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ACP decision ‘in near future’

It’s been a while since the Australian Centre for Photography has provided the photographic community an update on its progress towards a ‘post-Centre’ future, having closed its doors last year after 45 years as a hub for photography in Sydney.

The plan was to use what’s left of the ‘Building Fund Reserve’ – created when the original Oxford Street, Paddington premises were sold in 2014 – as the basis of an annual initiative ‘to continue to support photography in the future.’ A sum of $60-75K each year was suggested by the ACP Board.

Ideas canvassed on the ACP website included funds to support exhibitions of Australian photography; support senior photographers via a monetary prize; support scholarships for artists studying photography; an acquisition fund to support the purchase of Australian photography in an Australian art museum or public art gallery; a partnership or collaboration with a private foundation.

We weren’t hugely successful in eliciting much further detail from ACP director and CEO, Pierre Arpin. (It hasn’t been a good week for ‘reaching out’ here at Inside Imaging!)

Inside Imaging: Has the ACP Board decided on the new model from among the options provided on the ACP website?
Pierre Arpin: The Board is currently reviewing a number of options. After some extensive community consultation in the first six months of the year it is anticipated that a determination will be made in the near future.

Is the ACP still operating on the proviso there will be an annual $60 – 75K to work with? 

In 2021, by ceasing operations, has the ACP managed to stem the financial losses incurred in recent years? 

Based on the ACP’s last financial report, last year (Jan-Dec 2020), the ACP made a net loss of $557K on revenue of $480K.

Has the ACP qualified for any government Covid stimulus payments in 2021?  
We qualified for Covid payments for one position earlier this year. Since April, we no longer qualified – as we have no longer have full-time staff and are offering no programs.

(The ACP financial report indicates that ‘Government Covid 19 Stimulus’ was the ACP’s largest source of revenue by far in 2020, at $240K.)

The website uses the past tense when referring to the ACP – what is the actual status of the ACP? 
The ACP is still in hibernation – no exhibition or workshop programs are currently being offered. While the website does state: The Australian Centre for Photography (ACP) is a leading institution in Australia dedicated to the art of photography and lens-based media. (see ) some volunteer work to add an updated statement is being undertaken to reflect the transition.

One worthwhile step forward has been a development that we now feature a decade’s worth of ACP exhibitions, a particularly valuable step at a time of near-national lockdowns and gallery closures: see/exhibition-archive-2010- 2020/

Have you had any response from the photographic community to your call for input to the new direction? 
We have had a very positive and wide-ranging response to our request for input into potential new directions – resulting in more than 50 individual interviews and 4 submissions. The Board has been weighing up the possibilities of those ideas, recognising that each has financial and artistic implications that must be sustainable and relevant to the community. A direct feedback process to those who made submissions will be made first, prior to a broader public comment.


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