Public interactions: Dialogues on art and public space

ANU School of Art, Canberra, 20 July – 23 July 2011

Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich, Love Cannon Parade 2005

The Australian National University School of Art presents Public interactions: Dialogues on art and public space, an international symposium to be held in Canberra from the 20th to the 23rd of July 2011.

International and local artists, architects, designers and public intellectuals will converge to explore the role of art in the public spaces of the contemporary community. Diverse practices will be revealed across digital, relational, guerrilla, ephemeral, heritage, commemorative and architectural spaces. Participants will discover Canberra’s vibrant public art scene, as well as glimpsing the failed dreams of those projects that might have been.

Canberra, Australia’s capital, was planned at a time when faith in the role of art and design in perfecting inhabited space was at its zenith. A remnant of this faith survives today and is visible in the ever-proliferating series of memorials, sculptures and designed environments scattered throughout the city’s official, mercantile and suburban spaces. Despite partisan coverage in the local press, there has been very little complex or sustained debate on the value of public art, or indeed what might be understood by the term.

This symposium will engage with what it might mean to locate art within public spaces. It will address ephemeral projects and guerrilla activities in the interstices of inhabited spaces alongside commissioned public works and official commemorative precincts.

Themes for the symposium include:

  • the role of new media and the digital on public projects;
  • guerrilla and ephemeral works and the politics of public space;
  • public art, commemoration and heritage spaces;
  • communities and public artmaking

Keynote speakers:

  • Andrew Shoben, co-founder of Greyworld, UK
  • Robyn Archer, Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra
  • David Headon, historian and advisor to the Centenary of Canberra, Australia


  • Louise Tegart, Head of Special Projects and Exhibitions, Historic Houses Trust of NSW
  • Clouston and Boyd, artists, Australia
  • David Cross, artist, director, Litmus Research
  • Initiative and co-convenor of One day Sculpture, New Zealand
  • Mini Graff, artist, Australia
  • Rosemary Hollow, academic, Australia
  • Jonathan Jones, artist, Australia
  • Kamin Lertchaiprasert, artist and co-founder of the Land Project, Thailand
  • Marco Marcon, Director, IASKA, Australia
  • Scott McQuire, academic and writer, Australia
  • Alwin Reamillo, artist, Phillipines and Australia
  • Peter Stanley, military historian and author, Australia
  • Jennifer Turpin, artist, Australia
  • Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich, artists, UK
  • Ardi Yunanto, writer and curator, Indonesia

To register or to see the full program visit the website: