About Us

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale was founded in 2005 and attracts significant International and Australian photographers as one of Australia’s pre-eminent photographic festivals.

It is a not-for-profit event that immerses the historic town of Ballarat in photographic art.

The CORE PROGRAM exhibits at the beautiful Art Gallery of Ballarat, The Mining Exchange, the Minerva Room, The Observatory, Post Office Gallery and the Town Hall. The FRINGE PROGRAM is staged at more than 80 cafes, galleries and wine bars across Ballarat, providing the launch pad for hundreds of new and emerging artists.

The Biennale is guided by the principle that it not only serves the community but also plays a vital role in cultivating it. It strives to engage the local community with creative and courageous programming.

In its 11 year history, the Foto biennale has attracted more than 150,000 visitors to Ballarat and was honored at the Ballarat 2016 Australia Day Awards as the Community Activity of the Year.

The vision for this year’s Biennale raises the bar, with more events and chances for audiences to engage with the photographic image in all its forms – from established to amateur.

Our 2017 program, with special events planned for all five weekends, is expected to attract an attendance of over 50,000 people. We encourage you to plan your stay early, stay long enough to stroll Ballarat’s charming streets and engage deeply with the photographic image.

We will present the world on our doorstep – celebrating and creating a shared, exciting perspective of how we see our surrounds, our community and ourselves.

The 2017 Ballarat International Foto Biennale is on from 19 August to 17 September 2017.

Festival and Creative Director: Fiona Sweet

A prominent and highly experienced director, art director and creative, Sweet is renowned for inspiring and intelligent delivery of uniquely crafted festivals and arts events. She is an influential and highly sought after speaker, industry judge, photographic portfolio reviewer and assessor in Australia and internationally. She is the recipient of many prestigious design awards and was the director of Sweet Creative and a former Board Director of the Australian Graphic Design Association and Melbourne Fringe. She co-founded Melbourne’s Acland Street Projection Festival, launched August 2015.

Festival Co-ordinator: Chandini Batra

Chandini has a Masters degree in Arts Management from the University of Melbourne. She has worked with Stylecraker and as assistant fashion stylist to Movie Actor Shahrukh Khan (Mumbai) and most recently with the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM).


Stephen Jurica (Chair)

As a local, and professionally as a barrister, Stephen brings his love of Ballarat and his legal and business skills to the role of Chair.  Stephen works in Melbourne in the areas of personal injury, commercial, property, planning and sports law. Before that, he was a solicitor in banking and property law in London and Melbourne. Stephen is a nationally accredited mediator and is a member of the AFL Tribunal Appeal Board. Stephen lives right in the heart of Ballarat with his young family and thoroughly enjoys his part in bringing cultural events to the community.

Jamie Mulcahy (Treasurer)

Jamie was born and bred in the Ballarat region, and established a financial services business in 1998 after completing a Bachelor of Commerce at Ballarat University. The business has since grown to provide a suite of business services, and employs over 70 staff. Whilst being an average photographer himself, Jamie is excited to be supporting the Biennale as it cements its place in Ballarat’s growing cultural calendar. With 5 children, Jamie’s family is activity involved in a variety of artistic activities including musical theatre, dance and performing arts! Jamie also holds a Diploma of Financial Planning and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Morgan McLay (Secretary)

Morgan is a barrister at the Victorian Bar. In his legal practice, Morgan regularly represents high profile clients including artists. His primary practice is in public and medical law.  Morgan also practices in common law, rights protection and financial crime (including directors’ and officers’ liability). He has a passion for the arts, especially film and photography. Having previously lived in the Daylesford area, Morgan is pleased to be part of the team bringing a world class arts festival to Ballarat. Morgan is committed to making the Arts more accessible to Regional Victoria whilst at the same time showcasing what Regional Victoria has to offer.

Amanda Cochran  (Board Member) 

Amanda is a Business Analyst with over 15 years’ experience in major Australian and international corporations. Her expertise is in assisting businesses respond to changing regulations, markets and technologies. Amanda brings strong skills in corporate governance, strategy, communication and project management to the Board, and holds a degree in Chemical Engineering. Amanda is an avid supporter of arts, and values the opportunity to actively contribute to the sector through her Board role.

Mark Avellino (Board Member) 

Mark is a multi-award winning freelance photographer who practices fine art photography as well as a running a commercial practice. He has exhibited in Australia and internationally, and co-produced the critically acclaimed exhibition Malta 24/7 (2003). Mark is also executive producer and presenter on Maltese DownUnder TV screening on Channel 31 (Melbourne). Mark has a long history with the Biennale, including co-curating the 2013 & 2015 Projections Program with the founding Festival Director Jeff Moorfoot. Mark holds a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management (VCA), a Diploma in Fine Arts and Photography and a Bachelor of Education (Visual Arts – Photography) from the University of Melbourne.

Brigid Moloney (Board Member)

Brigid has experience at executive and board level in government and not-for-profit agencies with expertise in marketing, stakeholder management and program development. She has a special interest in corporate governance and is passionate about proactively creating stronger communities through her involvement with events such as the Biennale. Brigid lives in Ballarat where she is a business owner and manager, and is also a Board Governor of McCallum Disability Services.

Curators: Aaron Bradbrook, Jessica Clark, Michelle Mountain, Rebecca Najdowski

Marketing and Sponsorship: Chandini Batra, Amelia Bartak

Marketing and Social Media: Jack Arthur, Brigid Moloney

Production: Jo Sapir

Events: Claudia Prendergast

Design Intern: Lara Russell

Volunteer Coordinators: Ian Kemp, Amanda Fewell

Design and Brand Partner: Sweet Creative

Web Developer: Hody Hong

IT Support: Jason Maher

Exhibition Designer: Paul Newcombe

Fringe Producers: Susan Mitchell, Chandini Batra

Portfolio Reviews: Cate Elliott

Publicity: TS Publicity

Legals: Lloyd Dewar, Dewar Law

Accountants: Mulcahy & Co

Printer: Mercedes Waratah Press

Special thank yous to: Rohan Anderson, Juliette Armstrong, Amelia Bartak, Kate Berry, Fiona Brook, Sally Brownbill, Naomi Cass, Paul Charlier, Isobel Crombie, Jennifer Dean, Max Delaney, Noel Dempsey, Michelle Dunn, Gerard Domingo, Fiona Drury, Tony Ellwood, Christine Ford, Linda Franklin, Alexie Glass- Kantor, Tony Hargreaves, Lisa Hayden, Sam Henson, Fluer Hook, Clare Huntington, Tony Irish, Neil Jones, Anna Jurkiewicz, Sarah Kittelty, Deborah Klein Nicky Klempfner, Aldona Kmiec, Kylee Laird-Church, Louise Lang, Gina Lee, Jayne Lovelock, Mary Macrae, Murray McKeich, Pat Moloney, Dana Moran, Tom Mosby, Isaak Newcombe, Nina Newcombe, Stella Newcombe, Giselle Nguyen, Paula Nicholson, Caroline O’Keefe, Lara Paterson, Margo Petit, Alex Prior, Anna Reid, Hayley Remington, Georgina Russell, Missy Saleeba, Jo Sehee, David Simmonds, Patrice Sharkey, Jim Thorpe, Susan Van Wyk, Leonard Vary, Bec Walton, Sharon Watson, Sally Wellard, Nicholas Willowhite, Greg Wood.