NETS Australia | Case Studies

Billboards | NETS Victoria

A highlight for NETS Victoria in 2022 was the commissioning of three new billboards, supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. Curated by Jenna Rain Warwick, this project partnered three First Nations artists with three public galleries to produce a series of roadside billboards across regional Victoria. 

Over 1 million drivers and passengers experienced the artwork with an estimated total of 1,351,000 cars driving past the three art works in total.

 The Billboards project: 

  • was led by First Nations curator Jenna Rain Warwick, and centered First Nations knowledge and creative practice.
  • was accessible to all through its public position outside of a conventional gallery and museum space.
  • specifically targeted regional Victorian audiences and communities.
  • ensured a safe and respectful working environment for all involved supported by NETS Victoria’s First Nations Engagement Coordinator and their Cultural policy.
  • avoided the carbon footprint that is typically associated with touring exhibitions.

 The three First Nations artists were Amrita Hepi, Steven Rhall and Lisa Waup, who all delivered new and exciting work that considered each work’s individual relationship to space and place. 

Amrita Hepi’s Billboard was presented at 66 McPherson Street, Horsham, in partnership with Horsham Regional Art Gallery. Approximately 504,000 cars (average of 168,000 cars per 4 weeks) viewed Aint no body, 2022. Featuring tiled images of Hepi’s body in motion, Aint no body responded to the “commercial idealisation of the black body” by appropriating the aesthetics of a typical sports or dance advertisement.  

Lisa Waup’s billboard was presented 2061 Frankston-Flinders Road, Hastings, in partnership with Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery. Approximately 560,000 cars (average of 224,000 cars per 4 weeks) viewed Journeyed, 2021. Journeyed presented a detailed and visual account of a journey. The artwork considered the motifs of travel, and questions government jurisdiction on the unceded land of this country.  

Steven Rhall’s Billboard was presented at 52 Seventh St, East Mildura, in partnership with Mildura Arts Centre. Approximately 287,000 cars (average of 114,800 cars per 4 weeks) viewed Ideas of First Nations art practice and late capitalism, 2021. Indicative of his practice at large, Rhall’s reinterpretation of the roadside advertisement aesthetic questions the commodification of art and the way it can both appropriate and legitimise First Nations practice.  

“I love that NETS Victoria is bringing contemporary artwork into regional areas – for people that wouldn’t normally go to a gallery to see artwork in unassuming places I think is a brilliant idea.”

Lisa Waup 

Innovative Touring | Contemporary Art Tasmania

Contemporary Art Tasmania’s touring program has a history of testing non-traditional touring models; it embraces emerging practices, experimental curatorial models and privileges projects that are unusual in scale, format or in their aspiration:  

Conceived by artists, Heather and Ivan Morrison and built with the Queenstown community, Mr Clevver (2012-13) combined medieval minstrelsy with puppetry and a roving sculptural artwork (a 1960s Bedford truck fashioned into a timber foldout theatre). Mr Clevver travelled back roads across Tasmania to be experienced and presented in nine small outlier settlements.

For The Exhibitionists (2014-2015), artists who are educators donated works for a tour where secondary school students unpacked, condition reported and installed the works; promoted, launched and presented the exhibition, then demounted and prepared the crated works for the next venue. The tour provided a development activity where regional students learned that careers in the arts offer more than being an artist.

The First Nation’s led Tin Camp (2021- ongoing) comprises a demountable venue modelled on Aboriginal-built camps found on the edge of Australian townships since the 1950s. Tin Camp sits alongside cultural festivals and offers a loose, inclusive program of stories, song, healing and cultural activities that engage both festival performers and locals as participants. 


Tin Camp, Mona Foma Launceston 2022. Photo: Joe Chelkowski.

HARBINGERS: Care or Catastrophe | Country Arts SA

HARBINGERS: Care or Catastrophe was the exhibition outcome of the inaugural SPUR: Regional Curatorial Mentorship initiative – a major commissioning and skills development project first presented at Murray Bridge Regional Gallery in 2022. 

The exhibition brought together five diverse contemporary artists with strong connections to regional South Australia to make ambitious and daring new work addressing themes of climate and environment.  

The mentorship component evolved over two years and provided two regional practitioners with an opportunity to grow their curatorial and project management skills. Whilst recent years have seen a rise in curatorial mentorship programs, this initiative raised the bar by facilitating two mentees to participate in exhibition development through direct curatorial engagement. Being privy to this creative process is especially rare for those in the early-career practitioners.   

