The Ballarat International Foto Biennale was founded in 2005 and attracts significant international and Australian photographers as one of Australia’s pre-eminent photographic festivals. It is a not-for-profit event that immerses the historic town of Ballarat in photographic art.
Now in its 19th year, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale has enriched the cultural landscape of regional Victoria, becoming the most significant, prestigious photographic arts festival in Australia. Held every two years we showcase work from domestic and international artists that is new, previously unseen in Australia or contextualised afresh through a curated Core Program of exhibitions shown both indoors and outside. The Open Program fosters the development of emerging artists and there are public programs and education programs comprising talks, workshops and prizes which round out a rich and diverse cultural event that attracts 40,000 people, delivering significant economic and cultural impact.
Jeff Moorfoot OAM is the founder of the organisation, starting the event in the regional Victorian town of Daylesford before moving to the larger city of Ballarat as the Biennale expanded. At the end of 2015, he retired as the driving force behind Australia’s largest and most comprehensive international festival of photography. In the course of six festivals, [the first two being held in Daylesford in 2005 and 2007 as the Daylesford Foto Biennale] he guided the BIFB to establish itself an International reputation in photographic circles across all disciplines – from commercial to fine art, from professional to amateur, from technique to aesthetic. From 2016 to 2021 Artistic Director, Fiona Sweet presented three Biennales, featuring David LaChapelle, Liu Bolin and the Linda McCartney: Retrospective – transforming the Biennale into a world-class event with strong curatorial leadership, artistic integrity and more than 80,000 visitors. During her directorship, Fiona Sweet raised over $20M to facilitate the vision of being the leading photographic biennale in Australia. The creation of the National Centre For Photography, Australia’s only contemporary gallery dedicated to photography, and the state government funding acquired to support this initiative will remain evident for many years into the future, showcasing Fiona’s legacy and vision.
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale is Australia’s leading photographic festival. We’ve done this by consistently finding new ways to engage audiences with photography, responding to our audience’s needs, their changing vision of art and culture, and the role it plays in shaping Ballarat. We recognise and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people as the First Australians. Through photography, we see our world reflected back in unexpected ways through the eyes of others: artists, community and new perspectives.
How We Support Artists
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale prides itself on being a sustainable and flexible organisation, registered as a not-for-profit and reporting to the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) quarterly with audited financials every year. With the full support of our board and carefully documented audited accounts, we ensure that all our artists are supported throughout the Foto Biennale. As registered members of the National Association for Visual Artists (NAVA) and the International Biennial Association (IBA), we ensure all contracted artists are fairly paid. Contracted artists are paid in full prior to or in the opening week of the festival. Any touring of artists’ works are re-contracted and paid additional touring fees. Artist fees are exclusive of their printing and material costs.
Our exhibition spaces and audience engagement ensure that artists are exposed to large audiences within the beautiful heritage buildings of Ballarat, and in 2017 we were thrilled that 3 artists gained gallery representation as a direct result of exhibiting with us. Another artist had his complete exhibition purchased by the NGV.
All of our supporters receive tax-deductible receipts for their donations. Government organisations (local, state and federal) and Trusts and Foundations receive detailed acquittal reports. All corporate sponsors are contracted and receive a report on the marketing outcomes of the festival.
The 10th Ballarat International Foto Biennale will take place 26 August to 22 October 2023.
Chief Executive Officer: Vanessa Gerrans
General Manager & Marketing: Kate O’Hehir
Creative Producer: Pete Volich
Assistant Curator: Madeleine Sherburn
Education & Public Engagement Coordinator: Christine McFetridge
Event Producer & Open Program Coordinator: Meg Hewitt
Web Developer: Hody Hong
IT Support: Jason Maher
Legals: Lloyd Dewar, Dewar Law
Alicia Linley is a Managing Director at Mitchell Harris Wines and has overseen the business excel from the startup phase to an award-winning venue. Through sound financial management and strategic business development she has been able to elevate Mitchell Harris from more than just a winemaker and hospitality venue, into a genuine tourism destination for Ballarat. Alicia was a Victorian finalist for the 2019 Telstra Business Women’s Awards.
