Public Art School (Now) – Call for Info/Contributions to Discussion Paper

Roundtable convenors: Ruth Fazakerley (University of South Australia) & Fiona Hillary (RMIT University)
ACUADS 2015, 24-25 September 2015, Adelaide
Conference website: 


L Holwood 2013. temporary student installation, Urban Laboratory, Rutledge Lane, Melbourne (Photo: Fiona Hillary)

What’s happening in higher education institutions to prepare art and design students to work in and with public, community and social contexts?

We’d like to get a snapshot of current activity, reflections and insights from art and design educators around Australia (and elsewhere!): including examples of relevant curriculum (programs, courses, units, projects, partnerships) across the diverse realms of public art, art and design in public space, socially engaged practice, art in social context, live art (etc) – as well as reflections on outcomes, successes, challenges and future needs.

We are particularly interested in reflections upon teaching and learning approaches that explore:

  • Creative collaboration across and between disciplines, institutions and frameworks;
  • The contributions of artists and designers to knowledge and society;
  • The future for design thinking and critical practice in the public realm;
  • The role of creative research and scholarship in the public realm.

We invite contributions to the preparation of a  Discussion Paper that will inform discussion at the ACUADS 2015 Roundtable Public Art School (Now). Examples, reflections, questions or comments should be submitted in the form of a Powerpoint document (3 slides max), conforming to the submission Guidelines (pdf). Multiple submissions are welcome.

Contributions will be edited and collated by the Roundtable convenors. The resulting document will be made available to the Roundtable participants and others as a website publication and as a powerpoint presentation at designated venues throughout the conference.

For further information, submission guidelines and an example, please see the Call for Info – Guidelines (pdf) or contact the Roundtable convenors Dr Ruth Fazakerley and/or Fiona Hillary.

Contributions should be accompanied by a signed Contibutor Release form available  here (.docx).

Deadline for submissions: 10 August 2015

We look forward to hearing from you,

Ruth & Fiona


Public Art and Higher Education

While I’ve been neglecting the blog over the last few months, I’ve been dabbling with a a Facebook group for Public Art Research… not sure how the relationship between the two sites will work out, but might allow for a little more dialogue…

and in the meantime, three opportunities concerned with the various relationships of art and public to the institutions of post-secondary education:

Call for Papers: Higher Ed: College Campuses and Public Art

Submissions deadline: 1 September 2016
Guest editor Monika Burczyk is now seeking proposals for essays, artists’ projects, dialogues and all other types of submissions on this subject for a forthcoming issue of the journal Public Art Dialogue.

As more and more colleges and universities feature public art on their campuses and in their pedagogy, it is a good time to address questions of how public art works at these specialized sites–for students, staff, faculty and community members. A Google search of “public art on campus” yields 110,000 results. While the definition of such “public art” ranges from university museums to social practice exchanges to collaborative community/classroom projects, the missions of these institutions often claim that art on campus is foundational to their intellectual culture and central to their educational vision. In this issue, the guest editor seeks to highlight the range of public art presented at colleges and universities, its various uses and effects, and strategies for evaluating such.

(Public Art Dialogue is sponsored by the organisation of the same name, here, and aims to provide platforms for dialogue across the wide range of professions and disciplines that public art encompasses.)

Submissions guidelines and further information here.

Public Art Studio Teaching Symposium

Saturday 4th July 2015
University of Auckland

NICAI called for submissions (now closed) to contribute to a one day symposium in conjunction with IAPA 2015: Cities in a Climate of Change: Public Art, Environmental and Social Ecologies (1-4 July), the second International Award for Public Art conference and exhibition.  IAPA 2015 is co-hosted by National Institute of Creative Arts & Industries (NICAI), University of Auckland, and the Shandong University of Art & Design, China, in association with the Hong Kong based Institute of Public Art (IPA).

IAPA 2015 includes the announcement of the 2nd International Public Art Award, administered by IPA.

The symposium is open to conference participants and others with an interest in the scholarship of studio teaching in the areas of public art and place-making practices.

and last but not least..

Public Art School (Now)

(with a nod to Situations and the Public Art (Now) blog for our adaptation of their title!)

