What Can Art Do? An interdisciplinary discussion

Thursday 11 July 2013, 1 - 2pm
University of Queensland, St Lucia

What is the place of art? What can art change? What are the limits of art? When is art part of the problem? What can art resist? Who is the ‘public’ for public art? To whom does art belong? What is the role of art in institutions? Who does art speak for and who can speak for art? Can art provide us with new or unique insights into political issues? 

Fiona Foley Witnessing to Silence, Brisbane Magistrates Court, Brisbane 2004 Fiona Foley, Sugar Cubes, Mackay Regional Council, Mackay 2009

As part of NAIDOC week celebrations Dr Maureen Burns invites you to join an interdisciplinary roundtable discussion with Adjunct Professor Fiona Foley, Professor Roland Bleiker, Dr Rob Pensalfini and Dr Fiona Nicoll.

All are welcome, this event is open to the public, staff and students. Feel free to bring your lunch with you to the seminar, if you're on your lunch break.

About the Presenters

  • Adjunct Professor Fiona Foley is a founding member of Booomalli Aboriginal Artist Co-operative. Foley is a Brisbane based artist and exhibits regularly in Australia and internationally. Her recent solo exhibitions were held at Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane and Niagara Galleries, Melbourne in 2012. In 2009 – 10 The University of Queensland Art Museum and Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art co-curated a survey exhibition of Fiona Foley’s work titled Forbidden. The exhibition traversed photography, sculpture, moving image, etching and installations. Foley was appointed an Adjunct Professor with the University of Queensland in 2011. Her major public sculptures include: 
    • The Edge of Trees, Museum of Sydney, Sydney 1995
    • The Lie of the Land, Melbourne Museum, Melbourne 1997
    • Tribute to A’vang, Parliament House, Canberra 2001
    • Winged Harvest, The Australian National University, Canberra 2001
    • Witnessing to Silence, Brisbane Magistrates Court, Brisbane 2004
    • Bible and Bullets, Redfern Park, Sydney 2008
    • Little Treasures, Hamilton Northshore Playscape, Brisbane 2008
    • Black Opium, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane 2009
    • Sugar Cubes, Mackay Regional Council, Mackay 2009

  • Roland Bleiker is Professor of International Relations at the University of Queensland. He has a long-standing interest in both cross-cultural interactions and the links between art and politics. His most recent book is Aesthetics and World Politics. His work on cross-cultural interaction has focused mostly on Korea – where he has lived and conducted research on numerous occasions over the past 25 years – but he has a keen outside interest in questions of Indigenous politics and justice in Australia. He is currently working on a collaborative ARC-sponsored project that examines how images shape responses to humanitarian crises.
  • Rob Pensalfini is a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and Drama at the University of Queensland, and the Artistic Director of the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble. As a linguist, Rob's work focuses on the indigenous language of the Barkly Tableland, where he has worked with communities to produce grammars and dictionaries, as well as bringing Australian data to bear on theoretical issues in linguistics. The Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble is an artist-run professional theatre ensemble dedicated to engaging communities through theatre, principally with the works of Shakespeare, in order to impassion the lives of community members. Apart from public performances and training programs, the Ensemble offers workshops to a variety of community groups, and since 2006 Rob has led the Ensemble's award-winning Shakespeare Prison Project in high security men's prisons. The Shakespeare Prison Project utilises the methodologies and theories of Theatre of the Oppressed, alongside the performance of Shakespeare, and culminates in a performance of a Shakespeare play by the prisoners. While it has no therapeutic agenda, the project has been shown to have a transformative effect on participants in terms of self-worth, communication, and sense of community.
  • Dr Fiona Nicoll is a lecturer in cultural studies at the University of Queensland and the author of From Diggers to Drag Queens: Configurations of Australian National Identity (Pluto Press, 2001). For two decades she has been relating the politics of Indigenous art to broader questions about Australian nationalism and Indigenous sovereignty. Her recent writing draws on critical theories of race and whiteness to explore how Indigenous ways of knowing, being and seeing are framed by contemporary Indigenous artists. While she has incorporated analyses of contemporary Indigenous art within academic journal articles and edited book chapters, she is also the author of invited exhibition reviews and catalogue essays on the work of different Indigenous artists including Fiona Foley, Richard Bell and Vernon Ah Kee.

EMSAH Seminar | What Can Art Do? 11 July 2013