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Postgrad visual art students meet in Darwin

By Louise Errington

From left: Dr Cornelius Delaney and CDU postgraduate visual art students Aly de Groot, Dr Bianca Hester (visiting lecturer), Anna Reynolds, Hayley West, Natasha Rowell and Sarah Moller From left: Dr Cornelius Delaney and CDU postgraduate visual art students Aly de Groot, Dr Bianca Hester (visiting lecturer), Anna Reynolds, Hayley West, Natasha Rowell and Sarah Moller

Visual art researchers from throughout Australia converged on Casuarina campus recently for an inaugural postgraduate visual art symposium.

The “Visual Art Postgraduate Consultation Symposium” brought together Charles Darwin University’s Masters and PhD students from across Australia, including Hobart, Adelaide, Sydney and Darwin.

CDU Visual Art Postgraduate Program Coordinator Dr Cornelius Delaney said it was an opportunity for the university’s PhD and Masters students undertaking visual arts practice-based research to come together to present their work in progress.

“The students, who mostly work in intellectual isolation, found the opportunity to meet with their peers and discuss the challenges they were facing in their work very useful,” Dr Delaney said.

“These painters, printmakers and sculptors discovered there were common themes of death, memorialisation and travel across their work, despite them not having discussed their projects before.”

Dr Delaney said the group discussed that an artist’s research was not the same as that of traditional disciplines, and that traditional research methodologies did not always fit with visual art research.

“Personal subjectivity is a vital part of the perspective in visual art research,” Dr Delaney said.

Sydney College of the Arts Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Bianca Hester led workshops at the event, and offered advice to the students in preparing the body of work and exegesis, the output of their studio-based research practice.

“Artist-scholars have a responsibility to challenge binary thinking and contribute to discourse about economic, political, philosophical and social issues by engaging ideas and posing uncomfortable questions,” Dr Hester said.

“What these researchers contribute is a poetic analysis of human existence, which is something that is often overlooked, and important existential questions that people do not have the time to think about.”