Information about our committee
Hear from First Site Committee Chair Monica Do about the role of the gallery during lockdown, the challenges of leading a team and the podcast that she is working on.
First Site Gallery is RMIT’s student gallery. It is led by a committee of students from diverse study areas, such as nursing, games design and fine arts. Any RMIT student can apply to have an exhibition at the gallery, and the committee decides on successful applicants prioritising exhibitions exploring accessibility, diversity and community. The committee also organises events for fellow students, from workshops to panel discussions. As a student-led gallery, First Site provides opportunities for students to learn by doing, outside of the classroom context. It also contributes to the wellbeing and cultural life of students.
I am studying the Master of Arts Management and wanted to get involved in a university art gallery to gain experience. I was interested in First Site Gallery because of its emphasis on fostering student contribution and growth. As a committee member, I get the opportunity to understand how a gallery space operates. I also gain experience working in a structured team of students.
The first round of exhibitions this semester, going through the process of selecting successful applications and seeing everything come into fruition was really exciting to see. Opening nights are always fun and it was great to see the artists have their work on show.
The committee sees First Site as an integral part of the wellbeing and culture of the RMIT ecosystem. For many, isolation can mean a disconnect from social life and creative practice. At First Site, we are committed to providing a platform for students to showcase their creative practice. We are currently working on some exciting online projects that will enable students to stay connected and feel part of the RMIT community.
I see my position as chair of the committee as more of a mediator of voices. One of the key challenges I have encountered thus far is ensuring that everyone feels heard and that their efforts are recognised in a way that they feel valued. Our team consists of very distinct personalities and working styles, which can at times be a challenge to navigate. I think that one of the best things a leader can do is to recognise everyone’s efforts and enable their growth. In the role of chair, I have learnt to approach each situation with this foresight.
Representation in all aspects of cultural life is pivotal in the way different identities are perceived in social life. I see galleries as an important facet of cultural and social life, making it an important platform for diversity, connecting people and building a more open society. More specifically, galleries can play a pivotal role in creating opportunities for Asian Australian diaspora people to share less commonly told narratives. Being a voice for Asian Australian people at First Site has been something I have taken great pride in.
One of the programs that we have been working on is a podcast created to interrogate Asian Australian diasporic narratives, where the gallery becomes an avenue where people can see the diversity of stories that make up identity. Our proposed podcast will be an interview format, where topics such as migration, mental health, belonging and accessibility can be addressed as well as a celebration of creative practices in various fields. Follow our socials for more information!
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.