Congratulations to Janine Barrand AM (1978) who was recently awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division for significant service to the museum, arts and cultural sector.

Throughout her 38 years with Arts Centre Melbourne, most recently as Director of the Australian Performing Arts Collection, Janine has been at the forefront of change in the museum, arts and cultural sector.

Janine started an Arts degree, changed to a Bachelor of Education (Arts & Craft) at Melbourne State College before finding her fit and completing a Graduate Diploma of Museum Studies Deakin University. Queen’s provided her a welcoming community through the changes.

“There was a sense of achievement then when you successfully got through your HSC in Geelong and did well enough to get into Melbourne University. And then to be able to be a resident at Queen’s was the ultimate.”

Janine joined the Performing Arts Museum and found her niche and passion, working with performers, building the collection, and being at the forefront of curating innovative exhibitions.

“The first exhibition I did was called ‘Beat!’, exploring the history of Australian pop and rock music, which was the first time anyone had done that in the world. It wasn’t seen to be part of our cultural historical identity. I continued telling stories of popular forms of entertainment because they connect with everybody’s experience.”

When Janine took the Kylie Minogue exhibition to the V&A Museum in London it caused a sensation.

“There was much media conversation about what an exhibition about Kylie was doing at the V&A. It turned out to be incredibly popular for the V&A, and then they followed suit with other exhibitions about performers. I think there was a real sense of pride that we had started to break down the boundaries of other cultural institutions with an Australian artist. Then we took AC/DC: Australia’s Family Jewels to America, then Nick Cave: the exhibition around the country. Sharing Australian stories nationally and internationally was for me ultimately what it was all about.”

Janine is a strong believer in the power of the arts.

“It’s very much about the sense of communal experiences. Going to see a show with a group of people, whether it’s a comedy, opera or a rock concert, there is such a power in that experience of being together. The arts are who we are. They are part of our identity, help us to explore not only our personal identity but our communal identities.”

Now Janine works in a new field as a Senior Heritage Officer for the City of Greater Geelong and is a Board Director of Her Place Women’s Museum Australia. Becoming a Member of the Order of Australia has given her a chance to pause and reflect.

“It’s such a privilege to have been doing work that I have loved so much and to be recognised for it. It reflects all the work and all the people I’ve worked with. It sounds trite but something like this is not something you achieve on your own. Everything happens for a reason so Queen’s is part of it too. My hope is that my story in some way inspires the students at Queen’s to follow their passion, their dreams. Sometimes you go on a bit of a curvy path but you get there in the end. The arts is a great world to be in.”

Janine’s joy in her life’s work is apparent.

“People are everything so we must show kindness and compassion. Having fun and working with good people is important. I always think if you’re not having fun, why are you there?”


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