Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) announces Dr Rebecca Coates as new Director

MUMA-Dr-Rebecca-CoatesAfter an extensive search, Monash University has appointed Dr Rebecca Coates as the new Director of the Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA).

Dr Coates is an accomplished museum director, curator, writer and lecturer, and has previously worked at numerous acclaimed institutions, including the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Museum of Modern Art Oxford.

Dr Coates brings extensive experience in developing and implementing visionary and timely artistic programs, and a strong commitment to community engagement and increasing opportunities around diversity and inclusion.

Most recently, Dr Coates was at the helm of the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) as Artistic Director and CEO. During her seven year tenure, Dr Coates oversaw a transformative period during which SAM rapidly earned a national reputation that has shifted understandings of culturally led renewal in regional Australia.

Dr Coates led SAM through a period of growth that notably resulted in 588 acquisitions, valued at $3 million, to the museum’s collection; the development of SAM’s first Aboriginal Engagement Plan; and the establishment of a nationally acclaimed, purpose-built museum that has become a beacon in the Shepparton landscape.

Through Dr Coates’ leadership, SAM has become recognised internationally as one of Australia’s most significant regional art museums, housing an important collection of ceramics and a program of exhibitions that are locally relevant, engaging and inspirational.

Over the course of her career, Dr Coates has curated over 50 exhibitions and organised programs for many of Australia’s leading contemporary art spaces, as well as international art museums and galleries. She has established a strong network of supporters having worked closely and effectively with local, state and federal government partners, as well as philanthropic partners and collectors.

No stranger to the higher education sector, Dr Coates has established education programs through major learning and engagement partnerships with a number of Victorian universities. She has also previously worked with MUMA to present the Contemporary Art on the Road program at SAM.

Dr Coates has written extensively on contemporary art curating, exhibition histories and art in the public realm, including an expansive list of peer-reviewed publications.

Dr Coates was an academic and lecturer in Art History and Art Curatorship at the University of Melbourne, where she was also an Honorary Fellow in the School of Culture and Communication, and currently an Honorary Fellow in their Centre of Visual Arts.

Her academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (1985) and Doctor of Philosophy in Art History (2013) from the University of Melbourne, and a Masters of Museum Studies (1998) from the University of Leicester.

Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) is a public art museum and site for contemporary art, art-led education and research. MUMA brings art and audiences together through a diverse program of exhibitions, commissions, publishing and education, and as custodian of the Monash University Collection, one of Australia’s most important collections of post-1960s Australian contemporary art.

For more information about Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), visit: for details.

Image: Dr Rebecca Coates – photo by Cam Matheson