Art speaks many languages


August is Queensland Multicultural Month and a visit to QAGOMA can be someone’s first experience of another culture.

Guided tours at QAGOMA provide an accessible and enjoyable way to celebrate cultural diversity. Volunteer Guides regularly offer tours to visitors from a range of cultural backgrounds and locations. Visitors from overseas are usually keen to see works by Indigenous Australian artists and to engage with the incredible variety of artwork from Australia and the Asia-Pacific region that is on display at both QAG and GOMA.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH US. Have you been on one of our guided tours?

BLOG-Queensland Multicultural Month-3

BLOG-Queensland Multicultural Month-1

These key areas of the Collection are also of interest to local groups from English Language Colleges, International Colleges at local tertiary institutions, study tours and multi-cultural community associations. The tour experience provides opportunities for cross-cultural learning and assists the participants in developing their language and communication skills.

The volunteer guide often includes contextual illustrations, maps and photographs to encourage understanding and connection with the artwork. Meaning is also sometimes translated through gesture or word association, and guides are rewarded in the shared moments of excitement, pleasure and awe expressed by tour participants. The vibrant Indigenous Australian Collection artworks and Queensland colonial paintings are especially popular with international students keen to explore local history and culture.

Through visual narratives, visitors from all corners of the globe are able to develop new insights, or discover commonalities that lead to the shared pleasure of multi-cultural inclusive connections.

Susan Rothnie, Volunteer Guide Training Officer
Debbie Brittain, Education Services Officer

Contact the QAGOMA Group Bookings Office
T: (07) 3840 7255

Art and Dementia Tours



Did you know our unique Art and Dementia tours last about an hour at a relaxed pace with seating provided in front of each artwork to enable your loved one time to discover aspects of the work that appeal to them. Four specially selected works are highlighted on each free tour, tailored to consider various themes and interests.

Tours are designed to stimulate conversation through observation, reflection and reminiscence. Our volunteer guides share stories and highlights about each work which encourages the sharing of feelings and experiences; the intimate environment enables the participant to connect socially within a small group setting and listen to others or contribute to the conversation; and opportunities arise to discover new things to spark and ongoing curiosity.

An artwork reminder and description about each work is a take-home memory of the tour which aims to encourage further conversation and provides their carer with a resource or stimulus to share, following the tour.

QAGOMA Art and Dementia tours are available for those with dementia living in home-based care, residential homes, and for clients in day respite centres and hospices. The QAGOMA Members program also offers regular Art and Dementia tours. Our next tour is scheduled on Wednesday 4 May.


I find the Art and Dementia tours help my husband to participate and have something to say in a different setting and he is always more content after the visit. Perhaps he feels he has achieved something? For myself, it is something enjoyable and different, ‘time-out’ from my caring role.
(Carol, wife and carer of tour participant Reg)

My wife gets quite involved in the process and explores some of the less accessible areas of her memory. She may not totally ‘get it’ but the process is good for her. If the answer is not ‘correct’ that is not the point, the effort and sense of being listened to is of significance. Her inner interaction with the art is what is important, if the correct words do not come out to the rest of the world, this is immaterial. We are able to discuss the art further at home which is good for our relationship.
(Carl, husband and carer of tour participant Janis)

To make a booking or to learn more about Art and Dementia tours
Visit our website
Telephone: 07 3840 7255

Reaching out to schools: Destination APT8



Students from Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital School described the colourful rainforest in Yumi Danis (We Dance) project as ‘amazing’

What is the most common obstacle for schools in offering class excursions?

The answer is the expense, and more specifically, the cost of transportation. Excursions have to be free or fund-raised. So for many classes, leaving the school grounds to experience learning in an off-campus setting is out of their reach.

For the past 6 weeks, via the generous support of sponsor Santos GLNG, the Gallery’s Learning team has been reaching out to schools in the greater Brisbane area and bringing classes to the gallery. Fifteen classes from primary and secondary schools in Logan, Ipswich, Redcliffe amongst others have had the opportunity to experience the dynamic APT8 exhibition and APT8 Kids interactives, cost-free. The Santos GLNG school program covered the bus transport costs and included a delicious lunch pack for the entire class and their teacher. The Learning team hosted each class for a day, providing guided tours and APT8 class resources.



]Seville Road State School and Mabel Park State High School students exploring Nge Lay’s The Sick classroom 2013

The Gallery excursion offered many firsts for the students, with outcomes that are far reaching. For some students, this was their first-ever school excursion! For others, seeing the mirrored city skyscrapers of the CBD and the Brisbane River as they approached GOMA was an awesome first-time experience. And one teacher commented that this was the first day all term that every student in her Year 2 class turned up at school!

For most of the students, who ranged in age from 7 to 17 years, this was their first time at an Art Gallery. The students can now visualise the physical space that is QAGOMA, and answer the question ‘what is an Art Gallery?’ They also now know a lot about APT8. Experiential learning is at the heart of education because it provides experiences that are personally relevant, and the APT8 excursion definitely ticked this box.


Students discovering the sound activations in Asim Waqif’s installation All we leave behind are the memories 2015

The class from the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital School arrived eager to explore (in their words) ‘the incredible APT8 exhibition’. The students explained that the mood on the bus was ‘one of extreme excitement’. Back at class, they reflected on some of their favourite APT8 memories; ‘the huge wood structure that made noise’, ‘the scenes of an amazing rainforest’, ‘the five cars projected on a wall’ and the ‘lovely lunch under the Bodhi Tree’. The secondary school classes came away from the Gallery being ‘inspired to be creative with their practical art assessment’.

The Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital School students receiving a guided tour with Head of Learning, Terry Deen
Students engaging in learning beyond the classroom setting

With nearly 20,000 school students having visited APT8, the QAGOMA Learning team is extremely grateful to have been able to reach out and connect with the 384 primary and secondary students who participated in the Santos GLNG school program. Their teachers have told us that their visit was ‘a day that the students will never forget’.

The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT)
is the Gallery’s flagship exhibition focused on the work of Asia, the Pacific and Australia.
21 November 2015 – 10 April 2016

Exhibition Founding Sponsor: Queensland Government
Exhibition Principal Sponsor: Audi Australia
APT8 Kids Principal Benefactor: Tim Fairfax Family Foundation
Major Education Sponsor: Santos GLNG