17 January 2023

Farewell to our Comms & Admin whizz, Jes Layton!

After nearly 5 wonderful years with Express Media and Voiceworks, we are saying a heartfelt goodbye to Jes Layton who has for the last 4 years been our wonderful Communications and Administration Coordinator! Jes has tirelessly put his all into both Express Media and Voiceworks behind the scenes and is excited for what Express Media and Voiceworks are getting up to next!


photography by Michael Earp


“ I am incredibly grateful for all of the development and support Express Media has given me as I have made my home in Melbourne and in the wider arts/literary sphere on a national scale. Express Media and Voiceworks will always have a place in my heart, and I have truly enjoyed my time as a part of the team, and although I am moving on, I am not moving far (*spoilers!*)

I want to thank the entire Express Media community for the opportunity to be a real part of so-called Australian lit in this way. I have grown so much (as has my confidence) and I am so stoked to use everything I am now in my next role. I will never forget the kindness of all the team members I have had the pleasure to work with at Express Media, from Pippa Bainbridge and Lucy Adams in 2015 to Magenta Sheridan, Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn and Adalya Nash Hussein in 2022.

As a part of our goodbye, we sat down with Jes to chat about her time with us, what applicants might expect from the Administration and Communications role, and what she is wanting from the future.

1) What’s some advice you have for arts workers wanting to take on this role in the future?

Outside of never underestimating the power of that damn STAR method in your job applications? Honestly, my best advice is to come into this role understanding that this is a developmental role. You don’t have to know everything right away. Just as Express Media wants to develop young storytellers it also works to develop young arts workers. You will be working in a small team and sometimes that will be stressful! But at the end of the day nothing is worth your own mental health, and in taking on this position with Express Media you will have the safety and hell, be even encouraged to put your mental wellbeing first. Express Media really is a team organisation and you will become something of a jack of all trades (in a good way!) in this role as everyone on the team works to support each other. Come what may!

2) What are some of the things you learnt in your time being Express Media’s Communications & Administrations Coordinator?

As I said, being in this role gave me a lot of experience that isn’t outlined in the PD due to the collaborative and developmental nature of the position and Express Media internally. Because of this, I really got a taste for finance management (I know! Coming from the guy who didn’t pass Year 9 maths) as well as a taste for grant funding and governance.

The biggest thing I think I got from the role was a confidence and self assuredness in my knowledge of the industry, of the specific literary community in Australia (and in particular Naarm) and just confidence in myself. All while still being able to maintain my own creative practice- most emerging arts worker’s dream!

3) What were some of your highlights of the experience?

The times I tended to enjoy the most in my role were the little wins I was able to celebrate with my teammates. I came into the Express Media community before the initial 2017 arts funding cuts, and was well entrenched in the community and team when that particular blade came down on our heads. Despite the continuing challenges, and devastations of dwindling funding, everyone at Express had (and has) hope for the future, belief in what they do and who we do it for (young writers, editors and artists nationwide). This shared value continuously brought us all together to create and facilitate the creation of amazing, experimental and boundary pushing work. Every Voiceworks issue we published, every writing prize, every fellow announcement, every Toolkits season or NEWS Conference concluded, every kind email received or alumni reaching a new milestone in their career would light up the whole Express Media office and remind us all of why we did what we did, despite institutional and unavoidable  adversity.

Express Media is a small but passionate team indeed, and I was reminded every day of the power of that passion.

4) What’s coming up next for you? 

I am not allowed quite yet to say too much of what I will be up to, but my time with Express Media (and some of my other arts admin/management roles as well) has solidified for me that when it comes to arts and literature making in so-called Australia, I want to be a part of it. I want to help others develop their work and their craft. I want to help them perform their pieces, attend exclusive workshops, access authors, lit agents, and community they haven’t been able to access before with their crappy internet connection in rural oz.

I want to continue all I have been doing and more, and I can thank Express Media for giving me the confidence and undoubtedly the bulk of my skillset to pursue this.


We wish you all the luck on your new position Jes and we will miss you very much!


We are currently looking for two staff positions, one the Communications and Administration Coordinator role and the other a new Creative Producer.

Applications for each position close at 12.00pm AEDT on Friday 3 February. For more details about these roles, including how to apply, please visit our Work with Us page.