Art History’s History in Australia and New Zealand

A joint symposium organised by the University of Melbourne and the Australian and New Zealand Association of Art Historians (AAANZ)

The symposium is conceived in conjunction with the residency of Professor Richard Woodfield (University of Glasgow) who will be a visiting international fellow in the Faculty of Arts University of Melbourne from August until October 2010. Richard Woodfield is the editor of a new e-journal on art historiography and a new series of monographs in art historiography. Visit the journal here

The mission statement for this journal states that the editorial board will ignore the disciplinary boundaries imposed by the Anglophone expression ‘art history’ and allow and encourage the full range of enquiry that encompassed the visual arts in its broadest sense as well as topics now falling within archaeology, anthropology, ethnography and other specialist disciplines and approaches. It will welcome contributions from young and established scholars and is aimed at building an expanded audience for what has hitherto been a specialized topic of investigation.

The symposium will be held as the basis for a monograph that will demonstrate the strength of multiple voices involved in the practice of art history in Australia and New Zealand. The symposium is to encourage debate about a critical framework for the volume and what it should contain.

Call For Papers

What does it mean to be an art historian practicing in Australia or New Zealand? How does the region of the world we inhabit relate to what we study? When we consider the history of the discipline in Australia and New Zealand, we might review not only the formal institutions that have been developed, such as museums and university departments of art history, but also the less formal accounts produced by critics, artists and interested amateurs, as well as the research activities of certain commercial galleries, auction houses, contemporary art spaces, and indigenous art centres. What are the principal disciplinary conflicts and collaborations treated within these currents? Which specialist areas of expertise have emerged (for example, European art history, the history of Australian art, indigenous protocols, women’s art, the crafts, among others)? What issues and institutions might be regarded as specifically Australian, or specific to New Zealand? Is art history practiced in distinctive ways in different places? What does art history mean in polycentric Australia, whether in Adelaide, Cairns, Yirrkala, Sydney, Wellington, Auckland, Canberra, Christmas Island, Christchurch, or Melbourne? How does art history as practiced in Australia and New Zealand relate to historical currents in art history as a discipline?

The symposium will provide opportunities for scholars in art history to reflect critically on what they do and to define how certain distinctive patterns have emerged within our national cultures. It is our intention to argue for an inclusive form of art history-one that embraces the creation of art in its broadest sense and relates, if and when relevant, to archaeology, anthropology, and other disciplines. All intending paper givers should be members of the AAANZ; only current members will be invited to speak.

Expressions of interest can be registered on the AIHA website