Fortune favours the brave and foolish

Leigh Carmichael, the creative director of DarkLab, a project subsidiary of the famously irreverent Mona, opened the 2018 NIBA Convention with a thought-provoking plenary on creative risk and transformation.

The cool, calm and collected Carmichael described the evolution of the Mona brand to a packed out plenary hall in Hobart yesterday.

The creative genius, and mastermind of the Dark Mofo winter festival, said: “Mona’s success boils down to one thing, risk.”

He added that if it weren’t for David Walsh’s (Mona owner and founder) ability to embrace risk, the museum would not be the world-class art gallery that it is today.

In 2013 Carmichael observed that, while Mona was a success, it was quiet throughout winter. “I was looking for the next challenge and pitched a winter festival to David,” he explained.

With Walsh on board, Carmichael launched Dark Mofo, which joins Mona’s stable of offerings that have helped put Tasmania on the map as one of the most important cultural destinations in the world.

In Dark Mofo’s first year, 3,500 tickets were sold. Fast forward six years, and Dark Mofo tickets sales now sit at more than 79,000.

Carmichael puts this success down to an adventure into the unknown, which he emphasised in the following quote from Joseph Campbell:

“You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realise your potential.”

Carmichael closed his presentation with a piece of advice from Walsh: “Take the risk, just get it right.”

This session was sponsored by ATC Insurance Solutions.