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Penelope Bartlau

Penelope Bartlau

Artistic Director
Barking Spider Creative

Penelope Bartlau is an established multi-disciplinary artist who has worked since 2006 as Artistic Director of Barking Spider Creative.

She is a specialist in creating arts-led public programmes in the museums and gallery sector. Her practice includes devising image-based experiences that activate audiences.

Penelope has developed and directed works for the National Museum of Australia, Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery, NGV (National Gallery of Victoria), Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne Museum, Melbourne Immigration Museum, Scienceworks Museum, Museum and Galleries of Northern Territory, State Library of Victoria, National Wool Museum, The Johnston Collection, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Incinerator Gallery, Melbourne Arts Centre, ArtPlay, Bendigo International Fest of Experimental Music, Wuzhen Theatre Festival, (China), Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes (France), Ishara International Puppet Festival (India), WOMADelaide, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, ABC Radio National, White Night (Melbourne & Geelong), Melbourne Magic Festival and more.

To date, with Barking Spider Creative, Penelope has delivered 1128 events for 360,746 audience members, creating 96 new works, and engaging with 113 presenters nationally and internationally.

Her work in the sector is highly recognised with four Museums and Galleries Australia National Awards.


Penelope Bartlau will be speaking at the Creative Museums Summit 2024:

How to let creatives through the door and not have the place turned upside down (completely)

This presentation will be entertaining, engaging – dare I say fun, and (I hope) inspiring. Content includes examples of public programmes I’ve created with museums (a warts-and-all Museum Next exclusive); how and why these worked – and what happened if they didn’t… I’ll give hot tips on collaborating with creatives, plus explain the pitfalls to watch for and avoid. The presentation explores how museums can engage artists to reimagine collections/exhibitions. I hope to sway you to take the risk of inviting in creatives – it can pay off in spades with increased audience engagement and lashings of curiosity and wonder.

Penelope Bartlau