Queer Curating, Queer Art, Queer Archives – UTS, 18 October 2017

Queer Curating, Queer Art, Queer Archives


International Invited Symposium, University of Technology Sydney, 18 October 2017 1-5.30pm. Faculty of Design, Bldg 6 (Peter Johnson), Level 6, Room 038. CB06.06.038 [adjacent ABC in Harris St Ultimo]


The inclusive and sometimes controversial word ‘queer’ is both noun and adjective that describes, in theorist of the classical world and sexuality David Halperin’s words, a horizon to think through both past and present. It often describes a state of becoming rather than something fully resolved, a concept that derives from proto-queer theorists including Michel Foucault and the later work of Judith Butler. It is not the same as ‘gay and lesbian’ and this creative tension becomes very concrete when addressing historical art and archives by and about non-normative men and women as well as those identifying as gender fluid.

This is felt to be the first Australian International invited symposium on the topic of Queer Curating. It explores the concept of curating from the professional working in an art museum to the archivist, and the collector of the everyday. How is image generation (art making) and the collection of art and images connected to the history of (homo)/queer sexuality? To what degree do art and artefacts make the queer subject visible? How are such subjects in turn rendered in/visible through alternative and dominant processes of curating, collecting and assembling? How is art connected to forms, gestures, materials and decorations that create a queer subjectivity?

Who can ‘see’ this subjectivity and must it be explained? How do ‘on’ and off’ stage historical subjectivities operate to both make the queer subject visible and invisible? What are the social, political and cultural effects of ‘queering’ an existing museum collection? What are the strategies and tactics used by queer men and women before decriminalisation of (homo)sexuality in many parts of the world from the 1960s-80s? How does a queer vision assist in those countries where (homo)sexuality is still actively policed?

Our forum coincides with the divisive and frequently unpleasant ‘Same Sex Marriage’/Marriage Equality debate in Australia. AAANZ has recently issued its statement of support for Marriage Equality, for which the organisers are very grateful.



Following the success of Tate Britain’s Queer British Art exhibition, the first such major exhibition held in the United Kingdom, the symposium takes advantage of the opening of The Unflinching Gaze: photomedia and the male figure at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (BRAG), New South Wales, Australia, on 16 October 2017 ( accompanied by an all-day community forum and opening party, in the presence of the NSW Minister for the Arts the Hon. Don Harwin MLC).

In October 2017 BRAG will publish a 100 page illustrated catalogue The Unflinching Gaze with essays by Richard Perram AOM (BRAG), Prof Peter McNeil FAHA (UTS) and Dr Christine Dean (UTS).

The UTS Symposium welcomes prominent visitors from overseas and interstate and celebrates the 10th anniversary of the first queer design focussed conference conducted in Australia: Queer Space (UTS).

Invited speakers come from Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Australia. They include curators, collectors, artists, historians, sociologists and theorists of sexuality.



The Symposium will be hosted by the Faculty of Design and Architecture at the University of Technology Sydney, in partnership with BRAG and with the support of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) UTS/Public History. CB06.06.038 [adjacent ABC in Harris St Ultimo]




Dr Peter McNeil FAHA, Distinguished Professor in Design History, School of Design at the UTS and Richard Perram AOM, Director, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery.

Invited guests and program Clare Barlow, Tate Britain UK – curator, Queer British Art 1861-1967

Dr Pawel Leszkowicz, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Queering the National Museums: the Polish Case: ARS HOMO EROTICA (queer archives in homophobic societies; queering the national museum of Poland, gay and lesbian and queer artistic histories)

Branden Wallace, Registrar, Leslie & Lohmann Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York (America’s only queer art museum and archives)

Bill Zewadski, USA (private collector and benefactor)

Michael Carnes & Robert Lavis – Tasmania – private collectors of ‘COME’ (Collection of Male Erotica)

Assoc. Prof. Andrew Gormon-Murray, Western Sydney University, Geography and Urban Studies (queer archives and loss in natural disasters)

Richard Perram AM, Director of BRAG and Curator of The Unflinching Gaze: photo media and the male figure

Peter McNeil Distinguished Professor in Design History, School of Design at UTS – Reading the Queer Trace in Visual Arts

Assoc. Prof MaryAnn Dever – UTS – FASS – Women & Queer Archives

Dr Christine Dean, contemporary artist and academic at UTS – trans perspectives

Gary Carsley, Senior Lecturer Art & Design at UNSW, internationally active artist, curator and cultural commentator – queer contemporary art practices



▪ UTS 16 October 10-11.30 am. Dr Pawel Leszkowicz

Photography of Same Sex Couples in Gay and Lesbian Rights Campaigns and Actions in Europe

(Gehry Building: contact peter.mcneil@ut.edu.au)


▪ MASTERCLASS FOR HDR candidates – UTS 17 October 2017 2 pm

please contact peter.mcneil@uts.edu.au for the pre-reading requirements – all welcome : Dr Pawel Leszkowicz Contemporary Art and Queer Archival Strategies in Central and Eastern Europe

Prominent art historian and activist Dr Pawel Leszkowicz, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, ‘queered’ the national museum of Poland and has written extensively in the area. He currently conducts research on the crisis of homophobia in Russia and Poland including the management of LGBTIQ archives and resources by private collectors and within private museums. This is his first visit to Sydney.

For Bathurst BRAG enquiries please contact the Gallery or Director Richard Perram AOM. For UTS enquiries please contact peter.mcneil@uts.edu.au

Spread the word. Share this post!