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Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum announces inaugural Director, First Nations

Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum announces inaugural Director, First Nations
May 20, 2021

The Powerhouse Museum has appointed Emily McDaniel, an esteemed curator, educator and writer from the Kalari Clan of the Wiradjuri nation in Central New South Wales, to the new role of Director, First Nations.

The most significant First Nations role appointed by the Powerhouse since the museum was founded in 1881, Emily McDaniel in the Director, First Nations leadership role will establish a First Nations Team that will be central to the renewal of the Powerhouse Museum. This will include the development of the new flagship Powerhouse Parramatta, the expansion of the Museum’s Discovery Centre, the renewal of Powerhouse Museum Ultimo and the ongoing programming of Sydney Observatory. 

Working with Chief Executive Lisa Havilah, McDaniel will develop and lead policies, strategies, museum practice and organisational change through First Nations community, research and academic engagement; decolonial and sovereignty methodologies; and representation. The Director will oversee strategic First Nations projects, programs and engagement and embed First Nations knowledge to inform collection, exhibition, publications and program strategy.

McDaniel is the curator of the City of Sydney’s Harbour Walk, a First Nations public art and interpretation strategy and program. As an independent consultant, she has advised on curatorship, engagement, learning and interpretation in the public domain, media and the museums and galleries sector. She has also held curatorial positions at the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Museum of Contemporary Art, Biennale of Sydney and Kaldor Public Art Projects.

McDaniel’s creative and cultural practice centres on truth-telling, storytelling and revealing histories through the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and creative practitioners. As First Nations Director, she will draw upon over a decade of curatorial expertise to deliver both creative and strategic leadership in this new role.

On her appointment, McDaniel advised “I am honoured to take the position of Director, First Nations at the Powerhouse Museum. Yindyamarra is a Wiradjuri word which encapsulates a way of being – to be gentle, to honour, to be polite, to respect and to go slowly. As a Wiradjuri woman, I am dedicated to applying this principle to my work at the museum. This position is more than a demonstration of professional and creative practice, it is a cultural practice as well. I look forward to continuing my work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations and communities, as we shape our representation and determination within the collection and museum.”

Powerhouse Museum, Chief Executive Lisa Havilah added “the appointment of Emily McDaniel into this senior executive role signals a bold paradigm shift for our institution. The Director First Nations will bring the stories of Australian and International First Nation communities to our audiences through exhibitions, programs and collections. Emily McDaniel through her curatorial, strategic and community leadership will make a significant contribution to the renewal and repositioning of the Powerhouse Museum.”

 

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5th July 2020 - NSW Government reverses plans to relocate Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum

29th June 2020 - Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum continues tours and extends exhibitions

29th May 2020 - City of Parramatta urges NSW Government to deliver on relocating Powerhouse Museum

8th April 2020 - Casula Powerhouse delivers free online programs

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28th February 2020 - 22nd Biennale of Sydney exhibition reimagines over 100 objects from Powerhouse Collection

15th January 2020 - Casula Powerhouse set to launch new exhibitions

17th December 2019 - Moreau Kusunoki and Genton architects to design Sydney’s new Powerhouse

4th December 2019 - Casula Powerhouse set to launch inaugural Liverpool Sculpture Walk

9th May 2019 - Global architects shortlisted to design new Western Sydney Powerhouse Museum

16th April 2019 - Powerhouse Museum celebrates 50th Anniversary of the moon landing with virtual reality experiences 

24th January 2019 - NSW Government announces international design competition for new Powerhouse Museum

27th July 2018 - Powerhouse Director to step down after public funds used to pay for fashion party

26th July 2018 - Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum used public funds to support fashion event

12th June 2018 - Massive tower developments to fund relocation of Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum


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