Alec Coles is CEO of the Western Australian Museum which has branches in Perth, Fremantle, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Albany, and Carnarvon, and also works in communities throughout WA.
He was, previously, Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, in North-East England and before that, the CEO of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, and environmental charity.
He led the development of the New Western Australian Museum in Perth – the WA Museum Boola Bardip; a $400 million project, completed in November 2020, a place where Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander People’s voices balance those of others.
Coles was also a member of the team that delivered the award-winning National Anzac Centre in Albany.
Coles aspires to create museums owned and valued by their communities and admired by the world.
Coles is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia. He has held many non-executive positions and is Chair of the WA Genome Atlas Advisory Committee and is the immediate past Chair of the Partners’ Council of the Western Australian Biodiversity Sciences Institute. He is also the Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and a former Chair of ICOM Australia.
Coles was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2010.
In 2021, he was named Western Australian of the Year in the Arts and Culture category.