Introducing... Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria


The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV) was established in 1846 and encompasses two major sites; the Melbourne Gardens which houses Australia's most comprehensive botanical library and Cranbourne Gardens which is dedicated to Australian plants. We spoke with Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief Executive, about the appointment of Isobel Parker Philip as guest curator for their PHOTO 2020 program.

What is the primary focus of the Royal Botanic Gardens, and what makes it unique?

While our focus is on plants, and how important they are to life on Earth, we present a unique blend of nature, culture and science.

Why is it important for the Royal Botanic Gardens to engage with visual arts?

Visual art is a great way for people to connect with nature and to engage with the issues that matter to us today – responding to the climate crisis, to species loss and to creating a fair and just world for all who share this planet.

Why is the Royal Botanic Gardens participating in PHOTO 2020?

We want to be not just a part of the cultural life of Melbourne but also an innovator and provocateur.

Why is the relationship between photography and truth important for the Royal Botanic Gardens?

It’s a fascinating concept, truth. With science at our heart, we want our decisions as a community to be evidence-based. Photography is a way to explore that nexus between heart and mind.

What can we expect from the Royal Botanic Gardens during PHOTO 2020?

We’re thrilled to be working with Isobel Parker Philip as a guest curator for RBGV’s contribution to PHOTO 2020. Isobel is the Curator of Photography at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Isobel will commission artists to create a series of staged and site-responsive installations throughout the gardens as well as an exhibition held at Domain House. Together, these two components will offer a distinctive and special art experience, unique amongst other festival sites.

How is this program a first for the Royal Botanic Gardens?

It’s a first in the sense that we are part of a major visual arts festival that involves our city and state’s major cultural institutions.

Professor Tim Entwisle is a highly respected scientist, scientific communicator and botanic gardens director. He took up the role of director and chief executive of Royal Botanic Gardens in March 2013 and looks for any opportunity to promote science, plants and gardens. Tim is a frequent guest on Australian radio and a regular contributor to social media.

Founding Partners
  • Bowness Family Foundation
  • Naomi Milgrom Foundation
Major Government Partners
  • City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program
  • Creative Victoria
Major Partners
  • Maddocks

PHOTO Australia respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we work and live, and the rich and diverse Indigenous cultures across what is now called Australia. For over 60,000 years, Indigenous arts and culture have thrived on this sacred land, and we honour Elders and cultural leaders past and present. This was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

01–24 March