Betty Churcher AO Memorial Oration
Dr Melissa Chiu with Julia Baird
Join Dr Melissa Chiu, Director, Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in conversation with globally renowned author and award-winning journalist Julia Baird for the inaugural Betty Churcher AO Memorial Oration.
Dr Melissa Chiu is one of Australia’s most successful international curators. After completing her postgraduate studies and working with the collection of Western Sydney University, Chiu helped to establish Sydney’s Gallery 4A, a dedicated exhibition space devoted to promoting cultural dialogue about issues important in the Asia Pacific region. In 2004, she was appointed director of the Asia Society Museum in New York City and Director of the Hirshhorn in 2014. Chiu is also currently Curatorial Director of the 2022 Hawai‘i Triennial, Pacific Century - E Ho‘omau no Moananuiākea that interweaves themes of history, place, and identity within the context of Hawaiʻi’s unique location at the confluence of Asia-Pacific and Oceania.
Julia Baird hosts The Drum on ABC TV and writes columns for The New York Times and The Sydney Morning Herald. Baird’s biography of Queen Victoria was published in several countries to critical acclaim and listed in The New York Times' top ten books. In 2021, Baird’s powerful book exploring media, women and politics Media Tarts: How the Australian Press Frames Female Politicians was revised and re-editioned. Her title, Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark was published in Australia in March 2022. Exploring Baird's personal experience of life-threatening illness and ‘the things that give us comfort, that make us strong’ the book became a COVID-19 pandemic lockdown best seller.
Betty Churcher AO (1931–2015) was a leading Australian arts educator and administrator. During her esteemed career, Churcher was the first woman to lead an Australian tertiary education centre as Dean of the School of Art and Design at Phillip Institute of Technology in Melbourne (1982–1987), first woman to lead a state gallery as Director of Art Gallery of Western Australia (1987–1990) and first and only woman Director of the National Gallery (1990–1997). Established in 2022 as part of the National Gallery’s Gender Equity Action Plan, the Betty Churcher AO Memorial Oration is a major annual event featuring leading women in the arts who inspire creativity, inclusivity, engagement and learning.
Pay what you wish (between $5–$100) to attend the 2022 Betty Churcher AO Memorial Oration. Ticket sales close at 12noon on day of event.
The 2022 Betty Churcher AO Memorial Oration is included for registered attendees of the National Visual Arts Education Conference, 21-23 April.