Amelia Wallin: Future Leaders Program

Stories
Jan 15, 2020
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Amelia Wallin is an Australian curator, writer and the Director of West Space.  Her work centres on commissioning and facilitating cross-disciplinary artistic exploration, as well as interrogating alternative models for institution building. 

 

Q&A

What attracted you to the Leadership Program?

Governing an independent space such as West Space teaches you about reciprocity and accountability. I was attracted to the Leadership Program as an opportunity to further unpack the role that Leadership can take in sharing structures of support, specifically the redistribution of resources through partnerships, collaborations, and self-determined residencies. In my work at West Space, we work to value and reflect the local diversity of cultures, genders, perspectives and positions in our program. As Director I advocate for access and inclusion for artists and audiences and aim to actively address exclusionary barriers. This includes the payment of artist fees, open access models, creating culturally safe and accessible spaces, and practising institutional transparency.

My experience of childhood hearing loss has given me firsthand experience in diverse learning strategies, and I was drawn to opportunities to learn from a diverse range of peers. As a mother, I also hope to advocate for visibility of parenthood in the arts.

Why do you think it is important to develop Arts Leaders?

Since entering into the role of Director of West Space ten months ago, I have come to recognise that leadership is not an innate quality, it is a skill that requires cultivation. Leadership need to be sought out, encouraged, grown, and nourished. We need to seek out who is missing from the conversation, and ensure they are present, consulted with, and valued.

Are there ideas around leadership that need to change for our sector to thrive? Are the current notions of leadership still relevant?

As a deeply collaborative person, I instinctively seek multiple positions, perspectives and opinions in my work. I would like to see the individualised aspect of leadership overturned, and our understanding of leadership deepening to include shared, non-hierarchical and other alternative positions of leading.

What are the top three qualities of leaders that inspire you?

Collaboration, care and transparency.


Biography

Amelia Wallin is an Australian curator, writer and the Director of West Space.  Her work centres on commissioning and facilitating cross-disciplinary artistic exploration, as well as interrogating alternative models for institution building. Her recent research and writing examines reproductive labour in the space of the contemporary art institution, in relation to care, feminisms, and practices of instituting. Amelia has held curatorial and administrative positions at Performa in New York and the Biennale of Sydney, Performance Space, Campbelltown Arts Centre and Performing Lines in Sydney. She has played an active role in arts development in Sydney through directorial and curatorial positions at Firstdraft, Tiny Stadiums Festival, and as co-founder of the residency and exhibition program Sydney Guild. Amelia holds a Bachelor of Art Theory and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of New South Wales, and a Master of Curatorial Studies from Bard College, New York.


Learn more about the 2020 Leadership Program participants.