Imogen Dixon-Smith is curating goals on her way to the Venice Biennale

Venice Biennale Emerging Arts Professional - Imogen Dixon-Smith. Photo by Emily Phipps.

Venice Biennale Emerging Arts Professional – Imogen Dixon-Smith. Photo by Emily Phipps.

Up and coming curator Imogen Dixon-Smith will be one for four Emerging Arts Professionals attending the Venice Biennale this year in May. We spoke to Imogen about being selected to participate in Australia Council’s Venice Biennale Professional Development Program.

What do you hope this experience will do for your career as an arts professional?

I am hoping to be given the space and freedom to engage with the ideas being tested and explored in contemporary art practice across the world. It’s easy to get caught up in the Australian context and the everyday pressures of work. You forget to look more broadly. I am incredibly excited to expand my mind and formulate some exciting curatorial and writing projects. As frightened as this makes me, I’m excited to be taken out of my comfort zone and improve my networking skills.

Tell us about your current role as Assistant Curator at Artbank?

Artbank is an incredible program that supports Australian contemporary artists through the acquisition of their work. Our operations are funded through the leasing of works from the collection and it is wonderful to see a sustainable arts funding model in action. As Assistant Curator, I help coordinate and curate exhibitions in our gallery space. I also assist in the process of acquiring works for the collection and work closely with our collection management system. There’s a little bit of everything, which keeps things interesting. I’m looking forward to working with this year’s emerging curators and welcoming some exciting new work into the collection.

What has been your most rewarding experience in your career so far?

Since Venice is still on the horizon, my most rewarding experiences have been those where I’ve had the chance to get out and see what curators and artists are up to. I was lucky enough to travel the country in my previous job at Museums & Galleries of NSW. Taking exciting exhibitions including Justene Williams’ The Curtain Breathed Deeply to regional cities and towns and being heartened by the commitment that these communities have to experiencing contemporary art.

A true highlight was taking David Griggs’ Between Nature & Sin exhibition to Darwin and installing it in 35 degree heat! At Artbank, I have the privilege of visiting artist studios and galleries to see new work being produced. Being surrounded by ideas and passion daily is incredibly rewarding and keeps my mind ticking over.

What tips do you have for someone thinking about applying for the next Emerging Arts Professionals Program?

Make sure you ask around and get a good sense of the program and the Biennale before starting your application. Think through your career goals and how the program might help you move in the right direction. Get a head start now and think of some opportunities that will strengthen your CV. Remember to mention all your achievements. And finally, make sure you select referees that have worked closely with you and are able to accurately articulate your skills and ambitions.

More information about the selected Emerging Arts Professionals and the Venice Biennale

Emerging Arts Professionals: https://www.create.nsw.gov.au/news-and-publications/news/ambitious-australian-arts-professionals-to-assemble-in-venice/

Venice Biennale: https://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/international/Venice-Biennale-Professional-Development-Program/

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