Conference: Gatekeeping & Ethics in a Globalised Artworld

Full Conference schedule, abstracts and speaker bios now available to download as a PDF

Presented by the Centre of Visual Art (CoVA) at the University of Melbourne, ‘Gatekeeping and Ethics in a Globalised Artworld’ will be held on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 August, 2019 at the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.

Friday’s proceedings will close with the launch of the books Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power and Ethics and A Companion to Curation, both edited by Conference Chair Professor Brad Buckley and Assoc. Professor John Conomos, at Buxton Contemporary.


The conference Gatekeeping and Ethics in a Globalised Artworld, draws on many of the ideas in the transdisciplinary book, Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power and Ethics (Libri, 2017) and in the recent issue of the Journal of Asia Pacific Pop Culture 3.1 (Penn State University Press, 2018) and the forthcoming A Companion to Curation (Wiley Blackwell 2019), in seeking to articulate the forces of gatekeeping and ethics in our shared contemporary world.

This conference will attempt to delineate the unfolding intricacies, cultural anxieties, and issues salient to art, artists, curators and institutions in Australia, South East Asia and beyond.

This means questioning the many classist, colonialist, racist and phallocentric assumptions, beliefs and claims that have been traditionally entrenched in major Euro-American curatorial, aesthetic and museological traditions. Traditions where the various art forms of the different Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Australia and New Zealand amongst many groups, have been until recently, excluded by institutional and cultural gatekeepers. While many curators are seen as gatekeepers, a more pressing ethical issue is the relationship between curators, museums trustees, benefactors, and collectors.

These questions are further complicated by the global transition that we are witnessing: the passing of the 20th century, commonly identified as ‘the American century’, and the emergence of a new century that is now frequently referred to as ‘the Chinese century’. This is an era of geo-political upheaval, of ideological, strategic, socio-economic, and political uncertainties that may presage a new Cold War. The emerging trade war between China and the US, and China’s recent contestation of the South China Sea, are signs that there is a new political and cultural gatekeeper in the Asia-Pacific with different ethics. Will the rise of China disrupt the Western cultural hegemony and its gatekeepers?

Conference Chair
Professor Brad Buckley (University of Melbourne)


Professor Juli Carson
Juli Carson is Professor of Art at UC Irvine. She is also Philippe Jabre Professor of Art History and Curating at the American University of Beirut, 2018-19. Her books include: Exile of the Imaginary: Politics, Aesthetics, Love (Generali Foundation, Vienna, 2007) and The Limits of Representation: Psychoanalysis and Critical Aesthetics (Lerta Viva Press Buenos Aires, 2011). The Hermenuetic Impulse: Aesthetics of an Untethered Past was published by PoLyPen, a subsidiary of b_books Press.

Professor Elke Krasny
Elke Krasny is a Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. Her research, writing, and curating connects feminist praxis, spatial economies, urban analysis and curating's historiographies. Publications include the 2017 essays 'Exposed: The Politics of Infrastructure in VALUE EXPORT'S Transparent Space' in Third Textand 'The Salon Model: The Conversational Complex' in Feminism and Art History Now edited by Horne and Perry. The volume Women's: Museum. Curatorial Politics in Feminism, Education, History and Artappeared in 2013.


9:30AM – 5.00PM Friday 16 August, 2019
Clemenger Auditorium, National Gallery of Victoria (entrance on the side of the building, opposite Arts centre Melbourne)

Registration will begin from 9AM, please ensure timely arrive as the conference will begin promptly at 9:30AM.

9.30 Professor Su Baker
9.45 Professor Brad Buckley
10.00 Professor Elke Krasny (Keynote Address)

10.40 MORNING TEA (provided)

Session One: Outside the Gate and Other Stories

11.10 – 13.00 
Assoc. Prof Kate Daw (Chair)
Mr Djon Mundine
Professor Ian McLean
Professor Patricia Piccinini
Dr Una Rey
Ms Vikki McInnes (Discussant)

13.00 LUNCH (provided)

Session Two: Looking in and out of Asia
14.00 – 15.30
Dr Mark Erdmann (Chair)
Mr Lee Weng-Choy
Dr Edwin Jurriƫns
Mr John Young
Dr Pippa Dickson (Discussant)

15.30 BREAK

15.40 – 17.00
Professor Juli Carson

Assoc. Prof Kate Daw
Dr Mark Erdmann
Ms Vikki McInnes
Dr Pippa Dickson
Mr Djon Mundine
Professor Jennifer Milam (Moderator)

Book Launch

5:30 – 7:30PM Friday 16 August, 2019
Buxton Contemporary, Southbank Boulevard

Please visit this link for more information and to book for this event. 


10AM – 5PM Saturday 17 August, 2019Federation Hall, Grant Street, Southbank 

10.00 Professor Jon Cattapan
10.15 Professor Brad Buckley
10.30 Professor Juli Carson (Keynote Address)

11.10 MORNING TEA (provided)

Session Three: Shape Shifters and Taste Makers
11.40 – 13.30
Dr Rosemary Forde (Chair)
Professor Paul Tapsell
Mr Mark Feary
Ms Amelia Wallin
Dr Adam Geczy
Dr Edward Colless (Discussant)

13.30 LUNCH (provided)

Session Four: After the White Cube: Curatorial Adventures in the Virtual and Digital Worlds, and Beyond.
14.30 – 16.00
Professor Simone Douglas (Chair)
Assoc. Prof John Conomos
Ms Julianne Pierce
Dr Melentie Pandilovski
Dr Sean Lowry (Discussant)

16.00 BREAK


16.10 – 17.10
Dr Rosemary Forde
Ms Julianne Pierce 
Professor Simone Douglas
Dr Edward Colless
Dr Sean Lowry
Professor Jon Cattapan (Moderator)

17.10 Closing Remarks, Professor Brad Buckley

Image: Paul J. Sachs teaching in the Naumburg Room, Fogg Museum. Photograph by George S. Woodruff, 1944. Harvard Art Museums Archives, Fogg History Photographs.