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The Australian Cartoonists Association’s Stanleys Conference

I’ve been organising this conference over the past couple months. Looking forward to it, and to the road trip up to Coffs!


The Stanleys Conference and Awards is finally returning in 2022! Following on from our last event, Canberra in 2019, we’re looking forward to a fun weekend reconnecting with friends and romping around beautiful Coffs Harbour. Here’s a quick preview of the guests and events so members can get their preparations and bookings happening:



Join us at the National Cartoon Gallery @ The Bunker for the 34th Rotary Cartoon Awards, featuring great art from Australia’s best-known cartoonists, plenty of delicious finger food and prizes provided by the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour.


As the conference kicks off, expect to be welcomed by your president, Cathy Wilcox, before deputy president David Blumenstein slams you through a full day of panels and discussions.

David Pope will chair our keynote discussion, Cartoon chokepoint. Working in “old media” is no picnic, but entrusting our livelihoods to tech platforms might not be any better. Do we need to pick our poison? Are there alternatives? He’ll be joined over Zoom by Eleri Harris (The Nib) and Jason Chatfield (Ginger Meggs).

Next we’ll get introductions to exciting new projects from members Adele K. Thomas, Paul Mason, Lindsay Foyle, Stuart McMillen and Damian Castellini.

Japan’s animation industry is incredibly profitable, and incredibly reliant on poorly paid young artists. We will have the unique opportunity to hear from and speak to Jun Sugawara, organiser of Animator Supporters, an independent group that has worked to raise pay standards and keep these animators housed. That discussion will be chaired by Queenie Chan (both joining us via Zoom).

Following lunch, David Blumenstein will get Inside the production of Bluey, as production manager Andi Spark, art director Catriona Drummond and storyboard artist Mike Chavez tell us the inside story of the Australian kids show that’s conquered the world.

You may not have paid attention to artificial intelligence art before, but it might already be part of your workflow. We’ll demo what AI art platforms like Midjourney and DALL-E 2 can do.

Then we’ll close the day discussing the Long and short of it with Andrew Weldon (The Big Issue, The Age), Brenton McKenna (The West Australian, Ubby’s Underdogs), Andi Spark and Megan Herbert (The Age/SMH). What happens when artists radically change the format they work in? Short-form to long-form? Newspaper to gallery wall?

Then, Saturday night is the 36th annual Stanley Awards dinner, held at the National Cartoon Gallery and hosted by satirist Dan Ilic!


We jump into Sunday with the Australian Cartoonists Association AGM.

We sometimes struggle to understand the contracts clients throw our way. Yasmin Naghavi and David Vodicka from Media Arts Lawyers will give us some help putting together less onerous ones for ourselves!

Then Mike Bowers (Insiders) hosts a massive political cartoon panel featuring Megan Herbert, Badiucao, Adele K. Thomas, David Pope and Fiona Katauskas, and the conference is done!

We’ll be capping things off with lunch for members at Two Tails Winery!

As we know, it’s still pandemic times and we want to welcome all members, including those who are infirm and elderly, so we and the Pacific Bay Resort will be taking appropriate precautions to keep members safe at the Conference, including socially distant seating and opened doors to facilitate air flow. We’ll also be providing masks for all attendees to wear during indoor conference events.

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