- The Ballarat International Foto Biennale is the most significant and influential photographic festival in Australia
- The Foto Biennale is guided by the principle that it not only serves the community but also plays a vital role in cultivating it
- Exceptional opportunity for a strategic and creative leader to play a key role in the organisation’s development into a year-round gallery, venue and biennial festival
Established in 2005, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale has enriched the cultural landscape of regional Victoria and become the most important and influential photographic arts festival in Australia. Held every two years we showcase work from domestic and international artists that is new, previously unseen in Australia or contextualised afresh, and in our Open Program we foster the development of new artists.
A key part of each Biennale are the public programs and education programs comprising talks, workshops and prizes which round out a rich and diverse cultural event that attracts more than 30,000 people, delivering significant economic and cultural impact.
The Foto Biennale has attracted in excess of 200,000 visitors to Ballarat since its inception, and in 2018 we were recognised at the Federation Business School and Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Awards as the winner of the Visit Ballarat Events and Attractions Business Award. Our Founding Director, Jeff Moorfoot received an Order of Australia Medal for services to photography.
Over the past 15 years and 7 Biennale’s we have grown to become Australia’s leading photographic festival. We have achieved this by finding new ways to engage audiences with photography, responding to our audience’s needs, their changing vision of art and culture, and the role it plays in shaping Ballarat.
Our exhibition spaces and audience engagement ensure that artists are exposed to large audiences within the beautiful heritage buildings of Ballarat, and in 2017 we were thrilled that 3 artists gained gallery representation as a direct result of exhibiting with us. Another artist had his complete exhibition purchased by the NGV.
We recognise and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people as the First Australians. Through photography, we see our world reflected back in unexpected ways through the eyes of others: artists, community and new perspectives.
The BIFB’s goal to play a key role in the development of Ballarat’s creative sector was realised in 2018 with the purchase of the former Union Bank on Lydiard Street, which was supported by a number of generous donors who shared our vision.
With the additional financial support of the City of Ballarat and the Victorian Government, the establishment of the National Centre For Photography will expand the public gallery programming of Ballarat and be a key part of the vision of Ballarat City Councils Arts Precinct along with the Art Gallery of Ballarat and the Post Office Gallery.
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale prides itself on being a sustainable and flexible organisation. With the decision of our current Artistic Director/CEO, Fiona Sweet, to step down from the role, the BIFB Board has reviewed and assessed the key challenges and opportunities facing the organisation over the next 5 years. It is clear that the primary responsibility for both the BIFB Board and the organisation’s leader is the redevelopment of the Union Bank building into the National Centre For Photography. This, however, does not in any way detract from our vision for the Biennale, or our objective to program and hold the most significant and prestigious photographic arts festival in Australia.
To enable the organisation to achieve both of these purposes, the BIFB Board, after broad consultation, have resolved to restructure the organisation to create the new position of Chief Executive Officer, who will have responsibility for long term strategic planning and direction of the organisation, operating culture, day-to-day management and organisational performance along with high-level oversight of the programming of the National Centre for Photography and the artistic vision and delivery of the BIFB.
This new structure provides BIFB with the opportunity to move to a model – that is used by many significant biennale’s and festivals in Australia and internationally – with the appointment of an Artistic Director for each Biennale. The BIFB Board and CEO will oversee this process, along with a specially convened reference group comprised of BIFB Board representatives, cultural leaders and art-form specialists.
It is the BIFB Board’s intention to fully realise this approach and process in the first few months of 2022 so that the Artistic Director for the 2023 Ballarat International Foto Biennale will be confirmed and announced by mid-year.
This is an extremely exciting time for all of us at the BIFB as we embark on the next significant stage of our evolution. We very much look forward to working with our new CEO to further develop Australia’s leading photographic organisation and festival anchored in the new National Centre for Photography in the heart of Ballarat’s arts precinct.
Please contact the search consultant assisting the BIFB Board for more information on us, the role and the key requirements.