Q&A With Fiona Sweet

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Fiona Sweet is the new Creative Director of Ballarat International Foto. Her first festival will run from 19 August to 17 September 2017. A lifelong advocate for the arts and former head of Sweet Creative, a Melbourne-based design agency that has worked with many of Victoria’s leading arts organisations, Sweet has also served on the boards of the Melbourne Fringe, Chamber Made Opera, Shir Madness and Australian Graphic Design Association.

Fiona is an accomplished creative director and arts advocate with extensive not-for-profit experience. Fiona was the artistic director, founder and creative director of Sweet Creative, a successful brand agency she built into a leading agency in Victoria for arts organisations over 25 years. Fiona was the artist and curator for a photographic exhibition at 45 Downstairs “Sweet Oriander”, highlighting Sweet’s collaborations over five years with Malthouse Theatre.

Fiona has been the co-founder and Creative Director of the inaugural Acland Street Projection Festival in 2015. As a Melbourne Fringe Festival board member and design partner (2013-2016), Fiona served as the Chair of the Board fundraising subcommittee, developed branding strategy for four festivals and introduced the organisation to large corporate sponsors including Bank Australia.

Tell us about the plans you have for Ballarat International Foto (BIF) 2017 and beyond...

The festival has grown from strength to strength. The plans for 2017 are to extend the conversation about photography and to look at how we can better represent the future directions that photography is taking. I believe BIF has the potential to become an even more highly valued cultural resource, not only for Ballarat and the region, but for all of Victoria and Australia, as well as become a global centre for the photographic arts.

What can we look forward to at next year’s event?

We are still in planning stages but I can reveal that the core program will have a surprise international photographer who is considered one of the top ten photographers in the world today. It’s very exciting! As well, the Fringe Program of emerging and independent photographers will have a stronger community engagement program. There is so much I wish I could tell you but that will have to wait.

Who will this 2017 BIF be aimed at?

Photographers, photography enthusiasts, arts lovers and anyone who would like to escape to historic Ballarat for a weekend filled with art, culture and world-class photography.

Can you give us an idea of the international artists you will be showing?

It’s still top secret!

Ricky Mutsaers