Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting lost in the rush

If you wanted to be the new director of Wellington’s City Gallery you will have already sent in your application. The strange thing about the process though is that even if you'd seen the announcement on day one, you'd only have had 20 days to get yourself sorted. Why the rush?

Current director Paula Savage had been seriously flagging that she'd leave for some time and -- although she certainly did the Museums Trust no favours with her timing -- it's hard to understand why the Trust wasn’t able to arrange her exit more gracefully. At the very least the job could have been advertised a couple of days after she announced her retirement in December last year. 

These appointments famously take time. The process of replacing the director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, for instance, took six months. In that case an acting director took over so maybe this is part of the problem the Trust faced. The City Gallery has no senior curator to step up in the interim. Also word has it that Savage has either already left the building using leave owed or finishes up this month. That means the pressure is on to find a replacement for one of the city's most high profile jobs as the Wellington City Council looks hard at its cultural investments. Just this morning there was tough talk in the DomPost about cutting the Council's contribution to Te Papa.

A list of possible replacements for Savage is easy to come up with as times are tough in museum land. The chances of getting overseas applications have never been better so watch this space as OTN monitors the overseas arrival lounge.
Image: A queue of potential directors line up outside the City Gallery for their interviews. (simulation only).