Cultural Mediation in Practice

Mel O'Callaghan, Respire, respire, 2018.

Performance with glass sculptures and harp 20 minutes, dimensions variable Labanque, Bethune, France

Connect with your audiences in a personalised and in depth way through cultural mediation.

Widely recognised as an invaluable tool by institutions across Europe, cultural mediation generally refers to the process of gaining and negotiating knowledge about the arts and social or scientific phenomena through exchange, reaction and creative response. Cultural mediators work within organisations to improve the quality of the public’s visit to the museum or gallery and to broaden the possible ways of experiencing and interacting with an object and its context.

Presented by Museums & Galleries of NSW in partnership Artspace, this workshop will explore cultural mediation through a day of talks and practical activities. Accompanying workshops will train participants in the basics of mediation and how to be an art mediator.

The concept of mediation has broad applications across the cultural and historical sector and the skills learned in this program can be applied to any institution or organisation charged with the collection, preservation, interpretation or presentation of cultural objects and material. Cultural mediation within the visual art and art gallery/museum context has the potential to increase understanding, appreciation and critical thinking about the contemporary visual arts, ideas and practices.

Contemporary Australian artist Mel O’Callaghan’s experience working with professional mediators in European institutions forms the starting point for discussions on the day and her exhibition Centre of the Centre at Artspace provides an opportunity to test and explore ideas practically.

This day is most suited to curatorial, education, visitor services and exhibitions staff who are interested in learning new methods for encouraging audience engagement and community participation.

When: 10:30am – 5pm, Monday 26 August
Where: Artspace Sydney
Cost: $55 + booking fee

The day will include:
– Informative talks exploring cultural mediation in practice from four experts engaging with and pushing the boundaries of this practice
– A performance and artist led tour of Mel O’Callaghan’s exhibition Centre of the Centre
– A cultural mediation in action workshop run by Marion Buchloh-Kollerbohm, Head of Cultural Mediation, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
– A practical ‘how to train a mediator’ session led by Ellie Michaelides, Learning & Engagement Coordinator, Science Gallery Melbourne
– An optional workshop exploring the performative aspects of Mel O’Callaghan’s new exhibition Centre of the Centre

Light lunch and refreshments are included in the registration cost. Please advise dietary or access requirements at time of booking.

Museums & Galleries of NSW promotes inclusion and diversity. Please contact us if you have any access needs. Please advise dietary or access requirements at time of booking.

Speakers include:
Marion Buchloh-Kollerbohm, Head of Cultural Mediation, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France: discussing how cultural mediation is defined by her institution, how their application of this tool was nourished and evolved through interactions with Mel O’Callaghan’s work, and what differentiates this practice from other forms of public and educational programming

Mel O’Callaghan, contemporary Australian artist: speaking about her experience working with professional cultural mediators in European institutions, and the insights this practice provides for artists and cultural producers

Lee Casey, Head of Communications and Engagement, and Ellie Michaelides, Learning & Engagement Coordinator, Science Gallery Melbourne, University of Melbourne: exploring how their institution employs cultural mediation as a communication and participatory technique to engage with interesting and provoking ideas with visitors

Emily Sullivan, Curator, Kaldor Public Art Projects: reflecting on Kaldor’s most recent project with Asad Raza and their cultivators program