Research Trip to Australia – Mary’s Show and Tell

Project Date: 29th May 2014 –

In March 2014, CABN Leader Mary Morrison was selected to take part in a research trip/curatorial visit to Melbourne and Sydney as part of a Scotland wide group.  The focus of the trip was primarily on Crafts and Visual Art, and the opportunity was funded by Creative Scotland.

The aim of the visit was to build on, and establish new connections between Scotland and Australia and provide curators and project leaders from Scotland with the opportunity to experience the crafts and visual arts sectors in Australia through:

  • briefings with key curators and practitioners
  • meetings with potential partners
  • attending exhibitions and events including the Sydney Biennale
  • visits to organisations and galleries

The trip was facilitated by Emma Nicolson, Director of ATLAS in Skye, who worked as a senior manager at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney for 3 years before returning to Scotland.

In May 2014, Mary gave a presentation about the trip to share experiences and insights with local artists and curators in the Scottish Borders.   Mary said at the time ‘This was an incredible opportunity and experience for me, and I’m keen to feed back and share images, insights, publications and discussions with anyone interested in finding out more about the visual arts and crafts sector in Australia.   We visited Melbourne and Sydney and had a packed itinerary.    As well as meeting key organisations such as Craft Victoria and Object, the Curators at RMIT, and the MCA in Sydney for example, we also visited a range of private galleries including the Sabbia Gallery which had an incredible store of glasswork.  We also met with individual artists in their studios, and artist led initiatives such as Brand X in Sydney.’

The group who travelled to Australia were:

Emma Nicolson, Director ATLAS

Stephen Palmer, Development Officer, Creative Scotland

Maggie Broadley – Director, Craft Town Scotland

Diana Sykes – Director, Fife Contemporary Art and Craft

Alison Chisholm – Director, Travelling Gallery

Gillian Smith – Arts Development/ Curator, Park Gallery/Falkirk Council

Mary Morrison – Creative Leader, CABN Borders

Catriona Duffy – co-director/curator, wearepanel

Andrea Kusel – Curator, Paisley Art Gallery

Update 2017:   The trip led to the development of a group project with Australian artist Kate Scardifield ‘Archival Enactments: New Constellations’.  You can read more about the project here.