We’re excited to announce that 14 members from WA received bursaries to attend the Museums Galleries Australia National Conference in Melbourne, 4-7 June this year. They’re going to act as Confe-respondents to be your eyes and ears on the ground.

Let me introduce Confe-respondent #6….


jessica winters

I moved to Manjimup, Western Australia in 2016 in pursuit of being involved in the big changes happening in regional WA.

Originally from Perth, I have an Honours degree in Urban & Regional Planning and spent the first five years of my career working in community housing while concurrently running my own charity in community capacity building in the urban fringe of Cambodia.

My role now is Project Manager of the Transformation of the Manjimup Heritage Park – a Royalties for Regions initiative. It’s a full time paid role in juggling all the elements of redeveloping a major regional tourist precinct. The redevelopment includes design and development of the new state energy museum – the South West Energy Experience, along with the refurbishment of several other smaller exhibitions.

Manjimup is an exciting place to be at the moment. In 2011 it was identified as one of WA’s nine regional growth centres. Since then there has been rapid positive change throughout the town centre.

As my background in no way involved museum or arts and cultural development, I have endured a steep learning curve whilst trying to meet budget and timeframes that are part of the state and federal funded project. My greatest challenge at the moment is best practice in collection management, particularly storage and restoration.

I’m thoroughly looking forward to the conference, in particular I love the theme “Agents of Change”. In a regional community such as Manjimup I believe museums have a greater role than just showing our history. Museums can play a greater role in increasing awareness on certain topics in our community and provoking new thoughts. How do we change the thinking towards museums in regional communities? How do we move away from the perception of only targeting grey-nomads and involving the younger generations?

Confe-respondents are going to be sharing their expectations, experiences and learning from MGA2018 via this blog and our Facebook page so you can experience the conference through their eyes. Over the next few weeks we’ll introduce our correspondents and what they’re most looking forward to at MGA2018. In the meantime, if you want to hear what they have to say, make sure you subscribe to this blog, follow our Twitter profile (they’re going to be live tweeting) and have liked our Facebook page. You won’t want to miss a thing.