Inviting artists from different career-stages and locations fostered strong relationships between them, forging a strong expansive network. Built into the creative development were opportunities to come together for communal sharing, creating moments to highlight synergies between practices.  

HARBINGERS travelled to two other regional galleries in 2023 and 2024, inclusive of being programmed into the 2024 Adelaide Festival, furthering the reach of this project and profiling the artists and mentees across the state. 

This project exemplifies how Country Art SA are able to harness the many facets of their remit across commissioning, artist support, sector development and touring. 


HARBINGERS Care or Catastrophe, 2022, Country Arts SA major commission and skills development

Open Borders WA Regional Visual Arts Summit | ART ON THE MOVE

The Open Borders WA Regional Visual Arts Summit (10 –13 August 2023 held on Whadjuk Noongar Boodja Country) brought together 90 artists, curators, venue managers and arts administrators from across Western Australia to celebrate and reflect on regional visual arts practice. Presented by ART ON THE MOVE in partnership with John Curtin Gallery and Southern Forest Arts. 

Over four days the summit included artist talks, open discussions, workshops and presentations and coincided with the launch of the Open Borders regional arts survey exhibition at John Curtin Gallery. Speakers and facilitators included acclaimed Noongar artist Sandra Hill, cultural strategist Ricky Arnold, environmental ‘artivism’ expert Raphaela Raaber, and Open Borders survey exhibition curators Annette Davis, Jane King and Lia McKnight. Dr Renu Burr from the Centre for Social Impact led a series of open forums around the theme of opening borders to create a thriving arts ecology in regional WA, and Dr Shona Erskine wrapped up the discussion the next day with a reflective closing circle. 

Additional offerings included the truth telling Galup VR Experience , art handling and install training, a guided tour with curators Amanda Bell and Lee Kinsella of KANANGOOR / Shimmer at Lawrence Wilson Gallery, and a behind-the-scenes collections tour at John Curtin Gallery. 

Participants were asked to share their experience: 

“It is such an energetic, dynamic, considered opportunity to catch up and learn so much more. I’ve come from a whole month of literally seeing probably three to four people a day to coming to this venue where it’s just so full of creative energy. The generosity of sharing information has just been fabulous.”  – Elizabeth Edmonds, Open Borders Artist, Walpole 

“It’s very invigorating that you feel like you’ve made connections with other artists and art organisations and its created a sense of more strength in the community. And feeling sort of very optimistic about how regional arts is going and how its perceived. So it is important to nurture those connections and all credit to the organisations that helped put this together”.  – Marcia Leonard, Cannery Arts Centre, Esperance 

“It was a real privilege; an honour even, to be included in the exhibition and summit. Those four days have inspired me, reinforced my commitment to continuing to work creatively and build collaborations within my community and to keep on developing my practice.”  – Anonymous – Survey respondent 


Reasonable & Necessary: prints and artist books by Artel Artists | Museums & Galleries QLD

Reasonable & Necessary: prints and artist books by Artel Artists was the first ever touring exhibition of works by 33 artists from Artel Studio, a branch of CPL – Choice Passion Life, QLD. Many of these artists have profound and complex disabilities.  

Curated by Lynne Seear, the exhibition included prints and artist books, which were refreshingly unpretentious and exceedingly skilled and posed the fundamental questions: “Who Am I?”, “Where Do I Belong”, “What Do I Love?”. The artists addressed these questions with a range of artworks in familiar genres – portraits, landscapes, still-life, abstracts – but using a visual language that is contemporary, distinctive and undeniably their own. 

The exhibition title, Reasonable & Necessary, was taken from National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) criteria and was an important advocacy tool in demonstrating that Artel Studio is not just reasonable and necessary, but essential, providing real career prospects for this group of professional artists.  

Speaking about the touring exhibition, Artel artist Nathan Langdown said, ‘Fantastic! It is amazing. Queensland is going to get a big surprise when they see all our artwork! Their eyes will be opened. The tour will be a good tool for teaching people who don’t understand what I can do with my disability.’ 

Reasonable & Necessary travelled 6,397km to 12 venues across Queensland from 2018 to 2022, and despite the disruptions of COVID and natural disasters, the exhibition reached 24,165 visitors and engaged 1,460 people through the 27 associated community activities. 

Public programs and accompanying exhibition collateral showcased the artists’ work. They also provided access to best practice strategies for communities interested in supporting local artists with disabilities, as well as insights into the intricacies and work involved in facilitating high-levels of autonomous, participant-directed artwork production. 

