My research work includes two substantial curatorial projects and my experiences include:
Curatorial concept development
Primary research, including working with living, contemporary artists
Working with archival materials
Grant writing for stages including research & development; and national touring proposals
Exhibition copy including wall texts, exhibition catalogues, artist interviews
Obsessed: Compelled to Make, Australian Design Centre
From March 2016 - March 2017 I undertook a major research and curatorial project for Australian Design Centre, exploring 'the power of making in Australia'. This substantial body of work was developed under a Visions of Australia research grant.
This nationally-focused research included roundtable discussions in Sydney and Adelaide, artist interviews and a cultural, historical, psychological examination of what it means to make. Working alongside ADC Director Lisa Cahill and designer Stephen Goddard, this 12-month period included curatorial concept development, a finalised list of artists, exhibition design and the commissioning of filmmaker Angus Lee Forbes. It also included the writing of a successful Visions of Australia national touring grant.
The exhibition, Obsessed: Compelled to Make, opened in February 2018 and is ADC’s major touring show for 2018-2021. Eschewing the traditional object-based exhibition, Obsessed celebrates the maker and unpacks the creative, practical, emotional, cultural obsessions that drive the act of making,
EARLY CURATORIAL CONCEPT:
Obsession (n.) A persistent pre-occupation, idea or feeling The act of obsessing or the state of being obsessed The domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image or desire.
OBSESSED! Compelled to Make is an exhibition that explores something of the experience of making.
In one form or another, everybody makes things. But what is it about making that drives designers, artists and craftspeople to dedicate their lives to a creative practice? In surveying the work and experiences of a broad range of Australian makers, OBSESSED! Compelled to Make asks the following questions:
- What role does creative obsession play in the making process? - How does obsession drive the development of skills and expertise? - What are some of the kinds of obsessions makers have: with ideas, materials, objects or ways of making? - What positive effects can creative obsession have on health, innovation and cultural wellbeing?
Stories of War from the University Collection, University of Sydney
Throughout 2014 I worked with the University of Sydney Archives to research and curate an exhibition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One. Drawing on my knowledge of the University’s war archives through my work on the digital e-research platform Beyond 1914, I worked with Archivist Nyree Morrison and Rare Books Librarian Sara Hilder to curate Stories of War from the University Collection. The exhibition ran from 24 April 2015 to 02 October 2015 in the University’s Rare Books Gallery, in the Fisher Library.
The exhibition was a gathering together of impressions, experiences, ideas and people. Drawn primarily from the University Archives and the Rare Books and Special Collections, University Library, with contributions from the Macleay Museum and the Faculties of Medicine, and Education and Social Work, these materials reflected the nuanced and varied ways in which the University, and its men and women, experienced, understood and responded to World War I.
The University played a unique role in the war effort, with the expertise of its academic staff and students in high demand. As the war developed, so too did the need for qualified doctors, engineers, scientists and veterinarians. As early as 1916, the University recognised the need to honour and memorialise the efforts of its community and so began to collect letters, photographs, records and stories. These efforts post-war saw the creation and installation of the War Memorial Carillion in the Quadrangle building in 1928 and the publication of the University of Sydney’s Book of Remembrance in 1939, which included over 2,000 short military biographies of those who served overseas.
The Stories of War displayed in the exhibition were organised by themes directly inspired by the extensive correspondence of these men and women. These included Life at Sea, The Landscape, Conscription, the Sydney Teachers College experience, Sounds of War and University women who served in the war. Also highlighted were the lives and experiences of three otherwise ordinary people, whose letters, careers, adventures and untimely deaths illustrate the extraordinary contributions and sacrifices made by so many.