Professions* in the Public Gallery Sector

Public galleries provide audiences with opportunities to engage with the visual arts, creating a sense of connection and community, reducing social isolation, improving health and education outcomes and enriching the lives of those they reach.  This is achieved by a dedicated group of gallery professionals who bring a vast range of skills and experience and adhere to international standards, to deliver exciting visual art experiences, commission new work and care for nationally significant collections of art and cultural materials.

The PGAV is pleased to highlight eight roles within the public gallery sector and the people who occupy these specialist positions. Learn about their career pathways, the challenges inherent in their roles, and what they identify as the key issues facing the public gallery sector.

* A Profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised body of learning derived from research, education and training at a high level, and who are prepared to apply this knowledge and exercise these skills in the interest of others.  

Australian Council of Professions, 2003

ROLE: director
Jason Smith Photographer Mathew Wren
jason smith

Director & CEO
Geelong Gallery

"One of the ironies about being a Director, well, certainly something that has guided my approach, is to remember that just as your staff team is working with and for you, you are working for them." 

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ROLE: director
Jessica Bridgfoot (2 crop)
Jessica Bridgfoot

Bendigo Art Gallery

"I think in the era of ‘experienced based culture’ maintaining relevance and the ability to be responsive and agile to the market is challenging – particularly in institutions that are historic, and collection based." 

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role: director (dual leadership model)
Lesley Harding Heide MoMA (crop1)
lesley harding

Artistic Director 

Tim Sligo (crop1)
Tim sligo

Executive Director

Heide Museum of Modern Art

"Deep knowledge of art and curatorial practice, and business and finance experience and acumen are not necessarily mutually exclusive, however, there is much potential benefit to having two minds and skill sets working in concert in the gallery/art museum environment."

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The Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the lands where our office is located, and all Traditional Owners of country throughout Victoria and Australia. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enduring traditions and continuing creative cultures. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.