Barbara Poliness

Assistant Director, Soft Power Strategy, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Barbara Poliness joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in 2015, as a creative sector specialist with a deep understanding of the opportunities and mechanisms for building and leveraging Australia’s appeal and partnerships with overseas countries.  This expertise has been built on a foundation of more than 20 years’ experience in Australia’s creative sector.  Current responsibility includes the development and implementation of international cultural programs, international visits as well as leading on DFAT’s annual public diplomacy program Australia now.

Prior to joining DFAT, Ms Poliness held several positions in the Federal Government Arts  Department covering a wide range of areas including various Indigenous Art and Culture programs.

Ms Poliness has also held senior positions in a range of public cultural institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, and Monash University Gallery. She holds a Bachelor of Education, Visual Arts and Degree in Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.