Fiona Hillary (RMIT) and myself (Ruth Fazakerley, University of South Australia) are keen to discover what’s happening (or not happening) now in higher education institutions to prepare students to function as artists in the public realm.

As part of ACUADS 2015, the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools’ annual conference, to be held in Adelaide (24-25 September 2015), we will shortly be seeking examples from educators of relevant curriculum and projects, reflections, challenges and provocations, to contribute to a roundtable discussion at the conference: How are art schools’ preparing students to work in and with public, community and social contexts? What now constitutes professionally relevant skills and capacities? What are the challenges and opportunities?

We’ll outline submission guidelines soon, but feel free to get in touch before then if you’d like to be involved.

October Notes

Public Art Research will shortly be celebrating its two year anniversary on wordpress. I’m a keen follower of the stats, but I think it might be timely for some more personalised audience feedback! If you can take the time, let me know what you think, how you use this site, etc (either via the reply feature or email me).

Meanwhile, a few notices, news, events and opportunities to kick off October…

New organisations dedicated to organising public art seem to regularly turn up – Forecast Public Art (USA) partnered with Public Art (China) magazine in 2011 to found the International Award for Public Art. More recently they have created the Institute for Public Art, an organisation with global ambitions, incorporated in Hong Kong in 2013 as a Charitable Company.

Cultural research feeds off ‘grey literature‘, the wealth of more or less ephemeral reports, action statements, policies, publicity brochures (etc), regularly (relentlessly) produced by governments, organisations and individuals. Indeed, this blog is partly my own attempt to keep track of such public art related information. So I was particularly interested today to come across notice of the 2nd National Conference on Grey Literature, organised by Eidos and Swinburne University of Technology (and to be held at the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 11 November 2013).

I(f you or your organisation either collects or produces grey literature, then the Grey Literature Strategies research project would like you to participate in their survey.)

Events on now (or coming soon):

  • Shamim Momin, ‘An introduction to L.A.N.D. (Los Angeles Nomadic Division)’, Palimpsest at La Trobe, La Trobe University Lecture Series, State Library of Victoria Seminar Room 1, 6.30pm, 3 October 2013
  • Mildura Palimpsest Biennale #9  Mildura, Victoria 4-7 October 2013
  • Jack Becker, ‘The Rise and Rise of Public Art’ and Rob Garrett ‘Invisibility, improbability, empty shoes and insistent communities: temporary public art strategies and cultural citizenship’, Palimpsest at La Trobe, La Trobe University Lecture Series, State Library of Victoria Seminar Room 1, 6pm, 8 October 2013
  • Art and About, City of Sydney, 20 September – 20 October 2013
  • SCAPE 7 Public Art Biennial, Christchurch NZ, 27 September – November 2013
  • The Art of Good Health and Wellbeing, 5th Annual International Arts and Health Conference, Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales and College of Fine Arts (COFA), University of NSW, 12 – 14 November 2013

Call for Artists: Artworks and Exchanges

3-9 February 2014

As part of the Spectres of Evaluation conference, proposals are sought from artists working in socially-engaged or community-based arts practice to participate in the Artworks and Exchanges exhibition:

a week long exhibition delivered across two arts centres in Melbourne’s inner west: Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Incinerator Gallery.  Artworks may be installed within the gallery or positioned in sites around the conference located on the banks of the Maribyrnong River.  Artworks responding to the social and geographical context of exhibition sites, are encouraged.  […] Successful projects will be awarded a bursary of AU$2,000 (excluding GST) to contribute to time and materials expended to realise the projects, and transportation and installation of works.

Deadline for submissions is 25 October 2013
Further information and guidelines here.

Call for Abstracts: Contemporary Publics International Symposium

24-25 February 2014
Persona, Celebrity, Publics Research Group,
Deakin University, Victoria, Australia

Researchers in media and communication, cultural studies, creative arts and visual ethnography, journalism and public relations, architecture and urban design; postgraduate students, educators, and emerging career researchers, are invited to submit abstracts for a international symposium considering:

What is meant by the term ‘contemporary publics’ and how does that present new directions in thinking and research around the concept of ‘public’?