M&G QLD travelled artists, carers, and Artel staff into communities to support the exhibition and to foster career and market development opportunities – while this required high-level supports, it was empowering for the artists. It also confronted the challenges faced by artists with disabilities and the workers who support them, and facilitated impactful conversations with arts and health sector workers across regional Queensland, interested in better supporting artists in their communities with disabilities.  

Reasonable & Necessary: prints and artist books by Artel Artists is an initiative of Museums & Galleries Queensland in partnership with CPL and curated by Lynne Seear. This project has been supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland; the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory governments; and the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. The project is proudly sponsored by Hutchinson Builders and Moreton Bay Regional Council. 

Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality | Artback NT

Artback NT proudly presented Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality at 8 venues across Australia over 5 years and was curated by renowned First Nations artist, curator, and researcher Brenda L. Croft (Gurindji/Malngin/Mudburra Peoples), in collaboration with members from the Kalkaringi/Daguragu communities. 

The title was inspired by the words of revered Indigenous leader and Gurindji elder Vincent Lingiari,that land … I still got it on my mind’. Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience, and visuality reflected on events preceding and following the Walk-Off at Wave Hill cattle station in protest over poor wages and living conditions. The Gurindji Walk-Off was a seminal event in Australian history, continuing to reverberate today. The Walk-Off initiated a nine-year act of self-determination that began in 1966 and sparked the national land rights movement. 

Lingiari’s statement is the exhibition’s touchstone, with stories told from diverse yet interlinked First Nations perspectives through photo-media, an immersive audio-video installation, commissioned history paintings, contemporary and historical prints and drawings, textiles and found objects, digital platforms, and extensive multimedia archives. 

Still in my mind was a richly diverse exhibition enabling audiences to explore events of historical and cultural significance to all Australians. The exhibition also presented a multi-layered picture telling the stories of Gurindji community members – those living on Country and those who have been displaced through the ongoing impact of colonisation – through interwoven First Nations standpoints. 

Curated by Brenda L. Croft, in partnership with National Institute for Experimental Arts, UNSW Art & Design. Developed in partnership between Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation, UNSW Galleries, UNSW Art & Design, UQ Art Museum, with support from the Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous Award, the Australia Council for the Arts, Berndt Foundation and ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, UQ  

This project is funded by the Northern Territory Government, the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts and funding advisory body, Visions of Australia and the Regional Arts Fun. Key Partners Brenda L. Croft, UNSW Galleries, UQ Art Museum and the Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation. Supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous Award, National Institute for Experimental Arts and ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language.

Still in my Mind Exhibition

Brenda L Croft, Still in my Mind, at Drill Hall. Photo: Alex Orme.

VOID | Museums & Galleries of NSW

Void explored the multiple ways in which First Nations artists visually articulate the unknown as space, time and landscape. Curated by Emily McDaniel, a curator, writer and educator from the Kalari Clan of the Wiradjuri Nation in central New South Wales, Void was presented in conjunction with UTS Gallery and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery. Void travelled 12,450km to 8 venues and reached 78,731 visitors in regions across 5 states and territories. The tour began on Wiradjuri Country at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and concluded at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, returning to Wiradjuri Country.  

Access was increased through significant resources developed by First Nations educators and academics, including a learning resource, a mediation handbook, artwork labels, a free take-home publication, and an Education Symposium bringing together forward tour venues to discuss facilitating this significant exhibition onto local Country, and how to engage communities through consultation and education. The artists and curator were supported where possible to present public programs and attend public forums, further increasing access. At each location artist Hayley Millar-Baker’s Meeyn Meerreeng (Country at Night) was placed by local First Nations installers who held a relationship with the Country the gallery operated within, allowing local landscapes, knowledge and histories to become imbedded in each iteration.  

Through the meaningful conversations and connections that came out of touring Void, as well as through supporting galleries with public programming, community consultation and contracting local First Nations installers over the three-year tour, the need for well-financed opportunities for galleries and museums to engage with local people on Country in ways that extend consultation into participation, employment, and leadership became clear. Learnings gleaned from Void have significantly informed our budgets and approach to creating community connections in subsequent tours and programs.  

An exhibition curated by Emily McDaniel, in conjunction with UTS Gallery and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, presented nationally by Museums & Galleries of NSW. This project was assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program, and through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. 


The National Touring Initiative is supported by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.