Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018 | Jane Smith AM

Former head of MADE Jane Smith has been named as an AM in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Former head of MADE Jane Smith has been named as an AM in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

THERE is a theme in Jane Smith’s life that whenever an opportunity has come up, she has been living a life in the arctic circle.

So it was when the inaugural chief executive of the Museum of Australian Democracy and Eureka (MADE) found out she had been named a Member  in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM).

“I was actually up in a little place called Svalbard which is only about 500km from the North Pole,” Ms Smith said.

“My partner is an artist who specialises in far away places and I went along with her as a bit of a handbag I guess and then I received the call.

“It sounds a cliche, but it’s an incredible honour. When I look back on my career, I’ve always worked to try and make an organisation or the industry or the world a better place.”

It was a similar story when Ms Smith was named as the inaugural chief of MADE with her deciding to take on the challenge in yet another trip to the far north, this time to Iceland.

“It was incredibly hard, but rewarding work,” she said.

“MADE was the first wholly digital interactive museum, so there was no rule book.

“And it came at a point where democracy is not exactly a buzz word, so it was important about how we framed the narrative.”

Ms Smith said since her departure from MADE in 2016, she had decided to not comment on the current state of the centre which is now council run.

As well as her association with MADE, Ms Smith has also held numerous senior positions with the ABC including director of Strategic Development from 1994-96.

She was also the inaugural head for the Centre for Screenwriting, Australian Film Television and Radio School and chief executive of what is now known as Screen NSW from 1997-2007.

Ms Smith remains a council member at Federation University.

She said her time spent in the far north had left a lasting impact on her having seen first hand the effects of climate change, a cause that is close to her heart.