Leigh Carmichael

Creative Director of Mona’s DarkLab and former Creative Director of Mona

Leigh Carmichael has been recognised as one of Australia’s top ten most powerful people in culture by the Australian Financial Review Magazine. The Creative Director of DarkLab (a subsidiary of the famously irreverent Mona, Museum of Old and New Art) he is the former Creative Director of Mona and a board member of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Working with David Walsh AO, Leigh Carmichael has helped transform Tasmania into an internationally recognised cultural destination. His career with Mona was launched when he designed labels for Moo Brew, and before he knew it, he was leading Mona’s Marketing and Communications team for the Museum opening. Leigh was key to the creation of Mona’s summer festival, Mona Foma (Mofo), and he founded the acclaimed winter festival, Dark Mofo.

As a keynote speaker, Leigh Carmichael discusses how to remove barriers to creativity, and the importance of cultural branding. He also provides a unique insight into the world of artistic performance, describing the evolution of the Mona brand along with its festivals.

More about Leigh Carmichael:

Prior to working at Mona, Leigh Carmichael was a graphic designer for Tasmanian companies including Crank Media, G3, and Roar Film. While freelancing, he won the contract to design labels for David Walsh's beer line, Moo Brew, and later, Moorilla winery’s Muse Series. As David's vision evolved, the Moo Brew and Moorilla site soon became known as Mona, and Leigh has played an integral role in its strategic direction ever since.

Since joining the team more than a decade ago, Leigh has danced a marketing tightrope within Mona’s egalitarian, anti-formulaic and non-hierarchical modus operandi. Its anti-marketing ethos and unique take on cultural branding and creative risk has been referred to as ‘The Mona Effect’, and its nature continues to evolve. You could say that Mona is characterised by irreverence, egalitarianism, hedonism and mystery with a sense of discovery, and somehow, Leigh Carmichael has taken that all on board to create an accessible, celebrated brand, embraced by all walks of life.

In 2016 David Walsh and Leigh Carmichael established DarkLab – a subsidiary of Mona dedicated to producing all aspects of the Dark Mofo festival, along with creative projects that don’t fit neatly within the Mona brand. With Leigh at the helm, DarkLab’s diverse portfolio today includes festivals and events, master planning, cultural precinct development and branding, large-scale project management, and more.

Leigh Carmichael speaks about:

Creative Risk - Out of box thinking doesn't have to be an unattainable end goal. Embracing creative risk is about removing the barriers to creativity that are in place and working together to come up with new ideas and new ways of approaching challenges.

Personal Transformation - Perfect for smaller groups, Leigh talks through the creative process and how this can be embraced as part of your everyday mode of thinking. Creativity isn't just about scheduling time for a brainstorm in a boardroom, it's a way of thinking that shifts every aspect of your life.

Branding Design & Trademark - The Mona brand has redefined cool: it is irreverent, playful, distinctive, and brave. In this talk, Leigh details the creative evolution of the brand and its growth into new businesses.

The History Of Mona - Leigh talks about the beginnings of Mona, his working relationship with David Walsh, and the evolution of the brand and its festivals.