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Visual Cultures and Possible Futures Symposium

OPEN TO ALL Year 10, 11 & 12 Students in the Visual Art Faculty and Senior Students from Local Schools (bookings required for the latter)

“The symposium will explore the diversity of trajectories that artists engage with and how these influence our lives,” said organiser and Head of the Visual Arts Faculty at St Hilda’s School, Ms Alana Hampton.

The Visual Cultures & Possible Futures Symposium will offer a series of presentations and workshops by some of Australia’s renowned arts practitioners and educators. The event will be a key date for 150+ senior secondary girls this year.


Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 2.33.20 pmKEYNOTE: Dr Laini Burton

Dr Laini Burton is a visual artist and scholar at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University where she convenes Studio Art and Honours at the Gold Coast Campus. Her research centres on body politics, fashion theory, bio-art and design and performance art. In these areas she focuses on the historical dimension and contemporary applications of new/digital media technologies in art and design practice, writing on topics such as embodiment, technology and biotechnologies, and the shaping of identities through creative practices.

Laini’s publications include ‘Abject Appeal and the Monstrous Feminine in Lady Gaga’s self-fashioned persona “Mother Monster”’, and ‘Nobody’s fool: Power and agency in performing “The Blonde”’ which was included in the book Fashion as Masquerade: Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty (University of Chicago Press) which she guest edited with Professor Efrat Tseëlon (University of Leeds, UK) and Professor Emerita of Sociology Diana Crane (UPenn, US). In 2015, her chapter titled ‘Evolutionary Scents: Lucy McRae’s Swallowable Perfume’ will be published in The Body Beautiful: Identity, Performance, Fashion and the Contemporary Female Body (InterDisciplinary Press), and her essay ‘Gagging Beauty’ will be published in Beauty: Exploring Critical Issues. Further, she has a forthcoming chapter in the text What is Performance Art? (Power Publications, USYD, AU).

As the convenor for Studio Art in the Bachelor of Digital Media, she designs and delivers curricula on contemporary art and design, fashion and visual culture across first, second and third year undergraduate courses. Laini supervises Honours candidates and at postgraduate level, she supervises PhD, DVA and Masters research candidates whose areas of investigation align with her own research interests. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Griffith Award for Excellence in Teaching, ‘Early Career Award’. Laini maintains an active membership with Industry organisations AAANZ, CAA, POPCAANZ and NAVA.

As a practicing artist, Laini was included in a major survey of contemporary female Australian and Indian practitioners in the Open Program of the inaugural 2012 Kochi Muzuris Biennale, India. Other recent exhibitions include Mythopoetic: Women Artists from Australia and India (2013-4) and BELT (2014).

Associate Professor Marian Drew

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From her website: Marian Drew, born in 1960, Bundaberg, is one of Australia’s most significant contemporary photographic artists. Drew’s practice, spanning more than twenty years, is characterised by innovation and exploration of photo-media. Drew has held over 20 solo shows across Australia, United States, France and Germany and is currently represented by galleries in United States and Australia. Her work is held is many major public and private collections across Australia including Australian National Gallery, Queensland Art Gallery, South Australian Art Gallery and in the J. Paul Getty Museum in the USA.

Drew has one previous publication; Marian Drew – Photographs + Video works; a survey of her practice from 1983 to 2006, which contains texts by Dr. Caroline Jordan, Anne Kirker, Dr. Brigitta Olubas, Russel Storer and a foreword by internationally renowned art theoretician Geoffrey Batchen. Drew was chosen to represent Australia in the First Asia Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery. Recently one of her works was purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where it featured in the exhibition “In Focus: Still Life” in September 2010. Presently, Drew is an Associate Professor at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

Associate Professor Dr Donna Marcus

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From Griffith University site: Donna’s work has been included in several recent national sculpture exhibitions including The McClelland Contemporary Sculpture Survey and Award; The Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Prize; The National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. She has held several exhibitions in both public and private galleries in Australia and overseas including Cod at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Dozens at Dianne Tanzer Gallery Melbourne and Home of Memory at Gallerie Tammen and Busch Berlin.

Recent group exhibitions include Fathoming, a nationally touring exhibition of the work of seven Australian sculptors, and Temperature, a survey of Queensland sculpture at the Museum of Brisbane. In 2003 she was resident at Australia Council London Studio.

