Regional & Public Galleries Conference 2023


The 2023 RPG NSW conference will explore the role of galleries as dynamic, sustainable, and transformative spaces, as we tackle future challenges and continue to evolve as creative centres for our regions.

Skip to Day 2


8:15 – 8:45 Registrations
8:45 – 9:00 Welcome to Country & Smoking Ceremony
9:10 – 9:45 Opening Addresses

Rachael Parsons, Director, NERAM / President, RPG NSW
Ben Franklin MLC, Minister for the Arts, Aboriginal Affairs, Tourism and Regional Youth
Russell Fitzpatrick, Bega Valley Shire Mayor
Peter Wood, Regional Arts & Partnership Manager, Create NSW

9:45 –10:45 In Conversation: From Art World Peripheries to Centres for the Future

Skye O’Meara, General Manager, APY
Sally Scales, Collective Group and Artist

Artist and advocate, Sally Scales, will join General Manager of the APY Art Centre Collective, Skye O’Meara in conversation. Sally is a Pitjantjatjara woman from Pipalyatjara in the far west of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in remote South Australia. She has worked with the APY Art Centre Collective since 2013 in Cultural Liaison, Elder Support and Spokesperson roles and is a member of the Uluru Statement Dialogue Leadership. Sally turned her focus to her artistic practice in 2020 and held her first exhibition at the APY Gallery Adelaide in March 2021.

Skye O’Meara, General Manager of the APY Art Centre Collective, is an accomplished leader and passionate advocate for the Indigenous art industry. With over 13 years of experience, Skye has worked tirelessly in various roles to support and promote the vibrant culture and artistic expressions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

10:45 – 11:15 Morning Tea
11:15 – 12:00 Session 1 From Art World Peripheries to Centres for the Future: New Arts & Cultural Facilities in Regional NSW

Demographic changes, shifts in work and education, and a myriad of other factors have led to significant transformation in towns across New South Wales. Despite the challenges of the last three years, new art precincts and gallery redevelopments have emerged between 2020 to 2023 with a focus on regionality, community and diversity. This panel will share their experiences of new and re-imagined cultural spaces.

Sabrina Roesner, Arts and Sustainability Manager, Blue Mountains City Council
Iain Dawson, Director, SECCA
Lizzy Galloway, Curator, Mudgee Arts Precinct
Megan Monte, Director, Ngununggula, Southern Highlands
Lucy Stranger, Curator, Orange Regional Gallery

12:00 –1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 2:30pm Session 2 Galleries & Museums as Accessible & Welcoming Spaces for Everyone

This panel brings together colleagues to discuss the challenges and opportunities involved in addressing access and inclusion as an integral part of cultural activity. An insightful conversation about how we can work together to create inclusive spaces that reflect and celebrate the diversity of our communities.

Iain Dawson, Director, SECCA
Liam Benson, Artist
Qianyi Lim, Architect, SECCA / Co-Director, AIA, ARB NSW, Associate Professor of Practice (Architecture), The University of Sydney
Cayce Hill, Bega Valley Multicultural Centre

2:30 – 3:30 SECCA Tour – Iain Dawson, Director, SECCA
3:30 – 4:15 Session 3 Returning Audiences: The Present & The Future of Audience Engagement for Galleries

Over the past 3 years, galleries have faced increasing challenges in engaging with their communities and audiences during extended periods of closure. At the same time, there is a constant requirement to grow gallery attendance and participation and to increase and diversify gallery audiences. This panel will explore examples of how galleries are balancing the objectives of attracting audiences to visit, as well as strategies to expand engagement beyond gallery walls.

Yvette Del Pozzo, Director, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery
Hannah Gee, Program and Exhibitions Coordinator, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery
Lauretta Morton, Director, Newcastle Art Gallery
Isobel Taylor-Rodgers, Regional Initiatives Manager, National Gallery of Australia

4:15 – 5:00 Session 4 Local Visionaries: A Celebration of Our Community’s Creative Minds

This session brings together 5 artists and arts workers from the local community to share their artistic practices and services, and reflect on their experiences of working regionally. These presentations will showcase the depth of creativity in the region and highlight some of the challenges and benefits of working outside of a metropolitan centre.

