Carly combines her background as a secondary teacher with a Master of Art Curatorship to do “anything from taking exhibition-focused tours to history-focused tours” aimed at “everybody from newborns to adults” at the Heide Museum of Modern Art.
“Objects can tell us so much about their social, political and cultural contexts,” notes Carly Richardson. “We need to draw in the next generation of gallery visitors, and we need to make them feel comfortable visiting our museums.”
Richardson is the Education and Public Programs Coordinator at Heide Museum of Modern Art. She combines her background as a secondary teacher with a Master of Art Curatorship to do “anything from taking exhibition-focused tours to history-focused tours” aimed at “everybody from newborns to adults.”
“A lot of my role is about providing access for the public. How we find alternative avenues to draw people into the museum as a compliment to the exhibitions.”
Alongside her work at Heide, Richardson works at the National Gallery of Victoria as an Assistant Collections and Exhibitions Technician. She works with the conservation, registration and exhibition designs teams helping to manage works of art.
“A lot of art handling is required,” she notes, “as well as monitoring of the condition of work in exhibition spaces. Dust, light and elements that can damage our collections.”
On top of all of that, she also sits on the board of the Blindside Artists’ Run Space. Juggling these roles gives Richardson insights into every aspect of the exhibition process, from selecting pieces to talking with the public.
This broad interest was reflected in the subjects she chose in her Master of Art Curatorship.
“I chose a lot of my subjects very deliberately, to gain specific skills,” Richardson says.
“Probably the most illuminating was ‘Aboriginal Art in the Northern Territory’. It was a three-week intensive up in central Australia, which I took as well as another intensive ‘Working in Indigenous Contexts’.
“Both subjects were illuminating, and should be mandatory for all students in Arts Curatorship, and proved the importance of understanding protocols for working with first nations creators. They gave me access to a lot of experiences that I probably wouldn’t have been able to have on my own.”
Another subject, ‘Finance and Budgeting’, was “painful for a lot of people!” But she says it was valuable for anybody working with limited resources within the arts industry.
“We were so lucky to have really patient and passionate lecturers who were happy to go through the basics with everyone.”
Her advice to incoming students is to gain as much experience as they can, and they can start right on campus. The Museums and Collections Projects program offers students the opportunity to get professional experience behind the scenes working with over thirty of the university’s collections.
“So if you find that you need more experience in, say, the registration of objects, you can apply for opportunities in that area,” Richardson explains. “You build your networks and gain experience at the same time.”
It took her five years to finish her degree, and Richardson says that taking the time was worth it.
“One of the huge benefits of studying part time was that I had time to think about what direction I wanted my study to go in,” she says. “I could seize all sorts of opportunities while I was studying.”