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Orange Regional Gallery NSW wanted to make artist Liam Benson's installation hello, good to meet you (originally commissioned by the MCA for their Bella Room) more accessible to new and existing audiences - to encourage their audiences to participate, play and ask questions around the work.

In my role as MCA Director Audience Engagement, I spent two days (28 and 29 April 2022) in Orange providing training for Orange Regional Gallery staff.

This is what that looked like.


Two hours of training to 11 people (artist educators, curators, learning staff, installers and Front of House)

  • I covered the context of the Bella Room; examples of former commissions and how people interacted with them.

  • I shared information and insights about Liam and his work using existing support material from the MCA website, including an artist interview and short introductory video.

  • I contextualised the commission within contemporary art practices such as Relational Aesthetics and socially engaged practice.

  • I looked at how to engage visitors by using rapport and active listening. (It has a huge impact on empowering audiences to feel confident about contemporary art.)

  • I lead the group in an exercise where they get to experience what it's like to be a visitor themselves - to ask questions of one particular artwork and feel the impact of that interrogation. 

The training sessions you provided for our front-of-house staff, as well as our artist educators and exhibition crew in May left a lasting impression on our team. A number of them have expressed to me how informative, empowering and fun it was.  

Knowing that our weekend staff have the confidence and skills to facilitate a deeper connection between our audiences and exhibitions is of immense value to us as a Regional Gallery.

Bradley Hammond
Director, Orange Regional Gallery 

art and dementia group in bella Room.jpg

Developing creative learning strategies

  • Following on from the training sessions, I worked with Liam and the Artist Educators to discuss creative learning strategies – looking at themes within the work such as connection, stories, love / fear of horses, empathy, movement and nature.

  • The second day of the workshop was spent looking at interpretation and installation of the work.

Responses we are receiving from our surveys since your training session suggest that the vast majority of visitors and participants are feeling welcome while visiting the gallery, and that they found the Gallery team to be knowledgeable and helpful.

The ways of thinking and engaging that you have passed on to us will be useful well beyond this particular exhibition. 

Bradley Hammond
Director, Orange Regional Gallery

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