consultant | heritage expert | artist | entrepreneur
Cara-Ann Simpson is a consultant, artist, heritage expert, and entrepreneur, with a background as an executive director, property manager, curator, conservator, and educator. She is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on sculpture, sound, space and the participant. Cara-Ann is engaged with cultural heritage, landscape and how people interact with their environment.
Cara-Ann was the inaugural Director of Cruden Farm, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch’s iconic property in Langwarrin, Victoria (2016-18), but had to resign due to unexpected illness, later diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis, after only 6 months of active work. Her contributions to Cruden Farm included policy creation & implementation; management & strategic plan; property hire & volunteer programs; and “big picture” planning for the ongoing maintenance, conservation and promotion of the diverse range of property assets. In 2017, Cara-Ann received the Young Alumnus of the Year Award from the University of Southern Queensland.
She was the Mornington Peninsula Regional Manager for the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) from 2014 until 2016. During this period Cara-Ann lived onsite at Mulberry Hill, the estate of Sir Daryl (artist) and Lady Joan (artist & author) Lindsay, in a cottage previously occupied by Rick Amor (artist) and his family. Cara-Ann was the regional manager for the Mornington Peninsula, with three significant properties under her management: Mulberry Hill (Langwarrin), McCrae Homestead (McCrae), and Endeavour Fern Gully (Red Hill). With an enthusiastic volunteer team & dedicated regional Members Branch, Cara-Ann oversaw the repair and re-opening of Mulberry Hill to the public, as well as the reconstruction of the garden, and much need conservation work across the properties. A particular highlight of her time included the curation of the exhibition Return to Hanging Rock: celebrating 40 years of Picnic at Hanging Rock, along with design & production of exhibition and property specific merchandise.
From 2011-2014 Cara-Ann was the curator at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, the public art gallery of the City of Darebin, Melbourne, and the City of Darebin art and history collection. During this period she curated and produced more than 30 exhibitions, including a survey show of women artists in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, Northern Lights; while the co-curated (with Malte Wagenfeld) exhibition Cloudy Sensoria explored sensory installations from the visual to olfactory senses & aural. Cara-Ann also managed, conserved and curated the Darebin Art & History Collection during this period; putting new policies & procedures in place meeting Museums Australia standards and ensuring a much larger percentage of the collection was on display across municipal buildings, as well as enabling much of the collection to go live online.
In 2013, she published an extended journal article with collaborator Eva Cheng (DSP & research engineer) in the International Journal of Art & Technology, was commissioned by Albury City Council and acquired into the Toowoomba Regional Council and Albury City Council art collections.
Cara-Ann received the 2012 Flanagan Art Exhibition winner of the University of Ballarat Emerging Artist Prize (St. Patrick’s College, Ballarat) as well as winning the Digital/Photographic Print Award at the Albert Park College Art Show (2012). In 2012, Cara-Ann has had an International solo exhibition, Resonations #1: cyclic glass, at Noxious Sector Projects in Seattle, WA, USA, and was interviewed by Camila Galaz on Radio Valerie’s “Let’s Art,” available on mixcloud.
In 2011, Cara-Ann received a New Work (Media Arts) Music Board Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts and an International Program: Cultural Exchange Grant from Arts Victoria. She presented at Subtle Technologies Festival & Symposium in Toronto, Canada, and the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. Cara-Ann received a Young Artists’ Grant, City of Melbourne to support the exhibition of Geo Sound Helmets at Kings ARI in Melbourne, Australia.
Geo Sound Helmets is a breath responsive installation that has been in development since 2008. The installation, exhibited in 2011 at Blue Oyster Art Project Space, Dunedin, NZ and Kings ARI, Melbourne, was produced in collaboration with technical team: Ben Landau (industrial design), James Laird (biomedical engineer, programming) and Eva Cheng (research engineer).
In 2010 she received an ArtStart grant, Australia Council for the Arts, and attended the IEEE International Conference on Multimedia & Expo (ICME2010, Singapore) where she presented a paper with collaborator Eva Cheng (research engineer) on an interactive sound installation. The Janet Holmes á Court Artists’ Grant Scheme supported the development of this installation in 2009, and Cara-Ann was subsequently featured in Real Time Magazine’s online Studio section.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts First Class Honours from the University of Southern Queensland in 2008, and received the University of Southern Queensland Faculty of Arts medal in 2007. Simpson was the recipient of the Hobday and Hingston Bursary from the Queensland Art Gallery in 2007 for being the most promising undergraduate student from a Queensland tertiary art course. Cara-Ann also received the Asia-Pacific Golden Key International Honours Society Visual & Performing Arts Sculpture Award (2008), and was short-listed in the Wilson HTM National Art Prize (2009), and Agendo (2009).
Simpson has had a number of solo exhibitions, sound releases and been involved in numerous performances and group shows within Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. Cara-Ann was the Artistic Co-Director & Co-Producer of Electrofringe Ltd from January 2011 – April 2013, a not-for-profit electronic arts organisation with year-round programming in Australia, and remained on the Board of Directors until December 2013. She is currently resides in Melbourne, Australia with her partner & their two dogs.
Note that all views expressed on this website are Cara-Ann’s own views and do not necessarily reflect associated organisations and institutions.
Photo credits: University of Southern Queensland