Alarm as Griffith University Art Museum faces closure

Media Release

NAVA shares alarm over Griffith University’s proposed closure of Griffith University Art Museum (GUAM), as announced in a change proposal released on 5 December 2023.

Citing financial deficits and the need for additional space for Griffith Film School (GFS), the change proposal says Griffith University will repurpose the gallery to accommodate GFS's growing student numbers and to optimise resources for teaching, learning, and research.  

NAVA firmly asserts that the loss of GUAM would undeniably affect teaching, learning, and research at the Queensland College of Art (QCA). The proposed closure fails to recognise that art museums play an integral role in the educational experience, both formally and informally.

Closing GUAM would not only be a substantial blow to the art school; it would also send ripples through Queensland’s entire arts ecosystem. GUAM serves as a critical training ground for arts workers, curators, and artists in Brisbane to be well-prepared to embark on and progress in their professional careers. 

Griffith University is Australia’s undisputed leader in Indigenous visual arts education and research. The pivotal role played by GUAM in bolstering the careers of many QCA alumni is exemplified by the publication of debut monographs for D Harding and Gordon Hookey. In 2022, GUAM collaborated with Documenta to co-published a monograph on artist and activist Richard Bell

Additionally, GUAM’s proposed closure jeopardises upcoming programs, including the 2024 staging of ‘Taring Padi: Tanah Tumpah Darah’, the collaboration between Taring Padi and proppaNOW. 

University art museums are significant contributors to Australia’s cultural ecology, playing a dynamic role locally, regionally, and nationally. NAVA strongly urges Griffith University to reconsider the proposed closure of GUAM. Cutting visual arts components should not be the default solution. NAVA believes there are more creative and viable alternatives to address space constraints.

NAVA implores Griffith University to prioritise the preservation of GUAM and carefully consider the adverse consequences of closure on the university and the broader visual arts sector.

The change proposal is open for feedback from Griffith University staff members and the broader community until 15 December 2023. NAVA strongly encourages artists, arts workers and arts organisations to email with your concerns.

Add your voice

  1. Provide feedback via email
  2. Sign the Student-led petition ‘Defend Griffith University Art Museum (GUAM): Preserve Our Artistic and Cultural Legacy!’
  3. Join the Protest to Defend G.U.A.M., 11:30 am Wednesday 13 December 2023, Griffith University Art Museum

Image credit

Image: Griffith University Art Museum Lunchbox Lecture. Photo by TingTing Li.

Alarm as Griffith University Art Museum faces closure