Building a contemporary museum: learnings with Suhanya Raffel

From studying art history in Sydney to helming the Asia Pacific Triennial in Queensland and now leading Hong Kong’s M+, Suhanya Raffel shares her biggest career lessons.
Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+. Photo: Winnie Yeung @ Visual Voices. Image: Courtesy M+, Hong Kong. Raffel against a green tiled architectural background. She is a middle-aged woman with long black and grey hair, wearing red lipstick and smiling at the camera. She is dressed in a black blazer with a white flower brooch.

Suhanya Raffel is the Museum Director of M+ Hong Kong, a flagship contemporary art museum in the heart of the West Kowloon Cultural District, now in its fourth year of presenting world class exhibitions and programming.

Prior to joining M+ in 2016, Raffel was a tour de force in the Australian arts and cultural sector. She served as the Deputy Director and Director of Collections at the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) from 2013-2016, during which time she worked on its new North Building with international architectural practice, SANAA. Before that, Raffel worked at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) from 2002, first as its Curatorial Manager, Asian & Pacific Art, and then as Deputy Director.

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram @lleizy_