2018 Art Symposium

The free one-day symposium Aboriginal Art and Knowledge Engagement will examine the central role Australian Aboriginal artistic practice plays in the exchange of ideas, especially in teaching and cultural learning.  Keynote presenter Dr Henry Skerritt from the University of Virginia will be joined by colleagues from the University of Melbourne, Aboriginal art communities, conservators and the commercial gallery sector, to explore this fascinating subject.

The Aboriginal Art and Knowledge Engagement symposium will be held in the Gateway Building, Trinity College, at the University of Melbourne, on Sunday, 25 November, between 9.30am-5.00pm, following by networking drinks.

Symposium Program

Keynote Speaker

Henry SkerrittDr Henry Skerritt is the Mellon Curator of the Indigenous Arts of Australia at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia.

He has written extensively on Australian art, including contributions to catalogue publications for the National Museum of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Harvard Art Museums, and the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College.

He is the editor of the books No Boundaries: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Abstract Painting (2015); Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia (2016)and The Inside World: Contemporary Memorial Poles from Aboriginal Australia (2019)and served as the consulting curator on the touring exhibitions of the same names. Skerritt holds a Ph.D in art history from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters in Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Skerritt is currently working in the planning stages of the exhibition Madayin, showcasing more than seven decades of Yolngu bark painting produced by artists from Yirrkala, Arnhem Land.

Other speakers

We will be joined on the day by a range of other guest speakers from across the University of Melbourne, the Aboriginal art sector and Aboriginal communities to explore this rich subject.


Where: Trinity College, The University of Melbourne, Royal Parade, Parkville, 3052

Date: Sunday, 25 November 2018


Time Activity Location
9.30am Registration Old Warden's Lodge (OWL)
  Session 1  

Introductory remarks from Alison Inglis and Ben Thomas

Acknowledgement of Country

10:15am Keynote

Keynote Speaker: Dr Henry Skerritt, Mellon Curator of Australian Aboriginal Art, Kluge-Ruhe Collection, University of Virginia


Kade McDonald, Independent Curator and Director, Hanging Valley, and Executive Director, Durrmu Arts

11.30am Morning break  

Angus and Rose Cameron, Nomad Art Productions: Djalkiri – Blue Mud Bay commissioninvolving cross-cultural collaborative projects

12.30pm Lunch break  
  Session 2  

Introductory remarks from Robyn Sloggett about 10 year relationship with Warmun

Old Warden's Lodge (OWL)

Robyn Sloggett in conversation with Gabriel Nodea, Chair of Warmun Art Centre as well as young and emerging Gija artists and art workers from Warmun


Presentation from graduates of the Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists (ANKAAA) Art Workers Special Certificate course


Afternoon break


Susan Lowish discusses teaching and engaging with Aboriginal communities for more than a decade


Afternoon break


Wrap up with comments from all speakers and Prof Ian McLean


Tour of exhibition with co-curator

Burke Gallery, Gateway Building

Networking Drinks​

Bernardo Family Atrium, Gateway Building

End of Symposium


Cost: There is no cost to attend but attendees are required to register for catering purposes.

* Attendees to the symposium will have the opportunity to view the collaborative exhibition Barring-bul, currently showing in the Burke Gallery, Trinity College, in partnership with the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School.  Find out more here!

Registrations Now Open