Appointment of a new (Honorary) Enterprise Professor: Professor Cav. Simon Mordant AO

The Centre of Visual Art (CoVA) at the University of Melbourne is delighted to announce the appointment of Enterprise Professor Cav. Simon Mordant AO, who will be joining the university in January 2021.

Simon Mordant, whose professional expertise in the international trends of museums and collections, philanthropy and governance models will contribute to the knowledge and creation of the University of Melbourne’s cultural ambitions at this point of great change and turbulence. CoVA seeks to occupy a space of leadership in cultural strengthening and building cultural resilience.

I have long admired how the University  of Melbourne has centered the Arts . The Cultural Commons vision and ambition is very exciting and I very much look forward to helping realise this important work.
– Cav. Simon Mordant AO

The Centre of Visual Art and its internationally recognised research fellows, in partnership with the newly-formed Department of Museums and Collections, embarks  on an ambitious plan to be an internationally significant cultural research leader and to expand the impact of the University’s cultural assets, through  education and research, public access, cultural policy and global perspectives, and most particularly the intersection of the public and private sector with cultural institutions.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Simon Mordant as our new Enterprise Professor,” said  Professor Su Baker, Director of the Centre of Visual Art and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Cultural Partnerships. “Mr Mordant  is a highly credentialled individual, deeply experienced in international institution-building and cultural knowledge. He will assist us in building capacity to meet our cultural ambition”.

Professor Charles Green, Executive Board of CoVA welcomed this appointment: “As Enterprise Professor, Simon Mordant will contribute expertise to seminars, workshops and fundraising in programs at the Centre of Visual Art, the Art History  department, the VCA and the Museums and Collections Department, working with graduate students who are keen to engage with international trends and with colleagues from museum and scholarly communities in North America, the UK and Europe.”

Director of the Museums and Collections Department Rose Hiscock enthusiastically welcomed this announcement and said: “Professor Simon Mordant will support the Museums and Collections Department in achieving our ten-year ambition, guided by a global comparative benchmarking study. The study identifies trends for how internationally important university museums are optimising their collections for civic and academic outcomes.

The project team has identified Cav. Simon Mordant as an expert in the cultural sector with a significant understanding of the frameworks and scaffolding that support cultural endeavours.  Cav. Mordant has vast experience in the governance and philanthropic support for complex, leading, agenda-setting art museums and art institutions. He has been a bridge for several decades between the world’s major art events and institutions, and the Australian art world. He has created innovative programs of fundraising and public engagement and has repeatedly demonstrated the capacity to enlist wide numbers of philanthropists, artists and art industry leaders in new, expansive visions.”

About Professor Cav. Simon Mordant AO

Simon Mordant is a passionate collector of contemporary art with a long history of benefaction to the Arts. In 2007 he was appointed Chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation which was re-established to raise funds for the $53 million capital campaign for its redevelopment. In 2010 Simon was appointed Chairman of the Board of the MCA Australia which he served on until July 2020 when he became the inaugural International Ambassador for the MCA.

In addition to the above, Simon chairs the NSW Visual Arts Board, is Vice Chair of MOMA PS1 in New York, a Trustee of the American Academy in Rome, a member of the International Council of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, a member of the Executive Committee of the Tate International Council, a director of the Garvan Research Foundation, a member of the Advisory Board of Venetian Heritage in Italy, Chair of Lend Lease’s Art Advisory Panel for Barangaroo, a member of The Centre for Independent Studies Board, a member of The Ethics Centre Board, and a Sydney Committee member of Human Rights Watch. He was Australian Commissioner for the 2013 & 2015 Venice Biennale, a director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2012-2017, Deputy President of Takeover Panel 2000-2010 and past board member of Opera Australia, Sydney Theatre Company, Bundanon Trust, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Los Angeles and Wharton Executive for Asia

In 2012, Simon was awarded an AM being made a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for Services to the Arts and to the cultural environment of Australia through philanthropic and executive roles, and to the community.

In 2020, Simon was knighted in Italy and awarded the Order of the Star of Italy (Cavaliere dell’ Ordine della Stella d’Italia) and was awarded an AO being made an Officer in the General Division of the order of Australia for Distinguished service to the visual arts at a national and international level, to emerging artists, and to philanthropy.