Next Wave welcomes new Artistic Director

Georgie Meagher_editorialAfter a rigorous nation-wide and international search, Georgie Meagher has been appointed Next Wave’s incoming Artistic Director and co-CEO. Relocating to Melbourne from Sydney for the role, Meagher comes with a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion cultivated from her previous roles at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Performance Space at Carriageworks and artist-run-initiative Firstdraft.

“The Board were immensely impressed by the calibre of applications, which came from all over Australia and – for the first time – from overseas, a resounding marker of the strength of Next Wave,” said Janenne Willis, Next Wave Chair.

“Georgie’s inventive artistic vision, collaborative leadership style and strategic foresight into the independent arts in Australia and abroad made her a stand-out applicant.”

“Together we are set to build on Next Wave’s renowned capacity to develop and present bold, ambitious and risky new work from young emerging artists. On behalf of everyone at Next Wave, I’d like to congratulate Georgie on securing her dream job!”

“I’m thrilled to be joining Next Wave,” said incoming Artistic Director and co-CEO, Georgie Meagher. “Next Wave has a fantastic reputation globally and is an incredibly important organisation for emerging artists, writers and curators in Australia.

“I have witnessed many formidable artists – including many of my peers, colleagues and friends – having formative experiences while developing work with Next Wave and I am both humbled and wildly excited to be taking on this role,” she said.

With a background in performance-making, curation and public engagement, Georgie Meagher comes to Next Wave from her role as MCA’s Public Engagement Manager, overseeing public programs and community engagement for the national institution. During her tenure at MCA, Meagher has expanded the way in which audiences of all ages engage with MCA’s major exhibitions through public talks, workshops, screenings and symposia.

Whilst at MCA Meagher has organised major talks by artists Yoko Ono, Annette Messager, Richard Long and Jeff Wall, and curators and critics Michael Fried, James Lingwood and Alice Rawsthorn, in diverse partnerships with Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Festival, GOMA, Sydney University and University of Technology, Sydney.

Meagher also initiated Reschool at MCA, a creative learning program that asked: ‘what would a school look like if artists were in charge?’ As part of this program, Meagher curated a suite of events in collaboration with artists, including We Need to Talk, a picnic on the MCA lawn and feminist discussion forum, and the Artist Reading Group in the MCA Library, in collaboration with Next Wave alumni LEVEL and Benjamin Forster respectively.

Previously, Meagher was a director of renowned Sydney artist-run-initiative (ARI) Firstdraft. During this time, Meagher was part of a team who completed a large-scale gallery renovation, opened the ARI’s second venue Firstdraft Depot, successfully moved the organisation into triennial funding model and co-convened the first national ARI symposium in Australia with Brianna Munting (NAVA).

Meagher has also presented a variety of performance work, including works at the ANTI Festival in Finland and You and Your Work Festival at Arnolfini, Bristol, as well as innovative programs and events for Performance Space, based in Carriageworks, such as Clubhouse, which combined socially-inclusive art projects, workshops and seminars.

Outgoing Artistic Director and co-CEO, Emily Sexton, applauded Meagher’s appointment: “It’s terrific to handover this vibrant organisation to a strong female arts leader, who maintains such a deeply embedded knowledge of Sydney’s emerging and experimental arts scene. I also think Georgie’s experience at the MCA in learning programs, and in advocating for the value of contemporary art, will place her in a great position to lead the next Next Wave Festival.”

“Next Wave is built for change, and our passionate and talented team will ensure that Georgie’s transition into the role of Artistic Director and co-CEO is both smooth, and exciting,” said Sexton.

Billed as Australia’s biennial festival of emerging artists and ideas, Next Wave Festival is a city-wide, month-long celebration of cutting-edge arts and culture from around Australia and the globe. In 2014, Next Wave celebrated 30th anniversary with a tightly curated selection of the most ambitious, risky and surprising new art by 238 artists hand-picked by Emily Sexton and her team.

In October, Meagher and her team at Next Wave will announce the provocation for the 2016 Next Wave Festival and open applications for its flagship artist development program KICKSTART, which will run throughout 2015 under Meagher’s leadership.

Meagher will commence at Next Wave on 7 September. For more information, visit: www.nextwave.org.au for details.

Image: Georgie Meagher – photo by Kailana Sommer

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