Ian Watts OAM was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the museums and galleries sector. Ian says the opportunity and experience of the Deakin Museum Studies course helped broaden his understanding and appreciation of museums.
Interview with Robyn Osborne
Can you tell us about your time at Deakin?
Combining part time study with full time work presented challenges and opportunities. The challenges were mostly related to time management. Museum studies complemented my work in museum education and work in the museum informed my museum studies.
What has been the biggest influence on your career?
People who have believed in me and supported me in my endeavours.
How did you progress this career path?
The transfer from an inner suburban Infant art program to the NGV proved a transformative experience. The joy of exploring basic art elements with six and seven year olds gave way to introducing the wonders of Australia’s oldest and largest art collection to ‘students’ of all ages. Lessons learned in one context were adapted to another. Thus began a forty plus year career in museum education: from part-time art teacher in infant classrooms to the Australian representative on an international committee for City Museums.
What has been your proudest moment in your career journey?
Sharing the collections and programs of our city with colleagues from around the world during the ICOM Triennial Conference in Melbourne – October 1998.
What do you believe Deakin University has shown you/given you as a person?
The need to persevere – sometimes against the odds.
What are your passions outside your work?
Music, dance, drama and travel.
How would someone describe you?
‘Inclusive and connective’ from the acknowledgement of my honour – Museums Galleries Australia Education Network Bulletin, 30 January 2019.
Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting out in your career?
Make the most of every opportunity that presents itself, join networks and share the possibilities.
What is something that amazes you?
The ability of the various art forms to communicate.