Jenny Anagnostopoulou thought she was destined for a career under lights. As a child in Athens, she saw herself on the stage, mostly because theatre was flourishing – and because she simply had no experience of other art forms.
After moving to Sydney in 2005, Jenny had an epiphany during a high school field trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).
Rather than being in the spotlight, she would work behind the scenes to support other artists’ projects.
“I always loved art as a kid, though I didn’t have too much exposure to contemporary practices. I was quite set on pursuing theatre, which is one of the largest creative industries over there [Greece],” Jenny says.
“It wasn’t until high school and I visited the MCA that I realised the breadth of contemporary artistic practices, though I was more fascinated by the organisational components of the institution than making art myself!”
After the pivotal school excursion, Jenny became involved with the MCA to realise youth-led programs in the museum and, on finishing her secondary studies, she secured a job there.
“During those years, being surrounded by so many artists and other creative professionals, I was drawn to the idea of building a practice to support ambitious artistic projects, whether that was in the form of public programs or exhibitions,” she says.
To formalise the pursuit of her ambitions, she signed up to study a Bachelor of Art Theory (Honours) at UNSW Art & Design.
“The [degree] is geared towards understanding and working with contemporary artists and theorists, and the emphasis on cross-disciplinary methodologies aligned with the direction I wanted to head in,” she says.
“I also admired a lot of A&D alumni, from theorists and artists, to arts administrators.”
While studying, Jenny has been working at the Art Gallery of NSW, helping in the visitor experience and public programs department.
Last year, she pitched the idea of a program for performance art practices to UNSW, which she called Kudos Live. She hoped to establish a platform to support the development of performance works within the University, which she says until then hadn’t had much room to breathe.
“Some of the participating artists included Em Size and Dileepa Dayananda (Māra Māyā Devi), who have been in subsequent Kudos Live events, in addition to practitioners like Brian Fuata and Kate Brown,” Jenny says.
“It was incredibly rewarding seeing both emerging and established artists occupy varying sites of the University, and exposing students to the possibilities of performance practices.”
For their ANNUAL 18 project, arts theory honours students hosted a symposium where they gave short presentations on their theses.
“As we’ve spent all year researching and writing, we were really looking forward to bringing our research into a public sphere and hopefully generate conversation from it,” she says.
Jenny is excited about a career in arts administration and suggests future Art & Design students should be open to hearing and seeing others’ work.
“You never know who you will end up working with years down the track."