• christinemackenzie


Lake Macquarie Council hosted around 60 people from the Gallery, Library, Archives and Museum fields at their beautiful Art Gallery on Monday 2 July to discuss opportunities around collaboration and showcase best practice examples. LAKE MAC GLAM18 offered a forum for presentations, an interactive session on editing photos for social media, an opportunity to experience virtual reality, and a guided tour through the Re(A)d earth exhibition.

The Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Cr Kay Fraser, opened the day and highlighted the Council’s recently released Arts, Culture and Heritage Plan 2017 - 2027. This Plan outlines a new vision and direction for arts, heritage and culture in Lake Macquarie City. It identifies that the City’s cultural heritage is vulnerable and fragile and the role of the City’s built and natural heritage in contributing to the community’s identity and sense of place is not widely appreciated or understood.

Caroline Geraghty, Exhibitions Manager, Sydney Biennale and Curator, CREATIVE Lake Initiative called her presentation Public Art to Engage the Community and she described the process involved in staging the Biennale and CREATIVE Lake, from commissioning works to installation to the event and finally taking it down. It was a fascinating insight into exhibition management.

I followed with a presentation Preserving cultural heritage – vulnerable community collections and the role of public libraries and talked about the global, regional and local context for cultural heritage. One of the four strategic areas of IFLA’s core work is preservation of cultural heritage. There are two vehicles IFLA is using to deliver on this - through the International Advocacy work for the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (especially Goal 11) and the Global Vision Project. IFLA has 15 Preservation and Conservation Centres based in National Libraries around the world, and there are two in our region – at the National Library of Australia and the National Library of Sri Lanka. IFLA also is a founding member of Blue Shield, which is the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross. I used a report produced by Museums Australia (Victoria) that was published in 2016 called Local Government and Cultural Collections in Victoria to identify the challenges faced by local governments in managing their collections. I also drew from an ALIA Incite issue from 2015 that provided excellent examples of what libraries are doing in local history and cultural heritage.

Mark Beasley, Manager, Geelong Heritage Centre Collection & Services, called his presentation Connecting, collaborating and supporting community-based volunteer history & heritage groups – The Geelong Heritage Centre approach. Since the Heritage Centre has moved in with the Library into the new building, there has been a huge increase in usage and visitations. Mark described the collections and working with volunteers to get the maximum results.

I learned to use a great free photo app called Snapseed which lets you edit your pictures for social media. Photographer Paul Foley, gave a session on engaging effectively on social media with photographs which included an interactive session on editing pictures. Most helpful!

A panel discussion about the Hunter Cultural Collective Project Hunter Red by the curators of the participating galleries – Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Maitland Regional Art Gallery and Newcastle Art Gallery and The Lock-Up – was followed by the highlight of the day, a walk through of Hunter Red: Re(A)d Earth with Donna Biles-Fernando, the Curator of this exhibition. Re(A)d Earth presents contemporary Aboriginal artists’ perspectives on this connection and acknowledges ‘reading’ of the earth as elemental for Aboriginal people.

It was a most interesting program and I enjoyed catching up with old friends and meeting new colleagues in the wider field of galleries, libraries, archives and museums.

Photo: With Jo SmithLibrary Section Manager, Lake Macquarie City Council

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