Communicating the Museum 2014 – a journal
Going on my very first trip to Australia I want to share my experiences with you: not only the latest trends and issues being discussed at the conference Communicating the Museum, but also the cultural diversity of this astonishing continent as well as its nature and people. Be part of it!
Part I: Arriving
9 pm: Departing at Düsseldorf Airport. Now it really comes true! 24 exhausting, tight and ennerving flight hours lie ahead of us. But this is of no relevance regarding the chance to explore this exciting and faraway continent Australia. Even as a child I used to marvel at pictures showing the diverse nature, the exotic wild life and the buzzing cities, and now Australia is only 24 hours away!
Communicating the Museum – a must for museum professionals
The occasion for this trip is the 14th edition of the conference “Communicating the Museum” which takes place every year and invites museum professionals from all over the world to exchange their experiences, to network and to gain new insights into marketing, communication and fundraising issues within the culture. This is the first time for the conference being hosted in Australia after having visited major European and US cities such as Paris, Venice, Madrid, Vienna, Rotterdam, New York and of course Düsseldorf! By the way, at the last place I had the honour to be the major hosting partner and get deeply involved.
24 hours later following unbelievably tiny seats, sleeplessness and a connecting flight leaving from one of the most uninteresting airports in Abu Dhabi we finally arrrive in Sydney! It is 7 am and around 25 degrees! How I missed that!
Sydney Harbour with the Opera House – the city’s icons
Our first way leads us straight away to Sydney harbour – one of the most iconic places, buzzing with activity and full of people. There we also take a look at the famous Sydney Opera House and decide spontanousely to book tickets for La Baladière – a ballet being staged by the Australian Ballet Company. Surprisingly nearly all female passers-by are dressed up wearing hats even though it’s a plain Tuesday! We finally learn that it’s the day of the legendary Melbourne Cup – Australia’s major thoroughbred horse race.
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia – offering great Australian art and an amazing view
After a snack at the harbour we continue visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia with its magnificent view over the harbour. The collection of the MCA which was founded in 1989 comprises over 280 works by more than 170 Australien artists and reflects contemporary Australian art over more than 20 years.
Paintings, videos, installations and skulptures reflect a broad range of topics such as change of media or the impact of feminism. Visitors are welcome to download the free app as well as take a look on the internet at the works which are not currently at display or join the conversation on social media channels such as facebook, twitter and instagram. Level one shows the exhibition Martu – art from the far western desert diplaying collaborative paintings of 29 artists from the deserts of Western Australia. The partly colourful, partly subdued paintings give a clue about the diversity of this specific landscape. Interestingly enough we meet numerous school classes with enthusiastic children dancing around the art works and enjoying the exhibition and we also come across childrens materials everywhere.
After a short peep into St. Mary`s cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Sydney, and a stroll along the marvellous Royal Botanic Gardens the jetlag takes me in and I sleep full 14 hours at one time! That is quite refreshing, but unfortunately lets me miss the conference`s cocktail reception at the Sydney Opera House – only one of the numerous social events taking place at exclusive sites and offering the chance to mix up with the other delegates.