1284th OGM and Open Lecture

Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE FRSN“Why Art Matters in Times of Crisis”

Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE FRSN

Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Date: Wednesday, 8 July 2020, 6.30pm

YouTube Recording of the Event

The Royal Society of NSW has long emphasised science, but literature, arts and philosophy have always been categories of interest and responsibility. Today, we find more and more that neither the arts nor science can stand alone; each needs the other. Ms Macgregor is fascinated by the interrelationship of science and creativity. In this important talk she will raise ideas about the indispensability of the arts especially in a time in which it seems as if our survival depends only on science.

Summary: Museums and galleries around the world have had to close their doors, turning to digital programs to stay connected with their audiences. News is dominated by the health crisis and the consequent financial issues. What role can museums and galleries play in these unsettling times where social distancing is the norm? MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor believes in the social impact of art and will outline how artists can play a critical role as we face the challenges of a changed world post crisis.

Ms Elizabeth Macgregor began her career as curator/driver of the Scottish Arts Council's Travelling Gallery. which ignited her commitment to engaging new audiences with the work of living artists. In 1989 she was appointed director of Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and in 1999 she took up the directorship of Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art when it was facing significant challenges. To secure its future, she negotiated a new funding model with government, sponsors and philanthropists. Committed to supporting artists and expanding the audience for art, she has initiated a unique program of partnerships in Western Sydney. She successfully negotiated a $53m building redevelopment completed in 2012 which includes a National Centre for Creative Learning. Last year, the Museum attracted over a million visitors. Ms Macgregor’s innovation and contribution to the arts has been recognised with the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award in 2008 and the Australia Business Arts Foundation Business Leadership Award. In 2011 she received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In 2019 she was included in ArtReview’s International Power 100 list; she won the 'Arts & Culture Category' of the Australian Financial Review '100 Women of Influence Awards', and was awarded the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s Patrons’ Prize for Collaboration. She sits on the Foundation of the Sydney Swans and the Board of UNICEF Australia.

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