Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Patrick McIntyre interview

Nicola Gage, Meet the NFSA’S new CEO, National Film and Sound Archive, October 2021

Patrick McIntyre has over 25 years’ experience in arts and cultural management. Prior to joining the NFSA as CEO, he served as Executive Director of Sydney Theatre Company (STC) for over 11 years.

Patrick McIntyre, NFSA CEO. Photographer: Lisa Tomasetti.

What attracted you to the NFSA?

The collection, first and foremost. It is fascinating not only because it charts the evolution of Australian culture, but also of recording and broadcast technologies. The race to protect the collection by digitisation not only safeguards it but will make it more easily shareable, and the opportunities coming out of that will be really powerful. And personally, I’m a weird combination of impatient modernist and nostalgic sentimentalist: my Instagram is full of street art, and my Pinterest is 19th century photography. So I think working in a 21st century audio-visual archive will suit me.

What inspires you, and gets you up in the morning?

What gets me up in the morning is about 4 alarms and a strong cup of coffee. I am not a morning person. I get inspiration all over the place. I get a lot of the ‘I must try harder!’ type inspiration from reading biographies or from documentary films. I get a lot of ‘I should try that!’ inspiration from general reading and web surfing – I think about my work in the arts and culture industry all the time and love hearing about new approaches to business, communication and technology in other industries. And I can get bursts of that formless, euphoric type of inspiration from simple things like catching a sudden gust of jasmine on a hot afternoon walking home from the shops.

What accomplishment are you proudest of in your career to date?

The arts is such a networked and collaborative industry that I find it hard to claim any particular accomplishment. I think I’m proudest of having been part of the industry for so long, working on so many brilliant projects with interesting and generous people. Sitting in the theatre with a full house watching a show that you helped to produce is a buzz and that does make me feel proud to be part of it all. If I was to mention one specific thing, it might be the work that STC did to lead positive change in terms of workplace culture especially in the areas of mental health safety and respectful behaviours. These were changes that were overdue across the industry and it felt great to help push them forward.

Tell us 2 things you are looking forward to about moving to Canberra?

The weather! I grew up in northern New South Wales and I miss hot, dry summers and cold, bright winters! And I also have a few friends in Canberra who I am looking forward to seeing more often.

What do you love to do outside of work?

I listen to a lot of music and I’m always curious to follow evolving styles and new artists. (If you’re interested, my favourite albums so far this year are Believer by Smerz, Colourgrade by Tirzah, 9 by Pond and Crooked Machine by Roisin Murphy). I go through periods when I read books a lot and appreciate the slower, deeper engagement you get from a book – but then the habit gets broken by one thing or another and it might be a while before I get back into it. I also like being pinned to the couch by my cats. Happily, these three things can all be enjoyed together.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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