The Potter engages with creativity and encourages learning through art
The Ian Potter Museum of Art was founded in 1972 and is the University of Melbourne’s art museum. Housed in an award-winning building opened in 1998, the Potter has staged over 515 exhibitions during the course of its 46-year history. Its exhibitions and associated programs have supported countless artists, curators, writers and academics and have made a significant contribution to the cultural and social wealth of the University community – especially students – as well as to the City of Melbourne and the State of Victoria. This is a history that we are proud of.
The Potter manages the University of Melbourne Art Collection, which holds works ranging from antiquity to contemporary art, including international and Australian Indigenous material culture and works by major Australian artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Extraordinary in its breadth and idiosyncratic in its depth, the collection – now numbering some 16,000 objects – is uniquely tied to the University’s endeavours via personal and practical connections, whether through an individual bequest, portrait commission, artist-in-residence program, teaching activities or field research. In recent years the development of the collection has extended beyond this important foundation to reflect the broader community and the role of the University as a place of learning central to the cultural life of Melbourne.
Embracing research, intellectual curiosity and discovery, the Potter is committed to extensive participation in the University’s interdisciplinary degree structure. We aim to make art and the University’s collections central to teaching and learning, regardless of the discipline of study, and actively contribute to curriculum development across all faculties through our exhibitions and programs and through real world engagement with objects and issues. Our diverse programs encourage experimentation, intellectual excitement, a connection with social context and an embracing of cultural diversity.
As a space that encourages active dialogue and debate, the Potter is uniquely placed to make a difference to the lives of our audiences and, within the University, to make the experience of art and the role of creativity relevant, enjoyable and of value to the next generation.
To provide a contemporary lens on creative cultures past and present and establish a platform through art that generates conversations and debate.
To collect, preserve, display and interpret works of art within a multidisciplinary context; to challenge and engage audiences; and to advance the appreciation of cultural heritage on a local, national and international level; thereby contributing to the University of Melbourne’s activities as a leading teaching and research institution.
The centrality of art and artists to everything we do
The power of art to inspire and challenge
The contribution of the Potter as a distinctive voice
The role of the Potter as a portal to the University
Highlights of our year
University Art Museums Australia
The Potter is a proud member of UAMA (University Art Museums Australia). Australian university art museums are leading and dynamic contributors to the intellectual and cultural life of the nation. There are currently 22 university art museums (UAMs) in Australia. Their art collections offer a rich cultural history and their exhibition programs attract university staff and students, members of the art community and the general public. They showcase prominent and emerging Australian, Indigenous and international artists through exhibitions, acquisitions, public art commissions, publications and festivals. In contributing to the academic and cultural sectors, they demonstrate best practice in visual arts and museum research, production and community engagement.