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Graduate Profile

Carollyn Kavanagh

Master of Arts (Curatorial and Museum Studies)

Carollyn Kavanagh, MA Curatorial and Museum Studies Adelaide City Council's Emerging Curator, 2014; Independent Curator, and Administrations and Communications Officer, Guildhouse.

Carollyn Kavanagh

As a mature age student, my decision to begin the Art History and Curatorial and Museum Studies course was transformative.

Art and design have always been something I'm passionate about. I trained as an illustrator and graphic designer and enjoyed a successful career as a visual communicator with a daily newspaper. Uncertainty in the print industry led me to reconsider my career choices. A well placed ad and a few words of encouragement were all it took for me to take that first leap and enrol. The opportunity to support and promote artists as well as presenting art in a professional capacity is really rewarding.

My first point of contact with the University of Adelaide & the Art Gallery of South Australia's Curatorial Masters Course was an eye catching ad with a headline about following your dreams, and studying art history. I discussed enrolling with Dr Catherine Speck and her confidence that I could make the leap from advertising to curating was encouraging.

The opportunity to learn in a gallery setting, as well an academic environment, was a significant strength of the course. After-dark lectures at the Art Gallery of South Australia were always a highlight.

The Art History and Curatorial and Museum Studies course introduced me to a new way of thinking. It also introduced me to a range of individuals who had either, made art a career or were learning how to. From the course lecturers and weekly special guest speakers to the curators at the Art Gallery of South Australia, and my fellow students, I was exposed to a sense of enthusiasm as well as being constantly challenged.

The most valuable asset the course has offered me is a considered curatorial approach - an understanding of critical thinking, and ultimately a joy of discovering the diverse stories artists tell.

In the final year of curatorial study I was fortunate to have Dr Claire Roberts and independent curator Fulvia Mantelli as my lecturers. The example of their successful careers as well as their support, encouragement and instruction provided me with the necessary tools and confidence in my future as an emerging curator.

I believe the internship is an essential component of the course. Working within organisations like the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Queensland Art Gallery gave me an understanding of the day to day process of preparing and installing exhibitions, as well as collection management. The freedom to choose where these internships took place enabled me to work with dynamic Australian curators like Lisa Slade and Russell Storer.

Art History and Curatorial and Museum Studies

722 Napier Building
The University of Adelaide


Ph: +61 8 8313 4249
Fax: +61 8 8313 4341
School of Humanities