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US director to run Melbourne festival

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Melbourne, Australia

Kristy Edmunds, founder and director of the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, is to succeed Robyn Archer as director of the Melbourne International Festival in 2005 and 2006.

The annual October event has only been run by a non-Australian once before, in its inaugural year of 1986 when the Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti presided over what was then called the Spoletto Festival. Previous directors have included designer John Truscott, director Richard Wherrett and impresario Cliff Hocking.

The 38-year-old Edmunds, who beat a field of 35 applicants, is a film-maker, photographer, installation artist, curator, choreographer, film festival programmer, director of Portland’s Time-Based Art Festival and creative consultant and policy adviser to many US architectural firms and government bodies. She is on the board of Artists for a Hate-Free America and has received many awards for her support of free speech.

The Victorian State Government recently slashed funding for this year’s festival by A$1 million. The festival’s recurrent grant of A$2.5 million remains constant but its top-up grant has been reduced to A$3 million.