Science Gallery Melbourne opens to the public this June
Science Gallery Melbourne is the first and only Australian node in the internationally acclaimed Science Gallery Network. It will open a new state-of-the-art gallery in June, offering over 3500 square metres of exhibition space, a learning centre, a theatre, workshops and social spaces, designed to inspire young adults through art, science and innovation.
Since 2017 Science Gallery Melbourne has created exhibitions and programs in a series of disparate venues and pop-up sites around Melbourne – from a historical gymnasium to the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne, to an underground carpark, a shipping container, the Maribyrnong and Yarra rivers, and city laneways, streets and public gardens.
In June this year it will launch its own purpose-built gallery on the corner of Grattan and Swanston Streets, a gateway to the University of Melbourne’s new Melbourne Connect innovation precinct, and a major new attraction delivering immersive, interactive exhibitions and events focused on the collision of art and science.
Director of Museums and Collections Rose Hiscock said the launch of the purpose-built museum is a major milestone.
“Science Gallery Melbourne provides a contemporary, playful and welcoming space for young people to explore issues, ideas and the great challenges of our time. As a new home for STEM engagement, we aim to show that anything is possible when science and art come together,” Ms Hiscock said.
Science Gallery Melbourne, designed by award-winning architect William Smart from Smart Design Studio, offers over 3500 square metres of flexible exhibition, event, education, laboratory, retail and theatre spaces, as well as social areas for collaboration and discussion.
It will include a STEM Centre of Excellence, a unique new learning centre for Victorian secondary students created under a partnership between the Victorian State Government and the University of Melbourne.
Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said that as a critical part of Melbourne Connect, Science Gallery Melbourne demonstrates an unwavering commitment to young people and their path to higher education and innovation.
“By bringing together science, innovation and creative thinking, we encourage conversations and ideas about the future of the Australian and global work force. The success of the Science Gallery model is measured by the rich, engaging learning environment that it offers young people,” Professor Maskell said.
Science Gallery Melbourne is part of the Science Gallery Network of museums embedded in universities around the world, with proven success at engaging 15-25-year-olds in STEM subjects and pathways – the key being the presentation of immersive, experimental and experiential exhibitions that blend scientific theory and new technologies with conceptual themes and creativity.
Science Gallery International CEO Dr Andrea Bandelli welcomed the opening of Science Gallery Melbourne.
“The Science Gallery Network enables universities to develop healthy, interdisciplinary narratives rooted in science and culture, advancing knowledge and empowering our participants to develop cultural and social agency. Science Gallery Melbourne is the most comprehensive embodiment of this approach to date and a magnificent international flagship for the Network,” Dr Bandelli said.
About Science Gallery Melbourne programs
Science Gallery Melbourne offers a changing program of exhibitions and events that showcase interdisciplinary practice and explore contemporary ideas. The opening exhibition, MENTAL, curated with young adults for young adults, will feature 25 new projects and installations from local and international artists that question, challenge and confront societal bias about mental health, exploring the spectrum of experience and lived realities. A program of events including workshops, performance, discussion panels and public art activations will accompany the season.
Like previous exhibitions, MENTAL: Head Inside will be part experiment, part exhibition – always thought provoking, sometimes humorous, and a place for exploring, participating and questioning.
Science Gallery Melbourne First Nations Framework
The site of the new Science Gallery building in the Melbourne Connect precinct was the place of ceremonies of celebration, initiation and renewal for the local Aboriginal peoples. Science Gallery Melbourne aims to centre and highlight First Nations People in all of its programs, exhibitions and events. Together with INIDIGI LAB, Science Gallery Melbourne has developed a First Nations Framework, titled Nagaluri, that will guide and inform engagement with and include important ideas and aspirations of First Nations Peoples.
About the Digital Brick Entrance
The entrance to Science Gallery Melbourne features 226 phone-sized and touch-enabled screens located behind polished Venetian glass bricks, rendering the building façade an ever changing canvas for digital data and interactive media. It is a complex piece of technology built as a result of a collaboration between engineering, research, technology, architecture and media. The project was led by Dr Niels Wouters. Collaborators include the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Connect and School of Computing and Information Systems, and external collaborators Arup, AVIT Integration Systems, Byrne Construction Systems, Lendlease, Light-Ctrl, Reelize Studio and Woods Bagot.
The debut content, titled the Digital Birthing Tree, draws on the University’s vast archives and collections material to uncover untold stories about the site, reimagine narratives of colonisation and pay homage to the Royal Women’s Hospital. The content piece was developed in consultation with the University’s many Indigenous advisory groups and spearheaded by Susie Anderson.
About Melbourne Connect
Powered by the University of Melbourne in partnership with a consortium led by Lendlease, Melbourne Connect brings together world-class researchers, startups, government, corporates, industry, higher-degree students, artists and Science Gallery Melbourne in a purpose-built precinct located on the former Royal Women’s Hospital site at the intersection of Swanston and Grattan Streets and next to the Parkville campus. Designed to become a digital and data powerhouse with a focus on emerging technologies it will bring together brilliant minds to help tackle some of the most pressing future challenges.
Science Gallery Network
Science Gallery Melbourne is part of the Science Gallery Network, the world’s only university network dedicated to public engagement with art and science, pioneered by Trinity College Dublin. Bringing science, art, technology and design together, Science Gallery aims to ignite a passion in young people for new ideas and areas of study that can help to guide their career and educational choice, equipping them with resilience, empathy and ethical understanding to thrive in the knowledge economy.
The University of Melbourne secured the rights to Australia’s only node in the highly successful Science Gallery Network providing a framework to address Australia’s urgent issues regarding the STEM workforce. There are currently eight similar galleries located in Dublin, London, Melbourne, Bangalore, Venice, Rotterdam, Detroit, and Atlanta.
The development of the network is overseen by Science Gallery International, the non-profit organisation that provides the services, tools and resources to power and expand the network, enabling a truly global learning experience for university faculty, students and researchers and the local community.
Science Gallery Melbourne partners
Science Gallery Melbourne works in partnership with donors and industry supporters to push the boundaries of innovation and provide inspiring opportunities for young people in Australia. Special thanks to our transformational partners – Peter and Ruth McMullin, whose leadership inspired Science Gallery Melbourne, and major partners: The Hugh Williamson Foundation, PACCAR, DCF Property, BASF Australia, Toyota and VicHealth.