Captain Adele Catts
Army Museum South Queensland
When Captain Adele Catts was appointed as Manager of Army Museum South Queensland in July 2013, her main aims were to open up Victoria Barracks Brisbane to the public and to recruit volunteers. This remains her passion since being appointed as Curator in February 2020.
In 2014, a severe hailstorm damaged the Victoria Barracks buildings and while they were under repair, Adele turned her attention to volunteer recruitment. She took every opportunity to speak to potential volunteers and to outline her plans for the Barracks. Within a year, one volunteer had been joined by five more, and the team now numbers thirty-three and is still growing.
Whilst undertaking this initial recruitment, Adele began planning their first exhibition, Queensland Goes to War. From that point on, it was a matter of engaging the public to come to Victoria Barracks, which they did. Army Museum South Queensland has evolved from this humble beginning, presenting one or two original exhibitions every year. Each exhibition has its own launch to which Adele invites military dignitaries and members of other museums and historical organisations. Adele has also developed tours which have been well received by individual visitors and groups. She regularly attends schools and other groups, especially around ANZAC Day and other significant military events, to educate students and the public on the importance of commemorating these special days.
Adele has shown outstanding dedication to promote, educate and engage the public in military history. Leading by example, she encourages the volunteers to undertake research in planning the exhibitions, to attend courses to improve their skills in museum best practice, and to visit museums and galleries to critically observe the professional practice and displays. This has, in turn, continually improved the contribution made to Army Museum South Queensland and made the volunteers feel valued and appreciated.
Billie-Jo Ogilvie has served as Artspace Mackay’s Public Programs Officer for over twelve years. This position is a pivotal role for the gallery, taking responsibility for planning, development and implementation of an innovative gallery public program that includes educational, promotional and audience development outcomes.
In 2020, during COVID-19 facility closures and imposed travel restrictions, Billie-Jo’s swift, creative thinking led to the development of a number of quality, engaging online programs and activities.
These included the introduction of 3D virtual tours of exhibitions and live Facebook streaming of the 2020 Libris Awards announcements. ‘My Backyard and Beyond’ was an all-ages art project calling on the Mackay community to create original works on paper and to post them via traditional postage or via a makeshift post box installed at the front entrance of the gallery during closure. Over 100 of these artworks by children and adults were displayed in the Foyer Gallery upon re-opening.
‘Welcome to my Studio’ introduced filmed studio tours with local artists, promoted via website, Facebook and Instagram platforms. An online BMA Kidspace program provided employment for local art workshop tutors and a local musician to present filmed art activities and entertainment that toddlers and their carers could engage with at home.
Billie-Jo consistently provides inspiration as a role model for others and encourages her Public Programs team to implement new ideas, directions and initiatives. Her decisive leadership kept Artspace Mackay connected with local communities and audiences and reminded Council of the important role that the arts can play in keeping a community’s spirit buoyant in difficult times.