Interview – Deborah Ely

Deborah Ely was recently awarded a Museums & Galleries of NSW Individual Achievement award at the 2021 IMAGinE awards.

Deborah Ely trained as a painter and art historian in the UK before returning to Australia in 1988. She convened the inaugural Experimenta Festival of Film and New Media and was Founder and Director of Melbourne’s seminal Centre for Contemporary Photography. In 1992 Deborah moved to Sydney and took on the role of Director of the Australian Centre for Photography before joining Arts NSW (now Create NSW) as the Visual Arts and Craft Program Manager.

In 2006 Deborah Ely joined Bundanon Trust as CEO, supporting arts practice and engagement through residency, education, exhibition and performance programs. Under Deborah’s leadership the Shoalhaven institution has been elevated to a national site of Indigenous, environmental and art historical significance, and a regional hub for cultural and creative interaction and scientific endeavour.

The Artists in Residence and Learning programs have been expanded to include more than 300 artists annually from across the globe and thousands of school students who participate in unique residential creative learning programs throughout the year.

Deborah’s ambitious vision for Bundanon Trust infrastructure project designed to house the Boyd art collection, and set to transform the cultural tourism of the area attracted significant Government funding. The new development incorporates radical solutions to a changing climate, with a net zero energy target, and will be defendable against fire and flood. will cater to expanded audiences and secure its future as a leading attraction and unique educational facility.

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