On the Couch with Antonia Syme

Antonia Syme Arts Review On the CouchWho is Antonia Syme?
Director of Australian Tapestry Workshop.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
It is an interesting question I often ponder. Would I have made a good architect? Architectural historian? Landscape architect? Maritime archaeologist?

Who inspires you and why?
People who try to make a positive difference to the world: there are so many inspiring people – here are a few from the science and human rights fields – Muhammad Yunus, James Watson & Francis Crick, Howard Florey and Alexander Fleming, Prof Fiona Stanley, Mick and Pat Dodson, and Dr Nigel Preston.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I try to donate to worthy causes, as I know how much every little bit counts, and how valuable it can be to help organisations achieve their goals. I wish I could do more to mitigate against climate change, as successive governments continue to take the ‘head in the sand’ approach, and the current inhumanitarian approach to people fleeing war and oppression.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Yalikavak, Turkey. It has been the start of a number of sailing trips to archaeological sites and beautiful little harbours in Turkey and Greece, followed by the Istanbul Biennale.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The National Gallery of Victoria and the Abbotsford Convent – as there is always so much to experience.

What are you currently reading?
I have just finished Jacinta O’Halloran’s The Science of Appearances, and about to start The Dry by Jane Harper. I am also reading the latest beautiful publication from the Museum of Old and New Art.

What are you currently listening to?
Amadou Suso – an extraordinary kora player based in Melbourne.

Happiness is?
Holidays with friends and family, especially in exotic parts of the world.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully more of the above!

Antonia Syme is the Director of the Australian Tapestry Workshop (ATW) in Melbourne. She has worked for many years in the arts and cultural sector as a director, consultant, conservator and curator. She is Director of Syme Dodson Consulting and was Director of Artbank for over 10 years. Her experience has spanned both the private and public sector, in Australian cultural institutions and as Co-Director of the Syme Dodson Gallery in Sydney.

Antonia was the Chair of Craft Australia from 2009 to 2011 and was on the Board from 2007. Board and committee memberships include the NSW National Trust’s Museums and Collections Committee, the Federal Government’s Taxation Incentives for the Arts Committee, the Heritage Council (NSW) Maritime Archaeological Advisory Panel, the Sydney College of the Arts Board and the Camden Park Preservation Committee.

As part of its fortieth anniversary celebrations, the Australian Tapestry Workshop has launched, Many Hands – the first 40 years of the Australian Tapestry Workshop, a book that celebrates and documents the first forty years and highlights the impressive tapestry commissions, founders, alumni of master weavers, collaborating artists and supporters. For more information, visit: www.austapestry.com.au for details.

Image: Antonia Syme (supplied)

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