MProjects
The Power of Cultural Infrastructure: Nicole Durling on ‘Going Outside the Gallery’

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How can galleries be architecturally and programmatically developed to not only complement and integrate with the surrounding environment, but to also positively engage a broader cross section of their community?

Drawing on her experience as part of the team establishing Tasmania’s cultural phenomenon – the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) – and touching on ambitious future plans for Craft Victoria, Nicole Durling explores how cultural institutions can engage communities outside of the physical bounds of the institution. As a Board member for Rising, and the former Melbourne International Art Festival, Durling will also discuss the positioning of Rising as a festival driven to achieve broad community engagement and significant cultural impact.


With a background as a practising ceramicist and lecturer in the medium, Nicole Durling was appointed as Executive Director of Craft Victoria in mid-2021, charged with writing a bold new chapter for the organisation.

Durling arrived at Craft Victoria after 15 years with MONA in Hobart, including serving as the organisation’s Director of Collections and Exhibitions responsible for leading the Curatorial and Collections teams. Selected as one of MONA’s foundation team, she was a key collaborator in the building design, curatorial direction, brand establishment, design and exhibition installation of the MONA collection prior to its opening in 2011.

Durling has curated and developed projects including exhibitions, sound art performances, ephemeral interventions and permanent commissions. From 2009 she was the Artistic Curator for MONA FOMA festival and curated several projects for the Dark Mofo festival from 2013 to 2017.


As part of the ongoing Amplify program presented in partnership with RACV, we are proud to be working with Benalla Art Gallery to present a series of four talks by leaders in the sector exploring ‘The Power of Cultural Infrastructure’.

The talks follow the recent completion of a Feasibility Study and Business Case by Urban Enterprise into possible redevelopment of Benalla Art Gallery. The study assessed the cost benefit, and social and cultural outcomes of redevelopment. The study showed an opportunity to deliver favourably against a number of key objectives:

  1. Strengthen the Benalla Art Gallery and its role as a leading interpreter and communicator of Australia’s regional cultural heritage
  2. Strengthen Benalla and the High Country as an Arts and Cultural destination
  3. Strengthen community health, wellbeing and resilience
  4. Grow the local and regional economy
  5. Create lasting and memorable experiences
  6. Improve the storage, conservation and management of the collection
  7. Improve the long-term financial viability of the Gallery
  8. Activate the Lake and Botanical Gardens Precinct

Each presenter in this talk series explores real world achievements which resonate with these aspirational outcomes, and will provide guests with insight and inspiration in equal measure.

Wominjeka (Welcome). We acknowledge the people of the Eastern Kulin Nations as the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet. We pay our respects to the land, their ancestors and their elders—past, present and to the future.