In September it was announced that Tasmanian-born Shane Fitzgerald would take on the role of general manager at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery.
Mr Fitzgerald has held several leadership roles in museums across the country including with the Greater Shepparton City Council's Shepparton Art Museum, the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, and Pinnacles Gallery.
From 2010 to 2012, Mr Fitzgerald was manager of arts and cultural services and director of the Rockhampton Art Gallery, and from 1998 to 2010, the exhibitions and collections manager for the Rockhampton Regional Council.
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Most recently, he was head of production at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney.
The new general manager for QVMAG holds a Masters in Visual Arts, a post-graduate Diploma in Museum Studies, and a post-graduate Certificate in Museum Studies.
He is currently completing a Masters in Business Arts and Cultural Management with Deakin University.
Mr Fitzgerald had an exclusive chat with The Examiner about what the community could expect from him, the changes he was eager to implement, and how he was feeling about the move to a colder climate.
The new general manager said he applied for the role for two reasons, one of which was to be closer to his family, and the other was because of QVMAG itself.
"QVMAG as an institution is really quite respected and its reputation proceeds it. It punches well above its weight and has an incredible collection ... it's something that has definitely piqued my interest," he said.
Being a Tasmanian will be a major advantage in undertaking the general manager role, according to Mr Fitzgerald.
"There's a certain amount of local knowledge, like the history of Tasmania and the things that drive us as a state, which are important to us," he said.
Mr Fitzgerald said he saw clear opportunities the cultural institution had not yet taken advantage of and hoped he could assist in the process.
"I think, from what I can ascertain at this point in time, is the greater role QVMAG can play, particularly in that cultural activation outside traditional archetypes of a cultural institution," he said.
Mr Fitzgerald believes the institution still heavily relies on attracting visitors instead of coupling that aspect with accessibility into the community.
"Art environment is a really exciting domain and a lot of practices have been happening in the past 25 years globally in that regard, but I'm not seeing a lot of that in a dynamic way in Northern Tasmania particularly," he said.
The inroads that the institution has made working with First Nations and LGBTQI+ people will be continued under Mr Fitzgerald's reign.
However, the challenges the new general manager said he might encounter could be investment from state and federal governments for growth opportunities, and undertaking the approach of change.
"When you see a community buzzing and proud of their cultural institutions and they feel that sense of ownership, everything else just falls into place in regards to funding, support, and engagement," he said.
"Put simply, these cultural institutions ... are a reflection of society and community at large."
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