Ballarat International Foto Biennale director Fiona Sweet is leaving her position before the end of this year and the conclusion of the current Biennale in January.
The surprise announcement from BIFB board chairman Stephen Jurica was initially published in the Ballarat The Courier, and spotted by a sharp-eyed Inside Imaging reader.
‘Fiona Sweet was due to to conclude her role as artistic director and CEO in February 2022 but has decided to leave the festival in December,’ said Stephen Jurica. ‘It has been a challenging year for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale as it navigates Victoria’s COVID-19 situation.’
Fiona Sweet has been with the BIFB for five years, taking over the role of artistic director from BIFB founder Jeff Moorfoot, who with the help of a small group of volunteers took it from the concept stage to an internationally-recognised event, and one of the highlights of the Australian photographic calendar.
Fiona Sweet’s great strength after assuming the directorship was in fund-raising. She leveraged her close connections in the Melbourne arts establishment to secure greatly increased state and federal arts funding, and garnered significant donations from wealthy philanthropic family trusts. The extra funding has assisted in consolidating the BIFB as a well-resourced ‘going concern’. The statement from BIFB claims she has raised over $20 million during her tenure.
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale was due to close on October 24 but has been extended until January 9 next year.