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AGB Events’ Anthony Bastic explains how events and cultural institutions will be reimagined post-COVID

AGB Events’ Anthony Bastic explains how events and cultural institutions will be reimagined post-COVID
August 30, 2021

Anthony Bastic, Chief Executive and founder at AGB Events, has shared his thoughts on the challenges events have faced during COVID, advising that “it offered a great opportunity to reimagine how information and assets are presented”.

Founded in 2006 and specialising in creating public celebrations, iconic events and innovative experiences, AGB Events has conceptualised and produced events across Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA.

Commenting on the impact of COVID, Bastic explains “the challenge was that our traditional audiences for events and exhibitions were grounded. We’d been utilising technology to engage people for many years through our public events and digital storytelling, so we started looking for new markets that might benefit from engaging our skills.”

From the visual storytelling of Beauty, Rich and Rare currently on tour in Australia after showing at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Resources, and Parrtjima - A Festival in Light an annual event in Alice Springs, AGB Events’ expansive event portfolio also includes Vivid Light Sydney, the Lights of Boston, Macquarie Visions; and government initiatives OZFest Delhi and Canberra’s centenary celebrations.

Bastic explains “we love working with art and history and reimagining the ways they are consumed by audiences. There is such an opportunity now to utilise technology to present stories and artefacts in new, engaging forms that will be more appealing to future generations.

“We’re really excited to utilise our audience engagement skills, learnt through years of producing public celebrations and commemoration, in more intimate environments.

“A few years ago we were working with the Australian National Library on a project called Beauty Rich and Rare, which was originally intended for a public space. This eventuated into an immersive digital exhibition that was housed at the library and later the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Natural History.

“It’s a new way to showcase our digital storytelling and we’re actively exploring this new market to help museums and galleries bring their collections to life.”

Commenting on how AGB Events works with project stakeholders and the benefit from working with organisations such as AGB Events, Bastic states “we have a creative and authentic approach to collaborating with clients and stakeholders. It comes from a genuine interest and desire to help make art, collections, stories and culture more accessible and engaging.

“We love working with informed and passionate experts and helping them bring their knowledge and collections to life.

“I think it’s always great to collaborate with passionate experts, everyone brings something different to the table and in our experience you end up with a much better result. Our expertise is in engaging audiences, creating narratives and digital storytelling and many organisation don’t have those skills in-house.”

As for AGB Events’ future, Bastic notes “we’ve got some really exciting projects coming up internationally. We’re currently working on Expo 2021 in Dubai, and our digital exhibition Beauty Rich and Rare is on exhibit in Queensland and will then tour. We also have a couple of amazing new projects in production that we hope to announce very soon.

“COVID has given us an opportunity to think about what it is that we do and explore other avenues for utilising our digital storytelling expertise, not just at events. I’m really excited about working more and more in the museum and gallery space, there’s a million stories there we would love to help share.

With one area of AGB Events’ specialism being in cultural institutions, Bastic sees that they can do more to make their collections more accessible, going on to say “the big challenge we’d love to address is that most institutions can only display a small percentage of all their collections at any one time. This is where our immersive, digital exhibitions can assist by presenting the collections in an efficient and modern way, and they can be easily updated and interchanged.

“That was the impetus for our work with the Australian Museum when we united with their curators in producing Treasures Illuminated - bringing artefacts that had been unseen for many years to life through projection.”

As for a post-COVID world, he sees specific opportunities out there for museums, galleries and leisure attractions, concluding “audience expectations are changing and elevating, in an increasing technological world younger generations are looking for multi-dimensional entertainment and instant access to information. Organisations need to be responsive and creative in capitalising on this increased appetite.

“I also believe, as an industry, we have to rethink our definition of ‘success’, traditional evaluation has been assessed through numbers of visitation, tickets sold or ‘bums on seats’. Engagement these days isn’t about physical attendance.

“I think the next phase is very exciting and full of opportunities. There are many more avenues that can be utilised to engage audiences and it provides an amazing chance to think creatively and try something new.”

Images (from top): Anthony Bastic, Chief Executive and founder at AGB Events; Vivid Light Sydney; Beauty, Rich and Rare at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Resources, Washington, USA and Bastic at Beauty, Rich and Rare exhibition.

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