New notions on publics come from a range of media and communication, social, political and artistic fields of inquiry. Networked publics and micro-publics arise from digital cultures and new media platforms; boundaries now blur amongst advertising, public relations and their targets in both physical and virtual space; journalists strive to redefine the role of public broadcasting within new and obsolete concepts of media. Blogs, personal websites, webzines and new forms of engagement emerge within the affordances of technology like mobile phones and within intra-organisational spheres like Facebook and Twitter. Contemporary publics are transforming within urban, interior and installation spaces. Relentless inquiries into the new domains of public and private in the era of 21st century personalised capitalism and consumer culture reveal changing rhetorical and ideological values around of the notion of the public.

Deadline for submissions 4 November 2013
Further information and guidelines here.

March news roundup

I’m having that sudden feeling of missing out – realising that I won’t be going to the 2013 ISEA conference in Sydney this June, where, among many other programmed events, the Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda will be performing datamatics 2.0 (not “dramatics 2.0″ as in my original post : ) …

Ah well, here’s another random collection of data for your inbox instead:

Sculpture symposium update

Further details have been announced of the SCULPTURE: Place and Space symposium being held in Canberra in May as part of the TOUCH: Sculpture and the Land program of events, and in association with the celebrations for the Centenary of Canberra.

The weekend symposium (11-12 May) is preceded by a free public keynote address by Vivien Lovell, Founder/Director Modus Operandi London (UK), 6pm, Friday 10 May 2013 at the James O Fairfax Theatre. Symposium presenters include artists Patricia Piccinini (Australia), Peter Kennedy (Australia), Pamille Berg (NSW), Chris Drury (UK), Wolfgang Buttress (UK), Siuli Tan ( Singapore), Maria Fernanda Cardoso (Sydney), School of Alumni Noelene Lucas (Sydney), Anne Neil (Perth), Steven Holland (ACT), Alistair Riddell and Shanti Sumartojo (ACT), National Gallery of Australia curators Deborah Hart, Lucina Ward and Mim Kelly and Artistic Director of the Canberra Centenary Robyn Archer AOM .

Further information and (pricey!) registration details here.

Some new (ish) publications

Call for Expressions of Interest – Real Alternatives

Came across this via the IAG list… Libby Porter (Senior Lecturer in Human Geographer, Monash University) has sent out a call for expressions of interest for contributions, initially for publication in the special ‘Interface’ section of the journal, Planning Theory and Practice. (This section of the journal is open access, unrefereed, and not limited to formal research papers.)

There are always moments – cracks in an edifice – when concrete, practical alternatives to mainstream, hegemonic approaches might find some air and light. One such moment is crisis – when long-standing trajectories are halted, assumptions challenged, oppressive practices exposed, and present dangers more fully revealed. That we are, as a global community, in crisis of a variety of ecological, economic, social and political dimensions is frighteningly clear. And that these crises both feed into, but are equally produced by, the processes that underpin urbanisation, land development, and the nature of socio-ecological relations (space, in short) is also patently obvious. While there is little consensus about how or what, it is clear that all sorts of changes, of a radically progressive nature, are urgent.

This call is for Expressions of Interest for a collection of examples and ideas for concrete, radically progressive change on matters related to how, as a society, we use, occupy and manage space. That includes, but is not limited to: cities, urbanisation, land development, housing and socio-ecological relations. The purpose of this collection is to share ideas and resources: prod imaginations, spark hope, show there is a different and better way.

[… the purpose of this collection ] is to ‘prefigure’ possible futures in the current order by sharing ideas, experiments, hope and possibilities for what could be different tomorrow.

Activists, organisers, practitioners, local groups trying new initiatives, students, artists, researchers…anyone who can talk clearly and passionately about potentially viable, radically progressive solutions are invited to send a 1 page EOI to libby.porter at by 19 April 2013. EOIs should consist of an overview of the idea/project and its contribution, together with name, affiliation and/or background.

Selected contributors will be asked for their contribution (short paper or equivalent, no longer than 2000 words) by 31 July 2013.

