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Two Team Leaders Succeed after Venice

Oct 11, 2018

Credit: Shan Turner Carroll
Participants in our Venice Biennale Professional Development Program get a unique chance to build their confidence and skills while engaging daily with the workings of a major international exhibition. Here, two former Exhibition Team Leaders tell of their experiences and how being involved in the program has impacted their career.

Fernando do Campo, 2013 Exhibition Team Leader

Then: Director of Sawtooth ARI, Tasmania/sessional lecturer, University of Tasmania

Now: Associate Lecturer, UNSW Art & Design/John Monash Cultural Scholar

What was special about the Venice Biennale Professional Development Program?

My time in Venice through the Professional Development Program is probably one of the most enjoyable and career-enriching experiences I’ve ever had.

[We Pavilion staff] organised a series of networking ‘get-togethers’ for all the early-career artists, writers, curators and educators running other international pavilions and exhibitions at the Biennale. These events built traction and after I left Venice, I kept getting reports of the activities that different national pavilions had initiated as well as requests to join the online group. These relationships and collaborations are still ongoing!

What impact did this experience have on your career?

Just prior to going to Venice I was Director of Sawtooth ARI, teaching at the University of Tasmania and focussing on my own practice as an artist. I had spent the previous year undertaking a residency at Cité des Arts [in Paris] and… I was thinking about where to undertake my MFA. Being in Europe for an extended period, conversing so globally about models of art education and how to produce critical dialogues amongst peers proved key to informing the kind of program I was looking for and my practice at large.

I also found this kind of ‘geographic challenge’ very rewarding. The idea that critical discourse can only happen at the global centres is something we, as Australians, need to continually rebut. Opportunities such as the Venice Biennale Professional Development Program are a chance to equip our early career arts workers with the skills, tools and energy to engage at a high level back home.

What’s your advice to others who may want to take part in the program?

The Venice Biennale Professional Development Program is an incredible opportunity for all art workers, particularly artists. I found my time there extremely rewarding as a maker, and I think many early career artists may not apply because they think the program is more suited to arts administrators. I strongly encourage artists – particularly those engaged in practices that think through exhibition histories, social practice, forms of pedagogy and critical discourse as part of their work – to seriously consider engaging with the Venice Biennale through this program.

Gabriella Calandro, 2013 Exhibition Team Leader

Then: Cultural Programs Coordinator, Regional Arts Victoria

Now: Senior Program Officer, Grants and Exhibitions, NY Foundation for the Arts

What’s your best memory from the Venice Biennale Professional Development Program?

I have so many fantastic memories from my time in Venice, from meeting new people, to living in the historic city of Venice. The most impactful experience was having the opportunity to see and experience a snapshot of contemporary art from across the world in one place.

What impact did this experience have on your career?

My time working at the Venice Biennale sparked my curiosity for contemporary art on a global scale and helped shape my arts career today. The 2013 Venice Biennale opened my eyes to ways in which artists were using materials and techniques and responding to global issues while pushing the boundaries of their practice. Overall, Venice was a really great experience and has helped me advance my career internationally.

For me it was a time to experience, understand and see new art surrounded by passionate arts people.

Learn More about this Program