Simon Wright

Assistant Director, Learning and Public Engagement – QAGOMA

Simon has held positions in private, public gallery and museum realms since 1993, having delivered in excess of 250 exhibition, programming and publication projects.

Currently Assistant Director (Learning and Public Engagement) at Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), he was formerly Director of Griffith Artworks + Griffith University Art Gallery (2005-12), and Exhibitions Manager at Brisbane City Gallery (now Museum of Brisbane).

He received a Museums Australia Gallery and Museum Individual Achievement Award in 2004-5, a National Australia Bank Partnering Award [QLD] at the Australia Business Art Foundation Awards in 2006, and joined the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation in 2007. In 2009 he was appointed to The Commissioner’s Council for Australia at the 53rd Venice Biennale and subsequently joined the Venice Biennale Champion’s Program for Australia. Between 2010-12 he served on the Queensland College of Art Industry Advisory Board and since 2013 has served as a Board Member of the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane.


Cultural institutions – How their connection to community helps shape a Place Brand

As Brisbane continues its evolution as “Australia’s New World City”, the importance of thriving creative industries cannot be understated. Our creative industries ecosystem is critical in positioning the city as being at the forefront of dynamic engagement with Australia, Asia and the Pacific.

The Queensland Art Gallery I Gallery of Modern Art plays a vital role in that ecosystem and aligns to the city’s broader objectives by generating and promoting culture locally, showcasing international exemplars, and by researching and servicing a range of audience segments. We seek to be an active part of civic life, for local residents, onsite, and in over 100 remote and regional parts of the state. This engagement sees QAGOMA often being cited as a major contributor to ‘success metrics’ indicative of community pride, economic impact and destination marketing. However, our impact on macro-level indicators boils down to our work ‘in community’ that extends to niche service delivery that transforms the lives of the individuals we reach. As such, recognising that our work with communities contributes to broader ambitions is critical.

This session will illustrate how particular examples of QAGOMA’s programming has shifted our ‘core business’, mission and vision, and will argue how any museum – local, regional or private – can be a more active player in how your ‘place’ is conjured in the mind of locals and from elsewhere.