New Year’s Resolutions

Hey, what happened! Somehow it seems too late to wish you a happy new year, or to give you my lengthy list of new year’s resolutions – January has gone already!  Catching up on the news instead, here are a few miscellaneous items of interest – events, new resources, publications and conference opportunities [with special thanks to Gerry, Maggie McCormick, RMIT Art and Public Space Researchers, and s-architecture]:

  • cementa 13, 1-4 February 2013, is a biennial contemporary arts festival taking place in the post-industrial town of Kandos NSW:

    Over forty  artists will exhibit video, installation, sound, 2d and 3d artworks in venues and locations across the town. Venues will include shop fronts, vacant lots, a disused school, scout hall, local pub, the local museum, golf-course, people’s homes, the surrounding bushlands, etc.  The work will address the identity, history, and current social, environmental and economic context of the town.   Both walking and cycling tours will be given every day of the festival […with]  specialised tours including an edible weed tour of the surrounding country, a bicycle tour by ARTcycle inc. of local bushland, an escarpment hike and a winery tour.

  • Copies of accepted abstracts and the updated program for the forthcoming conference Art and Geography: Aesthetics and Social Knowledge (11-13 February 2013, Lyon) are now available on the conference website.
  • Kevin Anslow’s Melbourne Street Art 86 blog “imagines Melbourne’s 86 tram route as though it were a giant open air gallery of street art with its own regular tram service.” The site documents street art with photos, organised by suburb, with tram stop and map location noted.
  • Melbourne artists’ group Urban Art, responsible for a series of landmark temporary and collaborative urban art initiatives since the 1990s, has had its extensive website archived annually via the National Library of Australia’s Pandora Web Archiving Project.
  • Sculptor Norma Redpath recently passed away in Melbourne aged 84. Among her public commissions are the Treasury Fountain (1966, Canberra), a bronze coat of arms (1968, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne), Sculpture Column (1972, ANU School of Music, Canberra), and sculptures around Melbourne University. (See the National Portrait Gallery for information on Redpath or the obituary in Melbourne’s Age.)
  • Rebecca Farley’s recent blog, Angel of the North, gives an interesting insight into some of the ways that audiences engage with Antony Gormley’s famous Newcastle-Gateshead sculpture, drawn from Twitter data.
  • … and I can’t resist adding this commentary on recent public sculpture in China from Danwei, a website tracking Chinese media and affiliated with the ANU’s Australian Centre on China in the World.

Recent Publications

Call for Papers

  • Artscapes: Urban Art and The Public – An Inter-disciplinary Conference on Art and Urban Spaces
    University of Kent, UK
    27-28 June 2013
    Deadline for abstracts: 26 March 2013The Artscapes Group invites abstracts on urban art and public spaces from all scholars, including postgraduates and early career researchers, from a range of disciplines including art, architecture, geography, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, cultural studies, history, politics and economics and urban planning.Further information here.
  • critique 2013: an international conference reflecting on creative practice in art, architecture, and design
    26-29 November 2013
    University of South Australia, Adelaide
    conference convenors Dr. Chris Brisbin and Dr. Myra Thiessen (University of SA)
    Deadline for abstracts: 31 March 2013

    This conference aims to explore the following three broad categories of critique:
    a) Critique in design education and creative practice (verbal & visual, all forms)
    b) Self-critique in design education and creative practice (reflective practice)
    c) Critique through creative works of things/ideas/policy/ in the world (design as research)

    Contributions are invited from a broad range of disciplines concerned with the creative and professional practice of criticism “including, but not limited to; design, the fine arts, architecture, interior design, industrial design, urban planning, craft, media, performance, music, exhibition curation, museology, philosophy, education, journalism, and governance and policy.”

    Further information from the website.

WA public art

Following a short visit to Perth recently, thought I’d share the following gleanings:

Grow Your Own

In 2009 the Western Australian State Government (Department of Culture and the Arts) conducted an international sculpture competition to procure a $1million sculpture for inclusion within the upgrade of Forrest Place in the centre of Perth. Well documented at the Situate Sculpture Project website, the competition received over 200 entries, from which five were selected to produce further detailed designs. The final winning entry was an untitled “biomorphic form” by Perth-born sculptor James Angus (leading a team that included engineer Douglas Knox, lighting designer Peter Mclean, industrial designer Sebastian Adams, fabricator Jaime Marina, and project supervisor Tony Oxley).

Referred to locally as “the green cactus” (according to some of the news reports below at least), the sculpture was handed over to the City of Perth in September 2011, with the artist belatedly giving it his own title:  Grow Your Own.

