Faculty of ArtsAustralian Institute of Art History

Bernard Smith

A symposium at the Universities of Melbourne and Sydney

Bernard Smith could rightly be called the founder of Australian Art History, and his presence and influence in Australian cultural life was immense from the publication of Place, Taste and Tradition in 1945 until his death in September 2011. To explore and celebrate his work and its legacy, the Universities of Melbourne and Sydney, together with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, convened an international symposium.

This collaborative symposium took place over four days in two locations, during which Australian and International Scholars, Curators and Artists discussed all aspects of Bernard Smith's wide-ranging work.  The Melbourne leg took place on September 20 and 21, 2012 and the Sydney leg on November 9 and 10, 2012. Both locations attracted a substantial number of contributors.

The Symposium was convened by Jaynie Anderson, Herald Professor of Fine Arts, University of Melbourne, Mark Ledbury, Power Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Sydney and Christopher Marshall, Senior Lecturer in Art History and Museum Studies, University of Melbourne.

Our aim was not only to consider the key questions of Bernard's scholarship, but to examine what legacy his vision of the world, (shaped as it was by pressing twentieth century concerns from the Cold War to post-colonialism), might have for 21st century scholars whose fields - history, anthropology, art history, art criticism - were affected by his pioneering work.

Bernard Smith symposium Melbourne

Thursday, 20 September 2012 | 9.30am -6.00pm
Friday, 21 September 2012 I 9.30am - 5.00pm

Listen to the Melbourne program

Introduction to the Symposium Jaynie Anderson, Herald Chair of Fine Art, University of Melbourne Jaynie

Keynote Address: Andrew Sayers, AM, Director of the National Museum of Australia, Canberra Andrew

Associate Professor Robert Gaston, The University of Melbourne
‘My greatest debt’: Bernard Smith, the Warburg Institute, and the evolution of ‘European Vision’ Robert

Elizabeth Findlay, Senior Lecturer, The Australian National University, Canberra
Bernard Smith’s Noble Savage and Concepts of Race Elizabeth

Dr Kathleen Davidson, The University of Sydney
Photography and the Triumph of Science in Bernard Smith’s European Vision and the South Pacific Kathleen

Associate Professor Catherine Speck, University of Adelaide
Outward bound: national art without borders Catherine

Dr Catherine de Lorenzo, Adjunct Research Fellow at COFA, University of New South Wales and Monash University
Bernard Smith, ‘cultural convergence’ and art history Catherine de

Nicholas Thomas, Professor of Historical Anthropology, & Director Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Out of Place: history and art in the Pacific Nicholas

Professor Rüdiger Joppien, University of Hamburg
Cooperation and Friendship – Correspondence with Bernard Smith on “The Art of Captain Cook’s Voyages”
Part 1 Rudiger Part 2 Rudiger

Dr Kate Challis
The Marxist Patron: Bernard Smith’s Art Collection Kate C

Professor of Australian Studies Kate Darian Smith, The University of Melbourne
The Kate Challis RAKA Award for Indigenous Creative Arts: Legacies and Impact Kate D

Philip Morrissey, The University of Melbourne
Encountering Aboriginal Art Philip


Warwick Thornton in conversation with Professor Marcia Langton
From ‘Mimi’ to ‘Mother Courage’ - a conversation with Warwick Thornton about the place of art in his film work  Warwick

Download the Melbourne program


Bernard Smith symposium Sydney

Friday 9 November 2012:  The Institute Building, City Road, University of Sydney (between Butlin Ave and Darlington Rd), Camperdown
Saturday 10 November 2012:  Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney

Download the Sydney program

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