Andrew Gray, Executive Director, South East Arts
Dr Susan Chancellor, Artist
Cheryl Davison, Artist
Ruth Maddison, Artist
Liz McCrystal & Cat Wilson, Inlets – Regional Arts Services

5:00 – 5:05 Close & Thanks
6:00  Bus Departs Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre
6:30 – 7:00 Tathra Headland Talk and Viewing of Sacred Mountains Biamanga and Gulaga

Uncle Graham Moore, Aboriginal Heritage Specialist

7:30 – 9:30 Conference dinner presented by Navigate Arts

Ladies in Black: Julie Morandini, Deborah Nave, Danya Thompson, Amalia-Grace Thomson

Outdoor Musicians: Dean Gray (Guitar), Anna Martin-Scrase (Cello) Solo Church Musician: Heath Cullen

Old Tanja Church, 1140 Tathra-Bermagui Rd, Tanja


8:30 – 8:55 Tea and coffee on arrival
8:55 – 9:10 Welcome
9:10 – 10:20 Session 5 Sustainable Futures: Community Engagement through Creative Projects

This session presents a series of case studies that generate creative & sustainable solutions for the future. Dan Morgan (Firesticks Alliance), Ray Rixon & Sarah Mufford (The White Bluff Project), Dr Leo Robba (The Painted River Project) and Gillian Sanbrook (Earth Canvas) showcase artistic projects that demonstrate how we can collaborate with our communities to imagine and create sustainable solutions for our regions.

Sabrina Roesner, Arts and Sustainability Manager, Blue Mountains City Council
Dan Morgan, Southern New South Wales Regional Coordinator, Firesticks Alliance
Ray Rixon & Sarah Mufford, White Bluff Project
Dr Leo Robba, Painted River Project
Gillian Sanbrook, Earth Canvas

10:30 –11:30 Day 2 Key Note: Bundanon Trust Redevelopment

Rachel Kent, CEO Bundanon Trust

Rachel Kent is Chief Executive Officer of Bundanon Trust since September 2021. Rachel is an experienced arts leader, art historian and head curator with extensive experience working with international museums and cultural institutions. Prior to her appointment at Bundanon, Rachel was the Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Australia and has presented exhibitions in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the USA and Canada. She speaks widely on arts and culture, including TEDx, sits on editorial and advisory panels for industry and government, is the author of multiple award-winning artist monographs, and is an international juror for art awards in Asia and Europe.

11:35 – 12:30 Session 6 The Future of Disaster Preparedness

As our regions become increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters, and at a greater scale, the need for emergency preparedness in galleries and museums has become more vital than ever. In this panel discussion we will explore the strategies being developed to help galleries and museums prepare for and respond to emergencies and ensure the safety of our collections for future generations.

Brett Adlington, CEO, Museums & Galleries of NSW
Julien Bickersteth, CEO, International Conservation Services
Ashleigh Ralph, Director, Lismore Regional Gallery
Rachel Kent, CEO Bundanon Trust

12:30 – 1:15 Session 7 Resilience through Collaboration

Increasingly the GLaM sector recognises an expanded social and community responsibility, providing vital spaces to support education, health and recovery programs. Collaboration can create new opportunities for shared resources and knowledge, as well as provide funding outside of the usual cultural grant space. This panel will explore how galleries can form partnerships to deliver vital programs to their communities.

Andrew Gray, Executive Director, South East Arts
Dr Diane McDonald, Black Dog Institute
Peter Wood, Regional Arts & Partnership Manager, Create NSW

1:15 – 2:00 Lunch
2:00 – 3:30 Session 8 Embedding Environmental Sustainability in the NSW Arts & Cultural Sector

In this session we delve into the ways in which the arts sector can lead the way in promoting environmental sustainability. Sabrina Roesner, Curator and Environmental Advocate, will present the results of a recent survey which examines the current state of environmental sustainability in galleries and museums throughout NSW and launch a new environmental toolkit. Dr Lee-Anne Hall from Wagga Wagga Art Gallery will discuss curatorial decision-making and programming that takes environmental sustainability into consideration, and Connie Anthes and Rebecca Gallo from Make or Break Studio will present on creative investigations and collaborations with communities and the sector, generating solutions to address environmental issues.

Sabrina Roesner, Arts and Sustainability Manager, Blue Mountains City Council
Connie Anthes & Rebecca Gallo, Make or Break
Dr Lee-Anne Hall, Director, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

3:35 – 4:20 Closing Address: Reconnecting with Resilience: Navigating the Future of Sector Connectedness and Engagement

Isobel Taylor-Rodgers, Regional Initiatives Manager, National Gallery of Australia

In her role as Regional Initiatives Manager, National Gallery of Australia, Isobel Taylor-Rodgers is focused on enhancing public access to the National Gallery’s collections through a program that serves to develop and enrich existing and new audiences in regional and remote Australia by supporting the work of its regional galleries, arts workers and practitioners. In this address, she will discuss collaborating with regional gallery staff as a way to identify and deliver meaningful and relevant future programs and joint initiatives.

4:20 – 6:30 Close & Thanks – Followed by Casual Drinks

Rachael Parsons, Director, NERAM / President, RPG NSW