Her work is held in many public and private collections in Australia and overseas. In 2003 the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane published the monograph Donna Marcus: 99% Pure Aluminium. Donna collaborated with Denton Corker Marshall on a major public artwork for Brisbane Square (Steam) which was installed in 2006.

Louise Martin Chew

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Dr Chris Bennie

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Chris Bennie is a New Zealand born artist, living and working in Mermaid Beach, Australia. His work has been included in national and international group exhibitions including Innerspace, Canberra Contemporary Artspace (2015); The National Artists Self Portrait Prize, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane (2013); Biennale of Sydney: Revolutions – Forms That Turn (2008); Contemporary Australia: Optimism, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2008); and Plus Factors, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2006). 

He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Clayton Utz Art Award (2014); Gold Coast Art Award (2012); Swell Sculpture Award 2013; Australia Council for the Arts mid-career New Work grant (2013); and Regional Arts Development Fund (2013). In 2014 Chris researched tsunami-affected communities and objects in Japan as part of an Asialink Residency at Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo. 

In 2006 Chris developed the Moreton Street Spare Room (MSSR), a Brisbane-based Artist Run Initiative in New Farm. The project operated for four years and presented intimate solo exhibitions in a domestic environment and documentary films on Queensland artists. MSSR received funding from Arts Queensland and Brisbane City. 

In 2009 his exhibition and exegesis, titled ‘Video art, authenticity and the Spectacle of contemporary existence’ was awarded a Doctorate of Visual Art at Griffith University. Chris currently lectures in Fine Art at Griffith University Queensland College of Art. 

Casey Tanswell

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 6.49.58 pmDrawing on the premise of clothing as an art form, the label, Casey Tanswell, was born of a longing to present women as works of art. The female form is celebrated and enhanced with a palette of opulent fabrics, themselves a testament to art and skill.  The use of specialty fabrics and faultless fit has become a signature of Casey Tanswell pieces, designed and constructed to be both timeless and unique.

Launched in 2012, the self-titled label is a melding of both an International Business and Fashion Design background, and an accumulation of European, architectural, and artistic influences.

“My core design aesthetic is chicly, romantically gothic.  It is dark and feminine.  I endeavour to entwine threads from past eras, elements from films books and art I love, and weave them together in a way that bestrides the beautiful and the sinister.”

Her beautiful works have won the hearts of very many

Virginia Rigney Senior Curator Gold Coast Art Gallery

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Through her work at the Gold Coast City Gallery, Virginia plays a vital role in exposing, celebrating and supporting our local arts scene, as well as showcasing national and international artists. Engaging the community through innovative exhibitions, public programs, digital platforms and collaborations with other events, Virginia has made a significant and positive impact our city’s ever evolving cultural ecology.

In 2003 Virginia started working at the Gold Coast City Gallery as Curator Public Programs, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience with her.

She’s previously worked in historic and prestigious museums like The Powerhouse in Sydney, The Art Gallery of NSW, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and as a curator with Glasgow Museums in Scotland.

Hanna Sandgren

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Over the past 2 years, Hanna has been undertaking her master’s degree in cultural materials conservation at the University of Melbourne, taking a step away from the theatre. In this industry, she hopes to find a balance between her appetite for visual culture and her growing concern for the ethical and political role of the arts in a broader national and global context. Last year, Hanna lead a small group of students in securing a substantial grant to undertake conservation work on two important Indigenous works belonging to the community of Kintore, Northern Territory. She also undertook a condition survey of a series of bark paintings known as ‘The Clan Collection’ held by the Buku-Larranggy Mulka Centre in Yirrkala, Arnhem Land. She hopes to continue her research into the ethical conservation of Indigenous art as she prepares a thesis that will survey the current approaches to mounting bark paintings and present an holistic methodology.

Jaala Alex


Jaala Alex is an emerging, Brisbane-based, fine art photographer. Her work focuses on the melancholic moments in life, inviting reflection upon the vulnerability and transience of the human experience. Jaala recently completed the Bachelor of Photography with First Class Honours at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Her work Conversations With My Family won the Tertiary Division of the Sunshine Coast Art Prize in 2013. She was a finalist in the Moreton Bay Regional Art Prize, the Lethbridge 10000 Small Scale Art Awards, and in the Space and Place Competition at Queensland Centre of Photography for the Queensland Festival for Photography 2014. Commercially, her work has been used for national campaigns for Virgin Mobile, Australia.

