October 2019
Welcome to the latest issue of e-news from The University of Melbourne Museums and Collections. This electronic newsletter is circulated each month and provides information on current exhibitions, events and news items from the University’s museums and collections. For details of the individual collections explore the Museums and Collections website.


2019 International Museums and Collections Award recipient announced

We are pleased to announce that Ruby Kerrison, a Bachelor of Arts student majoring in Australian Indigenous Studies and Gender Studies was recently selected as the Melbourne recipient of this year’s  International Museums and Collections Award. Ruby is delighted to have been chosen for the prestigious Award and will commence her month-long placement at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom in early 2020. 

Based with the  Research  and Collections Unit, Ruby will work on a range of projects across several of University of Birmingham's museums and collections. Through the Award placement Ruby will have the opportunity to develop her professional skills in the key areas of curating, collection management and public programs. Further she will be exposed to different types of collections to gain a better understanding of how these collections are managed. In her studies Ruby has investigated the historical representation of gender and race, and is keen to explore these themes further in the curatorial practices within Birmingham's  museums. She is also interested in how museums can be democratic spaces that facilitate education and inspiring encounters. 

You will be able to follow Ruby's cultural adventures in Birmingham via her blog, which will be accessible on the Museums and Collections website from mid-January.

Image: University of Birmingham

History of Burnley gardens and campus on display

Meg Hibbert, a student enrolled in the Museums and Collection Projects Program has, with Jane Wilson, curated this exhibition The Roots of Burnley: Exploring a long history of significance to the Victorian community, designed to showcase the Burnley gardens and document the history of the Burnley campus of the University in the Victorian landscape. Meg has produced eight panels with historical photographs and documents illustrate the strong connection people had – and still have – with Burnley. The exhibition is a walk-through time from the beginnings of the campus as experimental gardens, to the modern University campus it is today. Meg’s curatorial project is one of many such projects enabling students to have hand-on experiences with collections within the Museums and Collections Projects Program.

Image: Stained glass window positioned above the doorway at the Principal’s Residence at the Burnley Horticultural College, until it was demolished in 1980. Burnley Campus Archives, University of Melbourne

University Art Collection acquires new work by Louis Buvelot

In 1876 the Swiss-born landscape artist Louis Buvelot spent time sketching around Bacchus Marsh. Upon his return to his Melbourne studio, he painted two views of Goodman’s Creek: one is held in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, while the other was recently acquired for the University Art Collection with funds provided by the Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund.

Similar to many of Buvelot’s tranquil pastoral scenes, the AGNSW painting shows a vista along the drying creek bed to distant cattle and sunlit trees. In the University’s new acquisition, however, Buvelot looks not along but directly at the creek bank, dividing the canvas sharply between the foreground barrier of rocks, earth and flood debris and the gum-topped paddock behind.

Throughout his life Sir Russell Grimwade was dedicated to the sustainable development of a native timber industry and advocated for a strategic approach to land-use. In an impassioned letter to the Argus newspaper in 1937, he wrote about the dangers of erosion and flooding, asking ‘Do Australians realise that the chief product of their forests is not the lovely timber that they yield, but water? … [W]e have a duty to leave our successors as good or a better land than we have enjoyed.’

Image: Louis Buvelot, Goodman’s Creek, Bacchus Marsh, 1876 [detail]. University Art Collection, University of Melbourne

University of Melbourne appoints Director, University Museums and Collections

Rose Hiscock has been appointed Director, University Museums and Collections at the University of Melbourne. This new role will provide guidance and coordination to the University’s museums and galleries to showcase the University’s great cultural collections. The University’s cultural infrastructure includes 15 galleries and museums, libraries, archives, major performing arts facilities including the Melbourne Theatre Company and the Union Theatre, and a significant art collection. Consolidating the four major galleries – the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the Buxton Contemporary in Southbank, the newly opened Old Quad gallery and Science Gallery Melbourne – under Rose’s leadership is the first step in the Cultural Commons, a program of work which plans to leverage the University’s cultural collections, including the performing arts, to increase their accessibility to students, scholars and to open them up to the broader community.

Rose Hiscock joined the University in 2016 as the inaugural Director of Science Gallery Melbourne. Part of the acclaimed Science Gallery International network and embedded in the University of Melbourne, the Gallery will open in 2020 as part of Melbourne Connect and be a dynamic new model for engaging young audiences with science. This new role will see an expansion of Rose’s current responsibilities – she will continue to have oversight of Science Gallery Melbourne and work with the directors of the Ian Potter Museum of Art and Buxton Contemporary to provide strategic leadership, and identify opportunities for scholarship and local and global engagement.

Image: Rose Hiscock


Prints, Printmaking and Philanthropy

Monday 30 September 2019 to Wednesday 2 October 2019
Forum Lecture Theatre, Room 153, Arts West (Building 148)

This symposium, Prints, Printmaking and Philanthropy, celebrates 50 years of The Harold Wright and The Sarah and William Holmes Scholarships by focusing on three broad themes – print exhibitions, print collections and print presses – and seeks to trace the influence of philanthropy in shaping Australasian print culture. In one of the largest gatherings of print scholars, curators, artists and printmakers ever seen in Australia, a range of topics will be addressed from historical and contemporary perspectives. These include: the complex links between Australia and Britain’s print networks, experimentation in ‘DIY’ print practices, local post-war print communities in Melbourne, examinations of the habits of print collectors, the latest in-depth research on eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century printed images and their provenance, as well as a major focus on the evolving role of the master-print workshop in an Australian context. More

Book now

Image: [Mr and Mrs Harold Wright at Sir Lionel Lindsay’s exhibition in London], 1946. University of Melbourne Archives

Artist in Conversation: Maree Clarke with Samantha Comte and Jefa Greenaway

Old Quad, Building 150, Parkville Campus
Tuesday 8 October, 6.00

Artist and curator, Maree Clarke, tells the story of water on the lands of the Kulin Nation through the exhibition Ancestral Memory. Curated to inaugurate the ceremonial reopening of Old Quad, this exhibition stands as a powerful demonstration of resilience for Indigenous Australians and Traditional Country.

Marking the end of Ancestral Memory, the artist reflects on the experience including an emphasis on creating a new commission in glass – and ways in which this new medium has shaped ongoing work. Maree will be in conversation with Samantha Comte, Ian Potter Museum of Art Curator and Exhibition Coordinator, and Jefa Greenaway, Director of Greenaway Architects.

Bookings essential

Image: Installation photography of Ancestral Memory exhibition, 2019. Photograph: Christian Capurro. Image © the artists

Inside Out

Inside Out is a year-long program that invites you to shift your experience of the Ian Potter Museum of Art by exploring the artistic opportunities that exist both inside and outside of our galleries.

Soon, the Potter Museum will be taking Inside Out to the Mornington Peninsula – because what better way to encourage a true connection with creativity than through art, wine and an idyllic setting. The intention? To give you the opportunity to engage with art and ideas outside of the usual context of the gallery space.

This spring, you’ll have the chance to celebrate food, wine and art via this unique hands-on workshop held at Montalto in Red Hill. The workshops will begin in Montalto’s Piazza and finish with a relaxed shared lunch, overlooking the estate’s impressive sculpture trail and vines.

Sunday 27 October 2019, 10.00am

Melbourne artist Minna Gilligan presents a collage workshop that invites you to go beyond just sticking images on paper. Using painting and collage techniques, you’ll be guided to create a work that unifies into a personal narrative or scene. As a starting point, participants will meditatively trawl through old books and magazines, choosing images that speak to them in some way. Together, these disparate images will then begin to form ideas for a mise en scène. The chosen images will be combined with the colour and texture of paint to form a background, mood or setting. Each participant will be encouraged to identify the intent or narrative in their work, a protagonist, or perhaps a more abstract outcome.


Image: Minna Gilligan

Exhibitions at The University of Melbourne

Ancestral Memory

Old Quad, to Friday 11 October 2019

The newly refurbished Old Quad is thrilled to inaugurate its Treasury gallery with the exhibition, Ancestral Memory, from Maree Clarke (Mutti Mutti/Wamba Wamba/Yorta Yorta/Boon Wurrung). A renowned cultural ‘revivifyer’, Clarke has been active in reclaiming the visual/material culture of her Ancestors and re-thinking this in line with her lived experiences as a contemporary southeast Australian Aboriginal artist.

Ancestral Memory tells the story of water on the lands of the Kulin Nation. Diving into the history of Old Quad’s location, the Kulin Nation cultural advisor Jefa Greenaway says, ‘[w]hat transpired from this research was that the story of water has always been and continues to be very important to this place. It is a story that traverses the campus.’

A central feature of the exhibition, Clarke’s dramatic glass eel trap shares both ancient and contemporary connections. Displayed alongside two woven eel traps, the distinctive patterns and methods of weaving connect these items to place; to a series of waterways running thick with eels and ancestral memory. Greenaway assures us that ‘[t]he eels continue to swim through the storm water pipes of the University. They rear their heads up in some of the ponds and storm water grates that exist on the campus.’

A powerful demonstration of resilience, Clarke’s Ancestral Memory launches the Old Quad into the next chapter while keeping a firm grasp on the past.

Image: Installation view of Ancestral Memory. Artist Maree Clarke. Photograph © Christian Capurro

Bauhaus Now!

Buxton Contemporary, to Saturday 20 October 2019  
Guest curated by Ann Stephen

In the year of its centenary, the Bauhaus returns to haunt our museums. How do contemporary artists re-imagine a relationship to this legendary school? Are they scavengers raiding the ruins of modernism, appropriators of ‘good design’ kitsch or acolytes of an unholy sect? