– Highlights



Today, 4.00pm, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning

Mca Collection

MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday

01 Sep - 31 Aug


Pipilotti Rist: Sip my ocean

01 Nov - 18 Feb

– Learning Events



Today, 4.00pm, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning


Art Safari

24 Nov, 1.00pm, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning


Artbar November 2017

24 Nov, 7.00pm, MCA

– News from inside the MCA

The Importance of Laughter

We sat down with laughter connoisseur Shari Coventry from Sydney Laughter to discover the truth about laughter and why we need it ahead of this month’s Laughter Sessions. more

Coming up in 2018…

Next year is one of the most exciting and diverse seasons yet. Find out what’s on. more

Six Films that Changed My Life (for better or worse): Antenna's Rich Welch

To pave the way for the soon-to-come cinema binge at Antenna Film Festival,Co-Director Rich Welch shared a few of his life changing films. more

– Spotlights from the collection online

MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.

Blog – Diary of an MCA Trainee

Posted on March 27, 2017 by Claire Hastwell in Behind the scenes.
If you ever thought that contemporary art was only for those who have studied art theory, this is a blog post for you. Every year the MCA welcomes a number of bright-eyed young people, looking for their way in the ‘work world’. As an MCA Business Administration Trainee, you get a taste of all areas of the MCA. Before your eyes glaze over at those compelling three words: Business-Admin-Trainee, stay with me. Fiona Craven recently completed her traineeship at the MCA where she shadowed gallery interventions with our Artist Educators, learnt the ins-and-outs of running events with our Events team, and got insight into how we talk to gallery-goers through their passions in Marketing. Here she recounts her time at the MCA and how her experience turned contemporary art from ‘stranger’ into ‘dear friend’.

Are you someone who doesn’t really know anything about contemporary art? When you look at contemporary art you think; ‘what does any of this mean?’, or ‘how is this art?’ That was me. Completely lost and oblivious to the meaning behind contemporary art. I didn’t know that contemporary art was more than just a canvas and paint. I learnt that contemporary art is really amazing minds sharing their thoughts and expressions through a form of art. This year, while working at the MCA, my perspective and knowledge of art was transformed.

it opens up another part of your brain that allows the unfamiliar to seep through and really tests your comfort zone

What am I doing in a gallery?

When I first got the job at the MCA I was thrilled, over the moon in fact, then I thought about it hard, and as most of my friends confirmed, I knew nothing about art. The job I was about to start suddenly become daunting and terrifying. And not because it was a new job or new people; but because I didn’t know how to react or feel about the most important thing about a gallery; the art! This was a world of brilliant minds and creativeness that I was about to step into and I knew nothing about it. This is possibly a feeling a lot of people go through when having a change in careers or just starting something new. But this is art, a fundamental part of growing up. How is it that I have gone through my whole life not having appreciated or explored this side of a person?

Social Networking… and champagne.

First things first, I needed to make friends. I started to go to more social things within the art world…exhibition openings, the pub; and after many laughs shared over after-work drinks, I was finally feeling accepted into this very welcoming community. By building friendships and by having conversations with different people, I became more open to ask for other’s thoughts on artworks. I felt more comfortable about sharing my own opinion. Just enough to get me thinking.


After realising that simply talking about art helps to understand and comprehend the meaning behind an artwork, I then began to asks questions and really think about how the artwork makes me feel and what questions arise that I wanted answered.
I remember taking part in a school group tour where at one point we stopped in front of Tracy Moffatt’s Invocations artworks in the MCA Collection. The students were asked to react in a way that they thought the protagonist in the artwork may feel. After everyone shared their reaction, I thought about what I got out of the paintings myself, and what I thought the protagonist might feel. My interpretation was very different to the students. Why? Was I experiencing the artworks just as they were? I talked to the artist educators taking the group and we came to the conclusion that maybe it was because the experiences I had in my life that had effected my reaction to the artwork. This was my epiphany moment when I realised everyone might have really different opinions of an artwork and that is okay. There is no one answer. I had formed my own opinion but also that I had allowed my own thoughts and experiences to affect how I felt about an artwork. This felt nice.

The Brain.

Throughout my journey I’ve also realised that it helps when you shut off the part of your brain that makes things feel foreign. By doing this, it opens up another part of your brain that allows the unfamiliar to seep through and really tests your comfort zone. Through doing this, I realised that it’s not necessary to like everything. It’s okay to choose a favourite style and openly enjoy only those artworks.

Final thing out of me.

My last piece of advice that I gained from my time working at the MCA? When exploring contemporary art, find what works for you and what you understand, but more importantly, what interests you.

Want to join our team at MCA? Visit our Jobs page or sign up to our Positions Vacant e-newsletter here.

Fiona stands in the MCA galleries, behind her is Hany Armanious’ Untitled work , 1996, Museum of Contemporary Art, gift of the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, 1996.

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Claire Hastwell
– Digital Marketing Coordinator

Claire helps grow online audiences for the MCA. Listening to them, talking to them and understanding them. When she is not working she is hunting for the best scoop of gelato. Real Italian gelato.

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