Conference | Artists’ Colonies in the World/The world in Artists’ Colonies

Dates: 28–29 November 2022  

Venue: University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia  

Format: Dual delivery, in person and online (both live online and pre-recorded online, according to time zones of speakers), 20-minute papers 

Audience: anticipated approx. 150, free public event  

Convenors: Dr Jane Eckett, Dr Sheridan Palmer, Victoria Perin  

Output: A selection of papers to be published in book form under an international academic imprint, such as Routledge

Models for writing art history range between globalised world views, national, regional or local histories,
and the enduring individual monograph. None of these, however, can comfortably accommodate the
artist colony. Colonies usually attract artists from elsewhere, of differing nationalities, brought together
in a single geo-spatial frame. They may cohere owing to the appeal of a particular ‘master’, such as
Gleizes at Moly-Sabata, or location renowned for natural beauty, such as Pont-Aven or Taos.
Alternatively, they may arise from the invitation of a wealthy patron, as at Darmstadt, or the simple
expedient of affordable studio accommodation as at Merioola in Sydney or Lina Bryan’s Darebin House
in Melbourne. Perhaps even the ubiquitous artist residency can be considered within the frame of the
artist colony. Regardless, artist colonies bring disparate artists into close proximity with one another,
generating a wealth of anecdotal records that can obscure or illuminate depending on the adopted
model of writing. They also physically occupy a space that is not, by rights, the residents’ own, creating a
relationship that often has its own dynamic.

Stemming from a current Australian Research Council Discovery project examining the post- WW2
Abbey Art Centre, in New Barnet, England, we invite researchers working on artist colonies from
anywhere and of any period to consider the impact of such collectives on an individual artist or the
wider artistic community. Possible topics to explore include: the study of a particular artist colony or
artist or group of artists who have spent time in an artist colony; the possibility of an artist colony
producing an identifiable style shared by its artists; the commonality of or differences between artist
colonies across a country or continent; the difference between artist colonies featuring artists from
overseas and Indigenous-run art centres; and the relationship between artist colonies and national art
history. In particular, we welcome papers that attempt to theorise the artist colony as an alternate
model for writing art history altogether.

Please send an abstract (max. 200 words), to and by 30 August 2022. Please also provide the following details


  • Your name and institutional affiliation.
  • Your email address and phone number
  • The title of your paper
  • Professional biography (max. 100 words)