Since graduation in 2008 I have perused many avenues of study at university, most of which didn’t fulfil my creative drive. After dabbling in Creative Industries, business and architecture at QUT, I enrolled in the Bachelor of Photography at Queensland College of Art in 2012. I had the privilege to be mentored by Marian Drew, Bruce Reynolds, Angela Blakely, Martin Smith and Jay Younger. In the course I majored in Art Practice and was able to go on two International field trips: Peru in 2013, and New York in 2014. The Honours year allowed me to push my practice further with a deeper theoretical underpinning and contextual understanding of where my practice operates. The processes lead me to investigate a very personal space, and lead me back to my performance based roots whilst at St. Hilda’s. Through my practice, I strive to use my lived experience as a young woman as a legitimate and authentic source of inspiration to speak to audiences about universal conundrums, connecting the personal to the cultural.

Anastaszia (Ana) Ward

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Anastaszia Ward is an emerging Australian artist, working with a range of mediums including video, sculpture and installation.  She explores a range of themes central to the environment, working in a generally pseudohistorical or pseudoscientific context to build archives surrounding local mythologies. Her work takes elements from nature to explore our relationship with the environment, mythologies born out of natural phenomena and taxonomical depictions of nature, often blending fact and fiction.
She currently resides in Melbourne.

Michelle Vine

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Michelle Vine is a visual artist and writer from Sydney, based in the Gold Coast, who is completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Queensland College of Art, Brisbane. Michelle’s diverse practice ranges from drawing, photography and video works to digital poetry and online activism; however she always returns to the object, which occupies a central place in her oeuvre. Noteworthy exhibitions from 2015 include Subject Line at The Walls ARI Miami, Queensland, as well as / oder – oder l oder $ and Rundgang 2015 in Kassel, Germany.

In 2014 Michelle was awarded the Billie Hall Bursary for Outstanding Achievement in Fine Art at the Queensland College of Art followed by the inaugural Bonnie English Memorial Art Theory Award at the Graduate Art Exhibition 2015. As the recipient of an Australian Government ISEP Grant she travelled to Germany to extend her studies at Universität Kassel, Germany. The new direction her research-led art practice has taken since recently returning to Australia has been recognised by her success in achieving a Griffith University Honours College Summer Research Bursary for 2015/2016.

Michelle is currently working on a long-term discursive research project that operates as an umbrella from which she is developing a series of object-based installations, digital cartographic works, virtual museum collections, and writing projects. The subject of her research is German Naturalist Amalie Dietrich, and the botanical, zoological and ethnographic specimens from Queensland collected by Dietrich in 1860s that remain today in museums worldwide. Michelle is an artist who personifies her role as that of both storyteller and collector with a process at times akin to that of a method actor. Fully immersed in this historical narrative, she has trained herself as an amateur naturalist retracing Dietrich’s journey in North and Central Queensland; collecting plant and insect specimens and human-made objects for the production of both scientific research and artistic works.

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The Visual Cultures and Possible Futures symposium will feature a keynote address by Dr Laini Burton, lecturer at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University where she is Convenor of Studio Art and Bachelor of Digital Media.

Dr Burton’s practice and research interests centre on body politics, bio-art and design, fashion theory, film and installation, performance and body/spatial relations. In particular, her focus lies in the historical dimension and contemporary applications of new/digital media technologies in art and design practice including areas such as embodiment and technology and biotechnologies, and the shaping of identities and everyday life by through creative practices.

Other presenters include Louise Martin-Chew, Marian Drew, Donna Marcus, Chris Bennie, Michelle Vine, Mari Hirata, Casey Tanswell, Virginia Rigney, Anastaszia Ward, Jaala Alex, Hanna Sandgren, Skye Llewellyn and more.

The Visual Cultures and Possible Futures Symposium will be hosted by St Hilda’s School, Gold Coast on Wednesday 15 June 2016.


Image: Michelle Hsu


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