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WAM looks ahead to a new year, a new era and a new CEO

21 Jan


After seven years at WAM (West Australian Music), Chief Executive Officer, Mike Harris, has announced that he is moving on.

Harris originally took on the WAM CEO position in February, 2014, returning to his hometown of Perth after 15 years, having achieved at a high-level in a variety of East Coast arts administration roles.

The search for a new CEO begins now as Harris leaves Perth to embark on a new opportunity in the Northern Territory.

“Working at WAM – and being back home in Perth – has been a great time and I feel I leave WAM in a better place than I started,” Harris says.

“WAM is well placed to move into the next stage of its illustrious and important life as WA’s peak music body – one that delivers strongly to the local music scene which, as we know, is the best in Australia.”

WAM President, Al Taylor, echoes this sentiment, noting that the challenges faced in the past have prepared WAM for an even more productive future. 

“When Mike joined back in 2014 the organisation was facing some significant challenges,” says Taylor, “and he worked swiftly to ‘right the ship’. Since then, he has laboured passionately and tirelessly on behalf of the contemporary music sector.

“He was a driving force in the critical WA Contemporary Music Economic Study which paved the way for the current Government’s Contemporary Music Fund. He has implemented initiatives too numerous to list. All of which have helped develop and grow the sector.  This includes the evolution of WAMFest which is now a significant event that draws international interest, showcases and celebrates WA music.”

As it bids Harris a fond and grateful farewell, WAM enters 2021 with renewed energy following a more-than-difficult year for the music industry. Also laying in wait is the Labor Government’s potential extension of the Contemporary Music Fund for a further four years and another $3 million if re-elected.

Having been postponed in November, 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the WAMFest presented by Act Belong Commit, WAMCon and WAMAwards celebrations will make a welcome return in March.

This means that WAM’s next CEO will certainly have a lively start to their new role.

“WAM is on a mission to galvanise and connect the whole WA industry for the benefit of the industry and all of WA,” Taylor says. “We have been very fortunate to have Mike as the leader for the last seven years and we have made a lot of progress.

“There is, of course, so much more to do. With the current strategic review in full swing and freshly settled into our new Northbridge home, we see the opportunity to bring in a new CEO to build on the work already done and see in a new era for WAM – as we continue on our journey to achieve our mission.”

Application details for this important WA cultural position will be announced shortly via

Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The ArtsGovernment of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lottery West, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.