The 2018 AAANZ conference opens critical dialogue on the histories of art by examining the social contexts of aesthetics and politics. Bringing together art historians, theorists, curators, critics, and artists from across the region, the conference offers a stimulating four-day program of panels and papers, publication prizes, masterclasses and encounters with Melbourne’s vibrant arts sector with a parallel artistic program to be announced in coming months.
The conference features distinguished keynote speakers who will present expanded and alternative frameworks for understanding the diverse contexts and histories of art. Gabi Ngcobo (South Africa), curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale; Genevieve Grieves (AUS), Head of the First Peoples Department at Museums Victoria; and Ema Tavola (Fiji), independent curator are each engaged in critical curatorial practices aimed at democratising and decolonising art institutions and opening up art collections to alternative perspectives and narratives traditionally overlooked by museums and galleries. Art historian Professor Griselda Pollock (UK) from Leeds University is renowned for her postcolonial, queer feminist analysis of the visual arts, visual culture and cultural theory and research of trauma and the aesthetic in contemporary art. Curator and Associate Professor David Teh specialises in contemporary art in Southeast Asia.
The intersection of art and society is where differing worldviews and opposing epistemologies can meet and clash. Art offers a site for modelling political alternatives, questioning dominant discourses, and producing new historical narratives. Responding to the political, economic and environmental tensions of the present moment, the conference explores the relationship of the arts to social life throughout history. Located in a region marked by multiple and overlapping colonial and postcolonial histories and contemporary processes of globalisation, the conference aims to initiate critical dialogues that foreground the complex contexts, diverse practices, multiple histories, and contested trajectories of art.
Genevieve Grieves is Worimi – traditionally from mid north coast New South Wales – and has lived on Kulin country in Melbourne for many years. She is an educator, curator, filmmaker, artist and oral historian who has accumulated nearly twenty years’ experience in the arts and culture industries. Some of her projects include the documentary, Lani’s Story; the video installation, Picturing the Old People; and, she was the Lead Curator of the internationally award-winning First Peoples exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. Genevieve has a role as a public intellectual and speaker and is undertaking her PhD in arts, memorialisation and frontier violence. She is Head of the First Peoples Department at Museums Victoria.
Gabi Ngcobo is the curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale. Since the early 2000s Ngcobo has been engaged in collaborative artistic, curatorial, and educational projects in South Africa and on an international scope. She is a founding member of the Johannesburg based collaborative platforms NGO – Nothing Gets Organised and Center for Historical Reenactments (CHR, 2010 – 14). NGO focusses on processes of self-organization that take place outside of predetermined structures, definitions, contexts, or forms. CHR responded to the demands of the moment through an exploration of how historical legacies impact and resonate within contemporary art.
Recently Ngcobo co-curated the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, which took place in 2016 at the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion in São Paulo, and A Labour of Love at Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main in 2015⁄16) and travelled to the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2017. She has been teaching at the Wits School of Arts, University of Witswatersrand, ZA, since 2011. Her writings have been published in various catalogues, books, and journals. She currently lives and works between Johannesburg and Berlin.
You can find out more about the event here.
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With a twenty-five-year history of art and social justice practice Australia and Canada, Marnie’s research sits at the intersection of socially engaged art, community-based research methodologies and the politics of cultural measurement. Marnie is currently focused on a series of creative cartographies registering emotion in public space; expanded curation projects on the aesthetics and politics of food; and a book project The Social Life of Artist Residencies: connecting with people and place not your own. Marnie is Senior Research Fellow at the School of Art following the prestigious award of Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at RMIT University. Marnie co-leads the Cultural Value Impact Network and is acting Leader for CAST Contemporary Art and Social Transformation research group.
Daniel Palmer is Associate Dean of Research and Innovation in the School of Art at RMIT University.
Daniel Palmer’s research and professional practice focuses on contemporary art and cultural theory, with a particular emphasis on photography and digital media. Prior to joining RMIT in 2018, Palmer was Associate Dean of Graduate Research and Associate Professor in the Art History & Theory Program at Monash Art, Design & Architecture. He also has a long association with the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne, first as a curator and later on the board of management.
Palmer’s book publications include Photography and Collaboration: From Conceptual Art to Crowdsourcing (Bloomsbury 2017); Digital Light (Open Humanities Press, 2015), edited with Sean Cubitt and Nathaniel Tkacz; The Culture of Photography in Public Space (Intellect 2015), edited with Anne Marsh and Melissa Miles; Twelve Australian Photo Artists (Piper Press, 2009), co-authored with Blair French; and Photogenic (Centre for Contemporary Photography, 2005). His scholarly writings on photography and contemporary art have appeared in journals such as Photographies, Philosophy of Photography, Angelaki, Reading Room and the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art. Palmer has also published over sixty catalogue essays and fifty art reviews since 1997, in art magazines including Art and Australia, Photofile and Frieze.
Palmer has been the recipient of various awards and grants, and has been Chief Investigator on multiple ARC projects, including the ARC Discovery Project ‘Genealogies of Digital Light’ (2008 – 11) with Sean Cubitt and Les Walkling; an ARC Linkage Project ‘Photography as a Crime’ (2009 – 2012) with Anne Marsh, Melissa Miles, Mark Davison and the Centre for Contemporary Photography; and the ARC Discovery Project ‘Curating Photography in the Age of Photosharing’; (2015 – 2017) with Martyn Jolly. Palmer is currently a researcher on the ARC Discovery Project ‘Digital Photography: Mediation, Memory and Visual Communication’ (2020 – 2022) with Scott McQuire, Nikos Papastergiadis, Sean Cubitt and Celia Lury.