Leila Chalk is the Managing Partner of Forty Four Degrees Lawyers and Consultants. She is a published author and obsessed baker. Her excitement for festivals, events, and travel is only matched by her dedication to her clients and her community. In her legal practice Leila advises on complicated commercial and property matters, drafts and negotiates deals, and leads the family and criminal law teams. Having been an asylum seeker, a refugee, a mother, a student, and a mentor, Leila is passionate about social issues, access, and diversity.
Gayle Boschert has long experience of working with for-purpose boards which has fostered a capacity to think and act strategically in guiding the growth of and strong commitment to both the Ballarat community and the health of local community for purpose organisations. Gayle has significant knowledge of for-purpose organisations and strong commitment to the power of local board governance fuells her volunteering spanning the last 20 years.
Zoë Croggon is a Melbourne-based photographic artist holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from the Victorian College of the Arts. She has held solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria, the Perth Centre for Photography and Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery and was the recipient of the Art Gallery of New South Wales Studio Scholarship at the Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris, 2018). Zoë brings her versatile and expansive knowledge of contemporary art and specifically expanded photography to the Ballarat International Foto Biennale board. Zoë is represented by Daine Singer, Melbourne..
Nici Cumpston OAM brings a resolute passion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the development and recognition of their artistic practice to the Ballarat International Foto Biennale board. Born in Adelaide, Nici Cumpston, who is of Afghan, English, Irish and Barkandji Aboriginal heritage, is a descendant of the Darling River people of north western, New South Wales. Nici is simultaneously an artist, a curator, a writer, an educator and a builder of relationships.
Georgia Manifold has experience in a range of arts platforms throughout the Asia Pacific region. As an art advisor, she has developed programs for the hospitality, aviation and investment banking sectors and initiated cross-cultural collaborations for Australian and South-East Asian artists, collectors and galleries. Her background is in art practice and cultural entrepreneurism with an interest in audience engagement intiatives, place-making and technology. Georgia lives in regional Victoria and continues to consult on local and international creative projects.
James Remington is a Director of Nevetts Lawyers specialising in commercial litigation and workplace relations. He also a board member of the Midlands Golf Club, an advisory member of Ballarat Clarendon College’s Audit and Risk Committee, and a former President of the Ballarat and District Law Association. He grew up in Ballarat and spent 10 years studying and working in Melbourne before returning home in 2016. James is passionate about Ballarat and passionate about the arts.
Jane Ross is the Founder of The Culture Farm, a business specialising in arts marketing and cultural tourism. Jane has 20 years’ experience working in arts marketing and cultural tourism in state and local government, not-for-profit and commercial organisations both nationally and internationally. She wrote and oversaw the implementation of the Victorian Government’s first Arts, Theatre and Cultural Tourism Strategy; she has delivered tourism campaigns and overarching marketing campaigns for some of Australia’s most loved and highly attended visual arts exhibitions; she has been Head of Marketing and Tourism for some of the world’s most successful theatre productions and has been responsible for the launch and management of a collective of some of Australia’s most influential cultural attractions focussed on presenting Australia’s best cultural tourism offerings to the world. Jane attended school in Ballarat, has worked in Ballarat and is a regular visitor to Ballarat. The opportunity to give back to a city that has given so much to her is a privilege.
Joseph van Dyk is a Ballarat local and passionate supporter of regional Victoria. He has more than 15 years’ property development experience in Australia and the UK, specialising in residential and mixed-use developments. His experience includes site acquisition, complex joint venture structuring, legal, finance, planning, design, sales and delivery across multiple projects. He has also been heavily involved in stakeholder management, particularly with affordable housing providers, government departments and infrastructure authorities. Joseph has been responsible for national award-winning master planned communities and urban regeneration projects.
Chris brings two decades’ experience leading corporate strategy, communications, marketing, stakeholder engagement and ESG initiatives across the public and private sectors; currently as an Executive Director for leading public infrastructure investor, developer and manager, Plenary Group. A Ballarat local, he is also a passionate advocate for public and private organisations demonstrating benefit to the communities in which they operate. Chris is a Trustee of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, a member of Committee for Melbourne’s Future Economy Standing Committee and former board member and treasurer of International Association of Business Communicators Victoria.
The Hon. Steve Bracks AC
Her Honour Judge Sara Hinchey
Mayor Cr Des Hudson OAM
Peter Jopling AM QC
Julie Kantor AO
Natalie King OAM
The Hon. Robert Knowles AO
Kate Torney OAM