OCCURRENT AFFAIR | Engagement & Reach

Across M&G NSW’s touring exhibitions there are participatory elements that promote community interaction, practical learning opportunities, professional development, and new tools for connecting with audiences. The program is diverse in its offerings, making tech-heavy exhibitions accessible to regional areas, using live performance and dance to activate audiences and spaces, and ensuring that the content of the exhibitions reflects contemporary interests and concerns.

All M&G NSW touring exhibitions are accompanied by an Exhibition Information Pack, which includes artwork lists, promotional details, installation guides, marketing templates, education resources for school aged students, and a mediation handbook for staff and volunteers, among other useful details to aid with a successful exhibition. These packs are modified and adapted to suit the needs of individual tours, and for OCCURRENT AFFAIR UQ Art Museum is working on an academic reader in collaboration with proppaNOW targeted at university students, who proppaNOW see as an important audience for this tour.




Tony Albert’s painting Terra Nullius (with Scrooge) recreates the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) map of Indigenous Australia, showing Aboriginal groups prior to colonisation.

The map serves as a visual reminder of the richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia. In the centre of the work, Albert positions the Walt Disney character Scrooge McDuck, created in 1947. Based on the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Scrooge McDuck is portrayed as an oil and mining tycoon, businessman and industrialist. Standing on a map of pre-colonial Australia, Scrooge represents the colonial businessperson who since invasion have ruthlessly extracted Australia’s resources for economic gain, with no regard for the environment or the rights of the Aboriginal people to whom the land belongs.

This work will be an instructional piece to be painted by the local community, under the guidance of a local First Nations group, artist or centre partnering with each gallery on their respective presentations. Because of this, this work can painted on-site at the gallery, but could also be painted in another public or community venue as a temporary mural.


Richard Bell’s Embassy has travelled internationally since its first incarnation in 2013. The installation consists of a large military-style canvas tent surrounded by painted protest signs.

Bell’s installation is inspired by the first Aboriginal Tent Embassy that was pitched on the grounds of Canberra’s Parliament House in 1972. Four Aboriginal men (Michael Anderson, Billy Craigie, Tony Coorey and Bertie Williams) set up a beach umbrella on the lawn outside Canberra’s Parliament House to protest the then Prime Minister William McMahon’s (1908–1988) denial of Aboriginal land rights.

Bell continues the legacy of the Embassy as a place of solidarity and resistance. As an itinerant roving embassy made in homage to the audacity and strength of the initial Aboriginal Tent Embassy creators, it is a space where people ask questions, share ideas, and create plans for a better future.

At each location on the tour, the Embassy will become a site for local discussion surrounding issues relevant to the community and Country, as well as a space for First Nations groups to speak, create and educate. The tent can be erected in just a few hours, making multiple engagements possible with various topics shaping conversation. We also hope that the sites for this discussion can venture away from the gallery space and into the community, local museums, local libraries, and other spaces of culture and congregation.



To launch OCCURRENT AFFAIR we aim to facilitate an Education Symposium at Lismore Regional Gallery in early 2023. We plan to bring together programming and First Nations project staff from the venues to learn from the artists in proppaNOW, the UQ Art Museum programming staff, the First Nations Education Resource authors, and each other, to then build upon these learnings during and beyond each iteration of OCCURRENT AFFAIR. 

M&G NSW gained a lot of insight into gaps in the sector through an Education Symposium held for our tour Void, curated by Wiradjuri educator Emily McDaniel, in partnership with UTS Gallery and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery. Through the meaningful conversations and connections of the symposium, 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 and leadership became clear. Our aim is for OCCURRENT AFFAIR to provide such experiences nationally.

The Symposium was like nothing I had ever experienced and allowed me to gain such a deep understanding on how to be inclusive and respectful of all First Nations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with events and programming.

Void Education Symposium attendee


A UQ Art Museum exhibition touring with Museums & Galleries of NSW. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body