Jo is a recognised youth arts engagement specialist, researcher, arts writer and public programmer with over a decade's experience working in museums nationally and internationally.


From 2011-2013 she worked at the South London Gallery on the world-leading Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project in partnership with Tate, Whitechapel Gallery, the Hayward Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts and since returning to Australia, her practice has focused on youth-led arts programming, impact research and capacity-building partnerships.


Jo is driven by an enthusiastic belief in art’s capacity to negotiate and inspire new ways of understanding ourselves and the world around us and in all its guises, her work strives to illuminate these ideas and connections for a wide range of audiences and sector stakeholders.


She is looking to work with museums and galleries to identify and develop capacity-building programming opportunities, and to help advocate for the inclusion, contribution and expertise of young people within arts institutions, through evaluation and storytelling.


Major youth arts engagement projects she has initiated include Kaldor Public Art Project's 2015 Regional Youth Engagement Program with Dubbo Regional Gallery as part of Project 15 - Marina Abramovic: In Residence; MCA Australia'a youth-led public program and capacity building initiative, GENEXT Goes West (2017-2021); The Condensery - Somerset Regional Gallery (Qld)'s 'Things I Want To Say' youth outreach program (2022-2023) and the National Gallery of Australia's Digital Young Writers Program (2022-2024).


She was awarded her Churchill Fellowship while working as the Young Creative Coordinator at the MCA and undertook her research in North America, looking at informal learning and youth-led engagement programs in cultural organisations. In 2019 she co-authored a major study on the impact of participation for young people at GENEXT, the MCA's flagship youth program, which at that stage had welcomed over 30,000 young people over it's then-13-year history.


Jo has worked as the senior researcher in the ABC Arts team from 2021-2023 and has also undertaken research and impact evaluation for arts organisations including the National Gallery of Australia and Te Tuhi Auckland. As a leading voice on youth arts engagement in Australia, she has contributed to several national and international publications including 'Beyond Community Engagement: Transforming dialogues in art, education and the cultural sphere' (UNSW 2018) and 'Museum Teen Programs How-To Kit' (Walker Art Center Minneapolis 2023).


As an arts writer she has contributed to the 2016 Biennale of Sydney as well as ABC Arts, Artlink and Art Collector magazines, Museums & Galleries NSW, the Sydney Morning Herald. She has also written artist essays for exhibitions at Alaska Projects, Sullivan & Strumpf Fine Art and The Lock Up, Newcastle.


Jo has a MA Contemporary Art (Merit) from Manchester University and a Bachelor History/Bachelor of Art Theory (Honours II) degree from the College of Fine Arts, UNSW.

Project

To investigate different models of informal learning and youth-led engagement in arts organisations

To investigate different models of informal learning and youth-led engagement in arts organisations

Canada
USA
The Arts
Jo Higgins

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