Culture Quiz: First Site Gallery

Culture Quiz: First Site Gallery

First Site is RMIT’s student gallery where students can exhibit and attend events.

The gallery is run by a committee of students who aim to provide engaging and accessible opportunities for their peers.

Test your knowledge of the gallery below, and come back next week to delve into the RMIT Design Archives.


1. Why is First Site led by a committee of RMIT students?

A photo of the 9 First Site Gallery committee members for 2020 in front of the gallery entrance

First Site is RMIT’s student gallery, and so is led by a committee of student representatives. The committee is responsible for providing students with opportunities to be creative and learn new skills. Having a position on the committee is a professional development opportunity for the students, as they learn about the operational side of galleries.

2. First Site Gallery has origins that can be traced back to 1968. What was the gallery’s name in its first iteration?

The Collective Space, which ran exhibitions and social events including performances, discussion groups and a chess club. In 1996, the gallery moved to its current location in Building 16, Storey Hall, and was renamed First Site. The new name reflected the gallery’s role in providing students with their first opportunity to exhibit.

3. Any student at RMIT can have an exhibition at First Site, and in 2019 a group of Advanced Diploma of Textile Development & Design students had their first exhibition at the gallery. What do you think the pictured artwork from their exhibition represents?

A photo of a sculptural piece, a small square timber frame woven with warm coloured threads incorporating natural and manmade materials

A loom. Looms can be anything from highly technical computers to objects made from materials found in the everyday environment. For their exhibition titled Loom Journal, the students created DIY looms that reflected the places they visited, functioning as a journal of the everyday.

Image: Meghan Bolger
Loom Journal
, 2019

4. In August 2019, ceramics student Adriana Goya held an exhibition titled Brain Escape in response to the question ‘what does accessibility mean to you?’. What does the ceramic in this image represent?

A photo of a ceramic sculpture resembling a brain in a bowl with a tendril creeping out

The central object represents a human brain that is experiencing dissociation, with the twists in its structure intending to suggest it has been impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder. Goya’s exhibition aimed to raise awareness on the misrepresentation of dissociative identity disorder and post traumatic stress disorder.

Image: Adriana Goya
, 2019
Melted glass and stoneware

5. First Site Gallery held an immersive theatre experience as part of the 2019 Melbourne Fringe Festival. What famous Shakespeare play was the performance based on, and how did it differ?

A photo of an actor performing to an audience member standing in the space with them

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet presented from the perspective of Ophelia. Audience members were led through the gallery space and invited to interact with characters throughout the performance, experiencing the narrative through the eyes of a female character. Check out this behind the scenes video made during production.

6. What was the name of the stay-at-home residency First Site delivered for students in July 2020, in response to the global pandemic?

Out of Site. The First Site Committee ran this virtual residency in the mid-year break for RMIT students. Out of Site provided participating students with the opportunity to explore the impact of the pandemic on their creative practice through workshops with industry professionals and collaborating with peers. You can read an interview with participant Rikita Vohra here. You can also visit First Site’s Instagram for more pictures of the artists’ works.

7. First Site Gallery is about to launch a podcast. What will this podcast explore?

The podcast will explore Asian Australian diasporic narratives. Monica Do, the current First Site Committee Chair, is passionate about increasing the dialogue between Asian diaspora peoples and believes the podcast will serve as an avenue where people can see the diversity within First Site. Keep an eye out on their socials for more information on this exciting project.

8. Over 4000 students have exhibited at First Site, with many alumni achieving success in their subsequent careers. In 2019 Arts Management students Carla Serrano and Claudia Hogan co-curated an exhibition at First Site and have been busy with creative projects since. What has been their biggest achievement since graduating?

Curating the moving image exhibition Tertulia, which is a transnational discussion between artists and writers living in Mexico and Australia. The exhibition was presented at BLINDSIDE Gallery in 2020 and the curators hope to deliver it in Mexico in 2021. We recommend checking out the online program for Tertulia.

01 June 2020


01 June 2020


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