Week 7 Reflection – Program Review

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    • #2002
      Bronwyn Linthwaite

      This week I attended a curator’s tour at the SLQ Gallery of the current exhibition Distant Lines. The exhibition is held in recognition of the 100 year anniversary of the First World War, and tells the story of the war from the perspectives of Queenslanders.

      The curator walked us through the exhibition and explained the creative reasoning behind all the elements that made up the exhibition. Kevin also explained what was unique about this exhibition compared to the past, in that the focus of this exhibition is the human side of war rather than the battlefields. This collection featured an extensive collection of ephemera such as letters, diary entries as well as political propaganda produced in Qld in relation to the state referendum concerning conscription. The SLQ aims to “engage the community in public conversation on critical and contemporary issues”. This was evident in many of the accompanying activities such as asking people to fill out a ballot paper and vote on the issue of conscription.

      It was very interesting considering the focus of our learning in Managing and Organising Collections to be walked through the selection criteria, sources of material displayed, storage and preservation requirements, as well as to be informed of the curators most interesting stories related to the content and collection process.

      SLQs content strategy states that “we will engage with and enable our clients to communicate, search, learn and participate with open collections and create new content”.  We learned that this exhibition will be the last of its kind at the SLQ as the library moves towards programs that are fully collaborative with the community.

      One of the exhibition policies and programming goals of the SLQ has been to promote and display content created by the community through crowdsourcing. This collection displayed the “Voices from afar installation” which featured the reflections of a group of high-achieving young Queenslanders who as part of The Premier’s Anzac Prize, traveled to Gallipoli to both attend the Anzac ceremony as well as conduct historical research on particular soldiers from Queensland. The result was an evocative audio-visual presentation which highlighted both the persons behind the statistics as well as the emotional intelligence of the young people involved. This installation featured ephemera donated by these young people that will be stored along with their reflections for future generations.


      Guided tours are a part of the Learning and Engagement strategy for exhibitions . Programs that accompany exhibitions are designed with the goal of engaging program audiences in learning opportunities. It was clear to me that the different programs and activities that accompanied the exhibition were designed with specific users in mind. Overall it was an interesting opportunity to go behind the scenes of the exhibition and gain insights from an experienced curator, and there were many opportunities to reflect on the learning from this unit so far.


    • #2030
      Stacey Larner

      That does sound really interesting, and I liked the way you tied it back into the goals and strategies of the SLQ. Was there anything you thought could have been done better?

    • #2325
      Leena Riethmuller

      Hi Bronwyn, thanks for your post! I think it is super important for gallery spaces to provide public programs that supplement the current exhibition. It allows for different avenues of audience engagement.
      I too found it interesting that you linked the talk with SLQ’s goals and strategies. I have long wondered about the way that the exhibition space at SLQ is run, given that SLQ’s primary focus is being a library. I wonder how much the library’s goals and strategies influence the curation of the exhibition program. They do host a lot of work that covers local and historical topics which I think fits with the position and responsibility that public libraries have within the broader community.

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