In the first episode of RMIT's new RMITin3 video series, NGV Assistant Director, Audience Engagement and Learning chats to RMIT's Pro-Vice Chancellor and President Paul Gough.
TITLE: RMIT In3 - Paul Gough with Donna McColm
VISUAL: RMITIn3 Logo appears
AUDIO: Intro music plays
VISUAL: Location shots of inside the National Gallery of Victoria. Camera cuts to interview setting with two people, Paul Gough and Donna McColm in conversation.
AUDIO: Music fades
Paul Gough speaks: Hello Donna.
Donna McColm speaks: Hi Paul.
Paul Gough: We're here in the NGV, the National Gallery of Victoria in the [Salon 00:00:18] Gallery. Delightful to have you here.
Donna McColm: Thank you.
Paul Gough: What brought you to this industry in the first place?
Donna McColm: I've always had a deep passion for the arts, and actually grew up in a small community where the arts wasn't overly valued and thankful for nurturing parents who afforded me that opportunity to explore my interest in that.
Paul Gough: What's changed most recently in this industry?
Donna McColm: Some of the really interesting changes have happened around the introduction of technology and today you can hop online and you can see any art work in the world basically in such minute detail, and yet museums are booming, and so there's nothing like the experience of seeing an artwork in the flesh, and that's quite interesting.
Paul Gough: So does that technology rival the original paintings in any way or the original art?
Donna McColm: I actually think they're quite complimentary, and museums have a lot to thank technology for in that regard, and people are still keen to connect with the real thing, which I think is just an amazing testament to the value of art in our society.
Paul Gough: So how is the industry going to change in the next 10 years?
Donna McColm: I think the industry will be changing dramatically because the makeup of our society is changing dramatically and I think museums will be pushed to their limits in terms of really grappling with some of today's big issues, be they political or social, and people are looking to museums to really reflect and tackle those issues in their programming, in their displays and be relevant, so I think that that's going to be a really big push for us. Not simply presenting what is the accepted artist of the day, just to [plicate 00:01:53] visitors. We need to be really pushing them to think about new ideas and responding to what they want as well.
Paul Gough: Imagine you needed no sleep, how would you use that time in your industry?
Donna McColm: If I needed no sleep, I would study. I think, for many of us, you do study as a young person. You go into a profession. That profession might change over time, and it's only when you get a bit older that you think actually, I'd like to go back and redo that, so I think I'd like to go back and actually just restudy what I studied and dive deeper into it.
Paul Gough: Not many people know the range of careers that are in this industry, and we're doing to work together around the creative producer at the moment. Tell us about the range of careers that exist in the industry of galleries and museums.
Donna McColm: Yeah. There are so many career in museums that I think are often hidden to the general public. They might range from publishing departments, where we're producing catalogues and communications for a wide audience, through to accountants. So it's quite interesting, obviously, we are businesses now. Museums are businesses so good financial management is essential. Customer service is another really big one, and also, I think areas like membership. How can you turn the loyalty of your audience into a revenue generation. So I think that's just a number of quite kind of hidden careers behind the scenes.
Paul Gough: What's the one thing you've learned in your career that was the most helpful?
Donna McColm: The one thing I've learned, I think through trial and error, is to put your hand up for everything. It might not make sense at the time but you never know where an opportunity is going to lead you.
Paul Gough: Thank you very much, Donna. It's been such a privilege to be with you in this remarkable space, and good luck with all the exhibitions.
Donna McColm: Thank you.
Paul Gough: Thank you.
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