Anna Moreau chats with Ted Snell, Curtin University Dean of Arts
WABN: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone to motivate a team?
TS: "The best way is to share the same vision and the same passion even when the workload is impossible, and the deadline getting closer, it's passion that makes possible to achieve those."
WABN: What was the most challenging event in your career?
TS: "When I was head of the school of art in 1996, I was assured that the school was in excellent financial state but there was actually a shortfall several hundreds thousands dollars in the budget, as a result I had to end the contracts of five of my close colleagues.
It was very difficult had to walk straight up to them and tell them, people that I respected enormously but I am pleased to say that I am very good friends with those people 13 years later.
After this event we decided to reinvent ourselves, within five years we were once again financially viable."
WABN: What is the main quality are you looking for within your team members?
TS: "Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple said that the two things he sought was sociability and a good drawing portfolio; the first one pretty obvious but the second one is about wanting people who have ideas and can share them, put them out into the world. It's about looking for creative people who can achieve something and people who have that practical ability."
WABN: What's best measurement of your performance, and can you name a highlight in your career?
TS: "The best measurement is when an artist says to us that we've put on the best presentation of their work. Tracey Moffatt, who is one of Australia's most famous artists made that statement, Brooke Andrew said the same as well.
That's the highlight for me, when people have those comments about our work."
WABN: How do you deal with egos in your workplace?
TS: "In arts we have very big egos and we work with them because they are important. Trusting the artists is an important part of the process as long as it is towards the goal of making the exhibition as good as possible."
WABN: Is there an organization/business model that you strive to achieve/reach?
TS: "Other than being particularly well funded - in other words, Utopia - I don't have a particular business model that I look up to."
WABN: Which personality inspired you the most throughout your career?
TS: "The one person I am thinking of is Jim Eade, he was curator at the Tate Gallery in London where he collected works from artists such as Picasso and Matisse.
He set up Kettles Yard gallery as part of Cambridge University which is the most beautiful environment to sit and look at art. His approach and connoisseurship I have always admired."