The Power of Cultural Infrastructure: Tarragh Cunningham on ‘Opportunities and Experiences’


This event is now complete. If you want to revisit the talk, visit our Library, or subscribe to the MPavilion podcast via iTunes, Pocketcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts.


Watch more

Drawing on 25 years’ experience in the gallery sector, Tarragh Cunningham will explore the growth of The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, QAGOMA’s flagship exhibition series. Since 1993, the APT has drawn almost four million visitors to ten exhibitions with a compelling and surprising selection of the region’s most innovative contemporary art.

Through the lens of the APT, Tarragh will discuss the opportunities it created for the Queensland Art Gallery’s Collection and infrastructure and how the series became a catalyst for the institution’s second site, the Gallery of Modern Art, announced in 2000 and opened in 2006.

Tarragh will also look at how QAGOMA’s exhibition program has built meaningful visitor experiences and boosted cultural tourism, while touching on cultural tourism trends in the sector, pre- and post-COVID.

Tarragh Cunningham is responsible for audience attraction, retention and development, and the Gallery’s self-managed commercial services. She leads the brand, marketing, communication, digital engagement and tourism strategies; sponsorship and grant body partnerships; and retail, catering and events services. Tarragh has worked in the museum and gallery sector for over 25 years. She was previously QAGOMA’s Exhibitions Manager from 2008 until 2015 and prior to that Exhibitions Manager at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), where she held various positions from 1996. As Exhibitions Manager at QAGOMA, Tarragh was involved with the development and management of exhibitions and touring projects at a national and international level and has been a contributor to the development of policy and strategic planning at the Gallery.

She has undertaken postgraduate studies in Arts Management and Museum Leadership, and completed the Asialink Leaders Program in 2013. In 2019 she was invited to join Creative Partnerships’ Arts Leadership Mentoring Program, created to help organisations get to the next level in their operations through a mentorship. In 2020 she was accepted into the Australia Council Leadership Program.

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.