities whilst being a devoted mother to four children.

Peter Hanlon

Peter Hanlon is an Adelaide-based filmmaker, and the founder of both Living Not Beige Films and Mess Productions. In addition to Peter’s five previous films, his latest film: The Angels” Kicking’ Down the Door opened the 2022 Adelaide FIlm Festival and has shown in 100 cinemas across Australia and New Zealand.

Peter is a previous Chair of the South Australian Film Corporation, BankSA Board, RAMS Home Loans and the Fleurieu Community Foundation. He was also a member of the SA Museum Board. In 2022, Peter was appointed as the Strategic Adviser to the SA Premier’s Delivery Unit and as a member of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) Board.

Peter retired from banking in 2015 with his last full-time position being Chief Executive, Australian Financial Services at Westpac. Prior to his 25 year banking career, Peter served in the Royal Australian Air Force for 20 years.

Peter was educated at Elizabeth West and Enfield High Schools, University of South Australia, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and was elected valedictorian at Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

Margo Hill-Smith

Margo Hill-Smith brings a rich blend of advocacy and arts management to ILA’s Arts Council, with extensive experience in both private and public sector roles in community work and private business.

Margo’s impact on the arts sector is evident in her tenure as Co-Director and Manager of Hill Smith Art Advisory for over 20 years where she has restructured and rebranded the business, emphasising a personalised art advisory service. Her dedication to nurturing relationships with artists, clients, and organisations has significantly shaped the local arts landscape, demonstrating a lifelong commitment to the enrichment of community through the arts.

Alongside her husband and business partner Sam Hill-Smith, Margo has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting arts philanthropy through close relationships spanning several decades. Margo is currently a member of the Hospital Research Foundation Creative Health Art prize Steering Committee and Helpmann Foundation Board and has close relationships with South Australian arts organisations such as Art Gallery of South Australia, ASO, Slingsby, State Theatre Company, MusicaViva, Helpmann Academy, Adelaide Central School of Art and Adelaide College of the Arts.

Julia Steele Scott

Julia Steele Scott is the Chief Executive Officer of JM Philanthropy and Grant Toolbox. Julia holds a Masters of Business Administration and an Associate Diploma in Accounting. Previously Julia has acted in senior roles with Philanthropy Australia, across both South Australia and Western Australia. Utilising her background in management, she works to help for-purpose organisations, foundations and corporates make a difference through tailored advice and access to best-practice grants management software. Passionate about growing giving, Julia is a founding member of Impact100SA as well as an active board member for numerous philanthropic foundations and not-for-profit organisations.