Media Release: Vale Susanne Briggs

24 May 2022

Susanne Briggs

Sydney Arts Publicist
16 October, 1957 – 20 May, 2022

Sydney Arts Publicist, Susanne Briggs passed away unexpectedly on Friday 20 May, 2022, aged 64.

Susanne was well loved and respected by Sydney’s arts community and arts media, having worked as Media Relations Manager under the leadership of Sir Edmund Capon at the Art Gallery of NSW for 10 years from 2005 – 2014, also at the Art Gallery of South Australia, The Mosman Art Gallery, other regional galleries, and for the last 5 years working under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Kilmurry at Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli.

Mark Kilmurry and Loretta Busby, Executive Director at Ensemble Theatre said, “Susanne had a knack for making people feel very special. She always conducted herself with grace, dignity and the utmost diplomacy. Always so calm and considered and always mindful of others. Her passing leaves a massive hole in the Ensemble heart. ”

Her good friend ABC journalist Jamelle Wells said, “From a journalist’s point of view, Susanne was a great publicist to work with, one of the best. She was a funny, smart, progressive thinker with a wicked sense of humour. She was also an incredibly compassionate, loyal and kind person who brightened up every room she walked into.”

Long-time friends Patricia Garcia and Karen Wiltshire said Susanne approached everything she did with the highest level of professionalism. “She was a loving, caring, honest person, who had great integrity and was respected by everyone who knew her.’’

John Cheeseman, Director of Mosman Art Gallery said, “Susanne was always there, ready and able to work her magic in promoting the critical work of artists. Selfless, focused and determined, she leaves a great legacy – Susanne’s vivacity and friendship will be sadly missed and fondly remembered.”

After the death of her beloved mother Gloria on 28 May, 2018, Susanne had no surviving family so her friends and work colleagues became her family.

Co-worker at Ensemble Theatre, Merran Regan described Susanne as “vibrant, fiercely loyal, deep thinking, a little bit wild and infectiously fun; she loved big earrings, colourful clothes, gorgeous shoes and her sleek blue convertible. Her signature look was heavy black kohl eye make-up, big eyelashes, painted nails and dark red lipstick. But it was her kind, empathetic, generous heart that we all loved the most about Susanne.”

Susanne cared deeply about other people’s welfare, in recent years she volunteered as a Lifeline counsellor helping so many people through tough times and last year appeared on A Current Affair talking about her counselling work to help raise awareness. Susanne also loved animals, and supported many animal welfare charities. She often adopted old dogs from shelters that would otherwise be put down, giving them a new lease on life. She was a vegetarian and a Buddhist. Susanne Briggs had the kindest, most generous soul and she will be greatly mourned and missed by all her friends and colleagues.

A celebration of Susanne’s life will be held at Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre, at a date and time yet to be announced.

We ask that you please respect Susanne’s close friends’ privacy at this very difficult time.

Susanne Briggs started Susanne Briggs Public Relations in June 2016 after working for almost 20 years in the arts and culture area. She spent almost 10 years at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2005 to 2014) in Media Relations supporting its full exhibition program including exhibitions like Picasso, Monet and America: Painting a Nation and 10 Archibald Art Prizes plus other high profile national arts prizes including the Dobell Prize for Drawing and the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship. During her time at the AGNSW Susanne worked with many of Australia’s most well-known artists including Bill Henson, Ben Quilty and Del Kathryn Barton.

In 2014 to 2015 she was invited to be the Communications Manager at the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide for one year. She returned to Sydney in 2015 and worked with a small PR agency whose clients included the Biennale of Sydney, Carriageworks, National Art School and John Kaldor Public Art Projects. In June 2016 Susanne managed the national media campaign for the launch of the David Roche Foundation Museum in Adelaide. In recent years she has worked in the visual and performing arts across mainstream, multicultural and Indigenous media in Australia. Clients include Ensemble Theatre, Mosman Gallery, Hazelhurst Gallery and Art Centre, Sutherland Shire Entertainment Centre for Performing Arts, The David Roche Foundation, The Japan Foundation and The Balnaves Foundation.

Prior to working in art and culture, Susanne worked with environmental organisations in Sydney, Switzerland and the UK. She began a degree in Social Science at the University of Technology, Sydney.