Felicity - 2010 Graduate Program

Background

Home State: South Australia
University: The University of Adelaide
Qualifications:Bachelor of Design
Master of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (double degree)

Ever since I can recall I have had an avid interest in all things arty and environmental. My concern and admiration for the natural world emerged from camping experiences in the Flinders Ranges; the pristine and spectacular landscape stirred something in me!

A creative urge and an interest in the built environment led me to study design, architecture and landscape architecture. During my time at university I attended an Offshore Studio in Scandinavia, which galvanised my interest in innovative architecture and urban design. Part-time work at architecture firms equipped me with an appreciation for sustainable design, straw-bale houses, and the interface between the natural and built environments. Whilst at university, I undertook evening classes in drawing at The Adelaide Central School of Art - this fed into my architectural studies. I also began a Diploma of Environmental Management at TAFE South Australia which further sparked my interest in conservation, national parks and natural systems. It also complemented my landscape architecture studies and built upon my final Masters project; a design for a botanic gardens.

Towards the end of my Masters and after a brief stint in a pizzeria (where I developed competent dough-kneading skills!), I felt compelled to apply for the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts graduate program. It was time to move to Canberra - a place with a strange allure. The public service appealed to me as I was eager to contribute to the programs and policies that lead to the conservation and promotion of Australia's natural and cultural assets.

Placements

First Placement: Exhibitions Section, The National Portrait Gallery

I was very excited to have my first rotation in the National Portrait Gallery (in an architecturally acclaimed building!). My role in the Exhibitions section included:

  • Coordination of the documentation and finalisation of the gallery's Exhibitions Procedural Manual. This involved working with representatives from each gallery section to ascertain the operational relationships between sections, and to streamline the procedures which lead to the development and staging of exhibitions. This gave me insight into the complex processes required for the running of a major gallery and cultural institution;
  • Involvement in Exhibitions section work which assisted me to develop an understanding of the programming, project management, design and installation of National Portrait Gallery (NPG) exhibitions;
  • Formation of an application to the Australian Business Arts Foundation (ABaF) for a partnership award nomination related to the National Photographic Portrait Prize. This project involved collaboration with members of the Marketing section, and gave me an understanding of arts and business collaboration and sponsorship;
  • Comprehensive research into, and documentation of, the grant opportunities available to the NPG for assistance towards their forthcoming exhibitions; and
  • Development of a final acquittal report to an NPG sponsor for the exhibition, My Favourite Australian.

Second Placement: Policy and Strategic Planning, Parks and Biodiversity Science, The Australian National Botanic Gardens

I completed my second rotation in the Policy and Strategic Planning section of the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG). My supervisor gave me a varied work program which enabled me to learn from and work with several stakeholders, and to appreciate the broad work of the gardens. My work involved:

  • Collaboration with the Curator of the Living Collections, data analysis and a written summary of garden section assessments for the Living Collections Review (which should assist in guiding the planning of the garden sections and horticultural program);
  • Development of the ANBG Communications Strategy which entailed production of a comprehensive framework for the strategy, outlining considerations for outreach, public programs, exhibitions, education, marketing and media (in accordance with ANBG objectives and the 2010 - 2020 Management Plan);
  • Revision and amendments to several ANBG policies related to horticulture and visitor services, with adherence to the Park Australia Guidelines;
  • Compilation of the 2009-2010 Director of National Parks Annual Report in collaboration with the General Manager and other staff; and
  • Assistance with the development and design of the Five Senses garden display at Canberra's springtime flower festival, Floriade.

Third Placement: Art Policy, Office for the Arts, The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

In the Arts Policy SectionI am gaining an appreciation for the important policy work which underpins arts initiatives across the country. This includes the National Arts and Disability Strategy for which I am reviewing stakeholder submissions, and compiling a summary document, research proposal and literature review to assist the further implementation of the strategy.

The opportunity to work on ministerial correspondence and briefs is invaluable in providing me with an understanding of the interrelationship between the public service and parliamentary process. This has been further illuminated by the Machinery of Government changes which saw the Office for the Arts move from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (formerly Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts) into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'