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Creative Frictions »

Arts Leadership, Policy and Practice in Multicultural Australia

Authored by: Cecelia Cmielewski
Publication date: 2021
Creative Frictions explores the relationship between visionary aspects of practice and policy. Despite over 30 years of arts and cultural policy attention, there remains a widespread view among the general public and artists alike that creative production does not reflect Australia’s culturally diverse population. Australia’s increasingly complex society can no longer be confined to ‘essentialised’ or traditional definitions of ethnic communities. While this diversity and its emerging complexity can be ‘celebrated’ as a source of creativity and innovation, it can also give rise to social, political and creative challenges. A key challenge that remains for the arts sector is its ability to support the creative expression of cultural difference. One measure of inclusive creative production is to look at the participation of artists of non–English speaking backgrounds (NESBs)—a problematic term discussed in the book. There are half as many NESB artists compared to those of other professions participating in the workforce, and while under-representation is an issue for management in the arts sector, the question of representation also benefits from being understood more broadly beyond the narrow sense of multiculturalism as a tool to manage cultural difference. This book explores the crucial role of creative leaders and how they work with the ‘mainstream’ while maintaining their creative integrity and independence to generate a ‘virtuous’ circle of change. Creative Frictions argues that it is the NESB artists who lead change in the arts sector and that creative and organisational leadership working in partnership make creative use of ‘friction’ and develop the necessary ‘trust’ to generate the ‘traction’ for a supportive multicultural arts milieu.

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How Local Art Made Australia’s National Capital »

Publication date: August 2020
Canberra’s dual status as national capital and local city dramatically affected the rise of a unique contemporary arts scene. This complex story, informed by rich archival material and interviews, details the triumph of local arts practice and community over the insistent cultural nation-building of Australia’s capital. It exposes local arts as a vital force in Canberra’s development and uncovers the influence of women in the growth of its visual arts culture. A broad illumination of the city-wide development of arts and culture from the 1920s to 2001 is combined with the story of Bitumen River Gallery and its successor Canberra Contemporary Art Space from 1978 to 2001. This history traces the growth of the arts from a community-led endeavour, through a period of responses to social and cultural needs, and ultimately to a humanising local practice that transcended national and international boundaries.

Rosalie Gascoigne »

A Catalogue Raisonné

Authored by: Martin Gascoigne
Publication date: September 2019
Rosalie Gascoigne (1917–1999) was a highly regarded Australian artist whose assemblages of found materials embraced landscape, still life, minimalism, arte povera and installations. She was 57 when she had her first exhibition. Behind this late coming-out lay a long and unusual preparation in looking at nature for its aesthetic qualities, collecting found objects, making flower arrangements and practising ikebana. Her art found an appreciative audience from the start. She was a people person, and it pleased her that through her exhibiting career of 25 years, her works were acquired by people of all ages, interests and backgrounds, as well as by the major public institutions on both sides of the Tasman Sea. Watch the live video stream from the launch of Rosalie Gascoigne: A Catalogue Raisonné, held on Tuesday 17 September 2019 at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, with Director Nick Mitzevich and author Martin Gascoigne on the NGA's Facebook page. In the media Read the ANU Reporter article: Art in road signs. Read the Canberra Times article: Assembling Rosalie Gascoigne's catalogue.

Zhang Peili »

From Painting to Video

Edited by: Olivier Krischer
Publication date: June 2019
In 2014, New York-based artist Lois Conner gifted one of pioneering Chinese artist Zhang Peili’s last paintings to The Australian National University’s newly opened Australian Centre on China in the World. Never exhibited and thought lost, the reemergence of Flying Machine (1994) prompts an exploration of the relation between painting and video in the oeuvre of Zhang Peili. Given Zhang’s significance as a leading conceptual painter in the 1980s, then as a media art pioneer and educator in the 1990s and 2000s, Zhang Peili: From Painting to Video is also a nuanced study of broader developments in Chinese contemporary art’s history. Featuring contributions by historian Geremie R. Barmé, photographer Lois Conner, art historians John Clark, Katie Grube, and Olivier Krischer, and curator Kim Machan, these essays together challenge the narrative of Zhang as ‘the father of Chinese video art’, highlighting instead the conceptual consistency, rigour, and formal experimentation in his work, which transcends a specific medium. By equal measure, the book embraces longstanding connections as integral to its meaning, connections between artists, curators and researchers, collaborators, colleagues and friends through China and Australia.

Pacific Exposures »

Photography and the Australia–Japan Relationship

Publication date: December 2018
Photography has been a key means by which Australians have sought to define their relationships with Japan. From the fascination with all things Japanese in the late nineteenth century, through the era of ‘White Australia’, the bitter enmity of the Pacific War, the path to reconciliation in the post-war period and the culturally complicated bilateralism of today, Australians have used their cameras to express a divided sense of conflict and kinship with a country that has by turns fascinated and infuriated. The remarkable photographs collected and discussed here for the first time shed new light on the history of Australia’s engagement with its most important regional partner. Pacific Exposures argues that photographs tell an important story of cultural production, response and reaction—not only about how Australians have pictured Japan over the decades, but how they see their own place in the Asia-Pacific. ‘Pacific Exposures presents the first study of the photographic exchanges between Australia and Japan—its photographers, personalities, motivations, anxieties and tensions—based on a diverse range of archival materials, interviews, and well-chosen photographs.’ — Dr Luke Gartlan, University of St Andrews ‘[Pacific Exposures] will become a key text on Australia’s interactions with Japan, and the way that photographs can inform cross-cultural relations through their production, consumption and circulation.’ — Prof. Kate Darian-Smith, University of Tasmania In the media Listen to the ABC Radio interview: Japan in Focus (from 13:06).

Popular Music, Stars and Stardom »

Publication date: June 2018
A popular fascination with fame and stardom has existed in Western culture since the late eighteenth century; a fascination that, in the twenty‑first century, reaches into almost every facet of public life. The pervasive nature of stardom in modern society demands study from the perspectives of a range of distinct but thematically connected disciplines. The exploration of intersections between broader considerations of stardom and the discourses of popular music studies is the genesis for this volume. The chapters collected here demonstrate the variety of work currently being undertaken in stardom studies by scholars in Australia. The contributions range from biographical considerations of the stars of popular music, contributions to critical discourses of stardom in the industry more broadly, and the various ways in which the use of astronomical metaphors, in both cultural commentary and academic discourse, demonstrate notions of stardom firmly embedded in popular music thought. Not only do these chapters represent a range of perspectives on popular music, stars and stardom, they provide eloquent and innovative contributions to the developing discourse on stardom in popular music.

Navigating Boundaries »

The Asian diaspora in Torres Strait

Edited by: Anna Shnukal, Guy Ramsay, Yuriko Nagata
Publication date: November 2017
Navigating Boundaries belongs to a new generation of Asian–Australian historical studies. The essays presented here draw on an extensive, widely dispersed body of information, including much unpublished material, in order to narrate stories of the Asian diaspora communities of Torres Strait, north Queensland. Early chapters give an overview of Torres Strait Islander/Asian/European interaction, documenting the experiences of people from the five major Asian communities in the Torres Strait: Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese and Sri Lankan. Later chapters inspect the early authorities of Torres Strait, including the former Resident Magistrate and the Protector of Aboriginals. Other chapters examine the contributions to Torres Strait culture made by Asian communities—from ethnic identity, clothing and cuisine, to religion, funeral and burial practices, and with a strong focus on the rich musical culture of Torres Strait Islanders. In the final chapter of the book, a variety of local voices narrate stories of Torres Strait people of Asian ancestry, providing a deeply personal insight into the Asian experience in Torres Strait.

The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia »

Publication date: November 2017
Western Arnhem Land, in the Top End of Australia’s Northern Territory, has a rich archaeological landscape, ethnographic record and body of rock art that displays an astonishing array of imagery on shelter walls and ceilings. While the archaeology goes back to the earliest period of Aboriginal occupation of the continent, the rock art represents some of the richest, most diverse and visually most impressive regional assemblages anywhere in the world. To better understand this multi-dimensional cultural record, The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia focuses on the nature and antiquity of the region’s rock art as revealed by archaeological surveys and excavations, and the application of novel analytical methods. This volume also presents new findings by which to rethink how Aboriginal peoples have socially engaged in and with places across western Arnhem Land, from the north to the south, from the plains to the spectacular rocky landscapes of the plateau. The dynamic nature of Arnhem Land rock art is explored and articulated in innovative ways that shed new light on the region’s deep time Aboriginal history.

A Distinctive Voice in the Antipodes »

Essays in Honour of Stephen A. Wild

Publication date: July 2017
This volume of essays honours the life and work of Stephen A. Wild, one of Australia’s leading ethnomusicologists. Born in Western Australia, Wild studied at Indiana University in the USA before returning to Australia to pursue a lifelong career with Indigenous Australian music. As researcher, teacher, and administrator, Wild’s work has impacted generations of scholars around the world, leading him to be described as ‘a great facilitator and a scholar who serves humanity through music’ by Andrée Grau, Professor of the Anthropology of Dance at University of Roehampton, London. Focusing on the music of Aboriginal Australia and the Pacific Islands, and the concerns of archiving and academia, the essays within are authored by peers, colleagues, and former students of Wild. Most of the authors are members of the Study Group on Music and Dance of Oceania of the International Council for Traditional Music, an organisation that has also played an important role in Wild’s life and development as a scholar of international standing. Ranging in scope from the musicological to the anthropological—from technical musical analyses to observations of the sociocultural context of music—these essays reflect not only on the varied and cross-disciplinary nature of Wild’s work, but on the many facets of ethnomusicology today.

Harnessing the Bohemian  »

Artists as innovation partners in rural and remote communities

Authored by: Peter Skippington
Publication date: December 2016
Harnessing the Bohemian takes a fresh and interdisciplinary perspective on the intractable problem of shrinking populations and resources in remote/rural communities. It challenges the conventional wisdom of community development theories and practices and envisages more central roles for the creative disciplines in revitalising futures planning.  It argues that the evolution of technologies, the emergence of creative economies, the increasing demand for creative products, and the emergence of new creative talent are continually changing community expectations and opportunities. Consequentially, fresh arguments and new ideas must be developed to stimulate more creative and innovative approaches to community development. Recognising that creativity and innovation exist across all community sectors, this book proposes practical new approaches that harness the creative capital of all community stakeholders.