Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

ACMI Director reflects

David Tiley, ACMI: an analogue museum for the digital world, ArtsHub, 18 August 2015


Katrina Sedgwick, Director and CEO, ACMI, Melbourne.

Five months in ACMI CEO Katrina Sedgwick reflects on transforming Australia’s only museum of the moving image into a human meeting place and digital funfair.

The arrival of Katrina Sedgwick at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne as the new CEO was keenly anticipated. She had run the Fringe Festival in Adelaide, started and built the Adelaide Film Festival, and led the arts strands at the ABC.

She is adding a new perspective to the grand group of key Australian museums as the sector around the world faces new challenges, in which centuries of practice are up for grabs.

Museums and the digital challenge

‘We are at a tipping point where the way we have operated can change and shift quite dramatically,’ she said. ‘Because the digital technology is growing, and audience expectations have changed.’

ACMI takes that digital challenge one stage further. While most museums see the net as a wonderful means of branding and providing access to collections, ACMI is actually about that very process. The tools of change are the subject of the museum, transforming its role at the same time. ACMI, for instance, is online in a different way, in which the images don’t represent the work, they can be the work itself.

This is partly about what Sedgwick calls the tyranny of access, in which the very availability flattens content into nothing much, the ‘meh’ of the modern world. ‘You have infinite access to everything, and how do you navigate through that? We are there to navigate pathways for you, to set up juxtapositions and contrasts, to ask questions or provoke audiences to think about what they are accessing, moment by moment, every single day.’

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