Curated by Nat Randall and hosted by a series of curators at some of Australia’s national institutions, these off-site artistic trips open the doors to private collections for intimate and personal tours. The institutions have designed each of these experiences, and alongside a sharing of knowledge is an acknowledgement of the role of artists in accessing and working with these extraordinary collections.


Host: Peter White

Senior Curator Peter White and the Indigenous collections team invite you to an afternoon at Australia’s Living Archive. You will be given an introduction to the Archive’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander holdings, showcasing a number of titles encompassing the archives extensive oral history collection and films form the extensive Film Australia Collection (currently celebrating 100 years of Australia’s documentary history in 2013). You will also hear how the NFSA is rising to the challenge to ensure Australia’s Living Archive appropriately represents and engages with the world’s longest continuous living culture. Peter invites delegates to afternoon tea and an informal chat about the potential for new projects and residencies and long terms plans at NFSA. This artistic tour is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates only.


Hosts: Hannah Semler and Pip Buining

Events and Venue Manager Hannah Semler and Canberra based artist Pip Buining invite you along to the National Arboretum Canberra. An arboretum is a place where trees are cultivated for conservation, scientific and educational study and display. The tour will lead you through the forests of rare and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. The Arboretum is a significant recreational and educational resource for visitors and plays an important role in the protection of world-wide tree diversity and the generation of new knowledge on tree growth and survival, biodiversity and water management. Throughout the tour Pip and Hannah will facilitate a discussion about the possibilities of the artists role at the Arboretum in the future.


Host: Stuart Baines

Education Manager Stuart Baines invites you on a guided tour of The Australian War Memorial – the central place of commemoration for Australians and a world-class museum. The Memorial is a place of story: a museum that lets the visitor look into the lives of others and try to make sense of the world that they found themselves in. Stuart’s knowledge of the collection will let you look deeper into these stories and connect with Australia’s military history; and open up a discussion about the many ways artists, past and future, can engage and work with the collection.


Host: Karen Vickery

Karen Vickery, Manager of Access and Learning, and NIDA graduate and lecturer, invites you on a tour through a selection of the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection offering a brief history of performing arts portraiture in Australia. The purpose of the National Portrait Gallery is to increase the understanding and appreciation of the Australian people – their identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity – through portraiture. In this tour of the National Portrait Gallery Karen will uncover selected portraits of performers past and present in a range of media. The commissioned digital portrait of Cate Blanchett by artist David Rosetzky will feature in this tour – a portrait that explores the art of acting and the performative aspects of portraiture itself.


Hosts: Fiona Hooton and Liz Lea

Event Manager Fiona Hooton welcomes you to the National Library to discuss the different ways artists can plum the Library’s depths from anywhere in the world. Fiona will uncover the reasons why the Library is a world leader in digital preservation techniques and will outline the range of research opportunities available to artists to engage with their national collection. Dancer and choreographer Liz Lea showcases her latest production InFlight and discusses how cultural institutions’ collections have inspired her work. InFlight includes archival images, film and sound from the National Library of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archives. Curator Matthew Jones finishes the tour by showing two items of special interest in the Treasures Gallery.


Hosts: Cris Kennedy and BOHO Interactive

Director of the CSIRO Discovery Centre, Cris Kennedy and current artists-in-residence, BOHO INTERACTIVE invite you on a tour of one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world. CSIRO undertakes a wide range of research to inform and improve the health, welfare, sustainability and productivity of people, communities, regions and industries. Over its 87 year history the CSIRO has played host to a number of arts residencies. Fans of the artist Ex De Medici might recognise the moth wing patterns in her Midnight Oil portrait hanging in the National Portrait Gallery, resulting from her many years of informal residence among the million-plus specimens housed on CSIRO’s Black Mountain campus. Cris will take you through his handpicked selection of the research divisions at the CSIRO Discovery Centre and BOHO INTERACTIVE will discuss their residency and resulting new work, Word Play.


Hosts: Robert Bell and Micheline Ford

Robert Bell, Senior Curator, Decorative Arts and Design, invites you into the Collection Study Room of the National Gallery of Australia to present a selection of costumes from the Ballets Russes from 1903 – 1933. The NGA began building a decorative arts collection very early in its history, and its presence is now well established with a dedicated department encompassing the Australian and international collections. The Gallery has continued to acquire the work of leading designers and craft practitioners who have influenced design and the decorative arts since the late nineteenth century. In this tour you will have the opportunity to get up close to a selection of some beautiful and fragile costumes and will be able to talk with the Robert Bell and textile conservator Micheline Ford about the process involved in the art of conservation.


Host: Karla Conway

Karla Conway, Canberra Youth Theatre Artistic Director invites you on an afternoon tour to Canberra’s best-kept secret, the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Australia. Displayed between the shores of Lake Burley Griffin and the NGA are outside ‘rooms’ that are home to 26 sculptures. Acquired during the early 1980s, the abstract and industrial aesthetic of the sculptures is reflective of the time. Karla will lead you through the garden on a tour of her latest site-specific work, 35°17 SOUTH: a multi-reality, location-based game inspired by the Sculpture Garden. Karla will discuss her developmental process and working with a national institution. The tour will conclude with James Turrell’s work, Within without.