I was directed by a couple of Perth locals to observe the similarity between Grow Your Own and another recent work by Angus in Sydney, their suggestion being that this sculpture lacked particular relevance to either its location or audience  (See:  Day In, Day Out, at 1 Bligh St, Sydney). Another informant, however, commented on how the sculpture had literally shifted the attention of city inhabitants towards the Perth Railway station (a vista against which they typically had turned their backs when sitting, lunching or otherwise waiting in Forrest Place) and noted the work’s robustness to any number of physical and contextual interventions. The sculpture accommodates, without any preciousness, the inevitable succession of paste-ups and graffiti, late night revelry and bravado attempts at climbing, as well as its role as a backdrop for commercial promotional events. It’s probably not a bad landmark as a place to meet either… Of course, its public funding and price seem to be the main point of contention in several of the reports below:

Twitter: theperthcactus
Department of Culture and the Arts, WA govt: Home-grown sculpture sprouts in city, 23 September 2011
The West Australian: City home for a green giant, 15 September 2011
The West Australian: Growing the green message, 15 September 2011
The West Australian: Great green giant graces city, 18 August 2011
ABC: WA’s largest artwork nears completion and divides opinion in Perth, 17 August 2011
7News: Million dollar artwork ‘too much’, circa 18 August 2011

Percent for Art

In its 2010-11 Annual report (pdf) the WA Government bills its percent for art scheme as the longest running public art program in Australia. This comes down to definitions I guess… not to detract from the significant achievements of the program and policy, in place since 1989, I suspect the Tasmanian Government Art Site Scheme should get this particular guernsey.  Formerly called the Art for Public Buildings Scheme, and renamed in 2009, the Tasmanian program has been running since 1979.  A percentage of the Tasmanian State Government capital works budget is allocated for the acquisition or commissioning of new artworks, with over 1500 artworks acquired over the life of the scheme, and placed in schools, hospitals, community centres and other government buildings. The South Australian government’s public art program also predates the WA scheme (1984/6), albeit without an accompanying public policy, and operating principally as a grants funding and public art advocacy scheme.

Perth City Council

In 2009 Perth City Council published the Public Art Study: Review Report which provided a comprehensive review of the City’s public art activity and gave recommendations towards the development of a formal public art policy and strategy.  In particular, the report recommended formalising the City’s percent for art approach to funding its public art program, as well as the initiation of a mandatory Developers Public Art Initiative for projects over $1million.  The Developers Public Art Initiative would replace the City’s previous Bonus Plot Ratio Policy (City Planning Scheme No. 2: Policy 4.6.1) which rewarded developers for funding or commissioning public art. This initiative was informed by the policies for mandatory developer contributions for public art developed by the  East Perth Redevelopment Authority (now the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority).

The City is yet to adopt the report’s recommendations, but has nevertheless continued to manage an active public art program, including an annual temporary exhibitions project Transart. In conjunction with the City Laneways Enhancement program (since 2008),  public art commissions have also included a series of wall murals (Wall Inc) and a wall-mounted lightbox exhibition space.


Photos: Ruth Fazakerley, 9 Feb 2012

"Grow Your Own""Grow Your Own""Grow Your Own""Grow Your Own""Grow Your Own"

Don’t know what you’ve got ’til its gone…

What is the role and value of contemporary public art? What is its social responsibility? Totemic objects of collective imagination, aspiration or totalitarian domination? Resistant occupations to the commercialisation and privatisation of public space? Objects to be looked at, spaces to be experienced…

The widely reported theft of a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth from a park in South London has prompted a short but informative discussion that canvases these issues and more, aired on BBC’s Radio 4, between sculptor Antony Gormley and Richard Sennett, Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics. [ Source: ixia ]

Hepworth’s 1969/70 sculpture Two Forms (Divided Circle) in Dulwich Park was a bronze cast from an edition of 6.  It was stolen in late December presumably for its worth as scrap metal, among an epidemic of metal theft that is taking place across the UK.

BBC News: Barbara Hepworth sculpture stolen from Dulwich Park
Guardian: Barbara Hepworth sculpture stolen from London Park
Huffington Post: Public Artwork by Barbara Hepworth Stolen from London Park
Independent: Very grand theft