Beyond Competition Theory: A Speculative Model for Consortia Development in Visual Art Education

Professor David Cross (Deakin University), Dr Katie Lee (Deakin University), Dr Fiona Hillary (RMIT), Associate Professor Cameron Bishop (Deakin University)
2021 Conference

The need to build and strengthen connections with local community has been something of a given throughout our collective Covid experience. Placing greater onus on the meaning and value of the local has been one positive dimension of a pandemic largely devoid of any redeeming features. Where out globalised artworld has previously encouraged a diffusion of engagements across assorted places, Covid has forced a rethink on the priorities of where we choose to engage and with whom. While the focus on local community is important, a related imperative to build connections with allied organisations across the arts and academia is similarly key. The nascent agenda of universities competing with one another, rather than operating as a supporting network looks increasingly untenable. This paper will examine the potential of pan-university engagement in research and teaching as a new fundamental dimension of future tertiary education. Using an in-development public art research collaboration between Deakin University, RMIT, and the City of Hobsons Bay as a case study, we reflect on the greater ecology of the arts outside of art school while speculating on what research and pedagogical collaborations across governmental and institutional lines might look like.

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About the author

Assoc Prof Cameron Bishop
Cameron Bishop (PhD) is an artist, writer, curator and Associate Professor in Art and Performance at Deakin University. He has devised and curated a number of public art projects including: Treatment (2015/17/21) in Melbourne’s west and Six moments in Kingston, both with David Cross; Sounding Histories at the Mission to Seafarers Melbourne with Annie Wilson; and the ongoing VACANTGeelong project with architectural and creative arts researchers at Deakin, and leading Australian artists. As the recipient of a number of grants, awards and commissions he has been acknowledged for his community-focused approach to public art, and in 2018 helped establish the Public Art Commission at Deakin University where with Cross he has developed and curated a project in Venice and undertaken major public art consultations. As an artist he works mostly with Simon Reis in Bishop & Reis and has written for numerous journals, books and catalogues.  
Professor David Cross

David Cross is an artist, writer and curator based in Melbourne. Working across performance, installation, video and photography, Cross explores the relationship between pleasure, intimacy and the phobic in his works, and often incorporates participation by linking performance art with object-based environments. As a curator Cross has produced a number of temporary public projects, including One Day Sculpture (with Claire Doherty) across New Zealand in 2008-09, and Iteration: Again in Tasmania in 2011. The books of both projects were published by Kerber Verlag and Punctum respectively. He recently co-founded the research initiative Public Art Commission (PAC) at Deakin University which is devoted to the commissioning and scholarship of temporary public art. Recent PAC projects co-developed with Cameron Bishop include, Treatment with Melbourne Water and City of Wyndham (2015-17),  Venetian Blind with European Cultural Centre, Venice (2019), and Six Moments in Kingston for the City of Kingston  (2019). Cross is currently Professor of Visual Arts and Co-Director of PAC, Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University, Melbourne.

Dr Fiona Hillary

Fiona Hillary is a Melbourne based artist working in the public realm. Her passion lies in site specific practices and the human/non-human relationships that reveal themselves across time. Exploring scale through publicly shared moments of awe and wonder to more personal and intimate encounters, she asks us to consider who and what we are in the process of becoming? Working with site, neon, sound, human and non-human companion species, her work has shifted from a permanent incursion in the public realm to focusing on more temporary, fleeting encounters in and of the everyday. Coinciding with Professor Rosi Braidotti’s recent Melbourne visit Fiona curated Posthuman PUBLICS, a laboratory of posthuman convergences for RMIT’s Project Space.

Fiona has made and curated permanent, temporary, collaborative, performative works for a range of commissioning organizations. Her most recent work reverberating futures was launched with Deakin University’s 360 degree Cinema, the Nyaal. 37°57’02.5″S 144°38’02.0″E was an immersive sound and light experience commissioned for Treatment: Flightlines at the Western Treatment Plant. Fiona curated the 10th Anniversary of the Gertrude Street Projection festival in 2017, ‘Unfurling futures’.  ‘a place for gathering’ is a permanent, neon and sound work made in collaboration with Landscape Architect, Sarah Haq in Noble Park, commissioned by the City of Greater Dandenong.

Fiona is the Program Manager of the Master of Arts – Art in Public Space at RMIT University. She is a Research Lead in the School of Art research group Contemporary Art and Social Transformation.  Fiona is currently a co-editor on the Journal of Public Space with Luisa Bravo and Maggie McCormick – Art and Activism editions. She sits on the Curatorial Advisory Committee for the Gertrude Street Projection Festival. She is a member of the Algae Society, a global collective of interdisciplinary researchers.

Dr Katie Lee

Katie Lee is a cross-disciplinary artist whose creative practice includes sculpture, installation, performance, video, sound and drawing. Common to her work is a preoccupation with how our perception of the world around us can shift and flip: from stable to contingent.  Her work attempts to reveal and dissect these un/stable relations, along with the various ways in which these perceptions are held in architecture, bodies and form. Current research projects include making virtual-reality performance environments, live-streaming sculptural installation events and doing video field-recordings at the Fawkner Cemetery. Katie Lee is based in Naarm (Melbourne) Australia where she completed a PhD at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne (2019).  She has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 2005, and is a lecturer in Creative Arts and Expanded Performance at Deakin University.