DanceWize NSW is a program of NSW Users and Aids Association, the leader in peer-led harm reduction in NSW. DanceWize NSW is funded by the NSW Ministry of Health to attend NSW music festivals to increase the safety of festival patrons through credible and evidence based information about safer partying and delivering a range of peer-delivered prevention and harm reduction services including crowd care services (e.g. water, sunscreen, information) through to hosting a dedicated care space to look after festival goers who are experiencing difficulty or simply need a time out.
DanceWize NSW works closely with festival promoters, emergency medical, police, and security service providers to support a coordinated, safety-focussed approach. As part of our 2-year trial program we have developed a steering committee to assist with communication and service development and includes members of NSW Ambulance, NSW Health, Harm Reduction Victoria, NSW Police Drug Policy, Mothership Events, and Ranwood Solutions (specialist onsite festival emergency service provider) who advise our team on effective solutions, best practice and general encouragement and support in program delivery as we establish ourselves at events and festivals in the state of NSW.
The DanceWize NSW team numbers over 100 NUAA staff members and volunteers. Key NUAA team members are:
DanceWize NSW team:
Jessica Murray (Jessie Ray)
NUAA Management team:
Mary Ellen Harrod
Our KPE Leadership Team (Shift Leaders) are: Jacinta Bourne, Lisa Andreyeva, Erica Franklin, Cam Benson, Cameron Dalrymple, Shahrad Salimian, Matt Dibbayawan, Chris Eassey, Bekk Moffitt, Alice Pierce, William Swann, and Jason Gregory-Jones.
Our volunteers, Key Peer Educators (KPEs) are what makes DanceWize NSW so effective - stay tuned for their biographies!
Jessica Murray (Jessie Ray) is one of the DanceWize NSW Coordinators and has been with NUAA since 2017.
Jessie has been an energetic volunteer, patron, arts manager, and multidisciplinary artist, in the festival circuit for over 10 years. She has an irrepressible passion for community and arts-focussed events and has entered the harm reduction community at DanceWize NSW’s inception. Her strengths include public speaking, project management, strategic/operational problem-solving, fire performance, and visual art.
Jessie has 5 years of corporate and community event management experience, in international conferences and her own initiative Art Party, which engaged emerging arts practitioners for events in Australia, Indonesia, Uganda, Canada, Russia, USA and UK.
In her spare time, Jessie helps run the Australian Defence Force ARRTS program, aimed at supporting personnel with PTSD, trauma, injury and illness. This program empowers defence personnel and first responders to engage in creative expression of their lived experience and use this expression to heal and rebuild their lives.
Dan Burns has been a Coordinator of DanceWize NSW with NUAA since 2017.
Dan has been working and volunteering in music festivals and events across Australia for approximately 15 years, including running his own small events company, Grumpy Wombat, which has been raising money for various charities through the power of music since 2012. He loves a variety of music, from metal to hardstyle, and 90s pop to drum n bass.
Dan began volunteering for DanceWize in Victoria in 2010, before working for the program at Harm Reduction Victoria as Assistant Coordinator, then as a Coordinator, between 2011 and 2015.
He has also been a member of the board of the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) since 2014. Dan had hoped to establish a NSW chapter of the DanceWize program since his time with the Victorian program, and in September 2017, he made the move from Melbourne to Sydney to help establish the newly funded DanceWize NSW.
Dan is extremely passionate about the health and human rights of people who use drugs, especially in the music festival space.
MARY ELLEN HARROD
Mary Ellen Harrod joined NUAA as CEO in January 2015. At NUAA, and in her previous career as a researcher, Mary has been committed to community engagement and the belief that empowering marginalised communities is fundamental to addressing issues of health equity. Her interest in peer education and preventing harm at music festivals stems from her love of live music, her role as the mother of a young festival attendee and her commitment to bringing peer education and engagement to diverse communities of people who use drugs. The DanceWize NSW project arose from multiple discussions with Jenny Kelsall, the late and much treasured EO of Harm Reduction Victoria (HRVic). Jenny’s generosity and commitment to seeing the highly successful HRVic DanceWize model replicated across the country resulted in the establishment of the NSW project.
Charles recently joined NUAA as Deputy CEO at the start of 2018.
His entire career, the core of himself, has been dedicated to working for the improved health and human rights of drug users, mostly in the arena of injecting related drug use, so often the hidden group bearing the fullest, most fearsome brunt of societal attitudes.
Previous to NUAA Charles gained experience in Australia as the Programs Manager/Acting EO at Harm Reduction Victoria and got to understand and develop his skills in the festival space with DanceWize being an integral component of work there.
Currently part of his role in the NUAA family is to oversee the incredibly important (2-year initial contract with the Ministry of Health) efforts of DanceWize NSW and particularly the Coordinators Jessie and Dan.
Like any service NUAA provides, it is very much geared within a humane, non-judgemental approach, the cornerstone of Harm Reduction and a NUAA tenet: care with empathy, strength through unity and respect through lived connection.
He is proud and loud when it comes to all things that serve natural justice.
“I am glad to be with a group of people that work to make a difference, speak out to say that things can change, and put my shoulder to the wheel of health access and reform.”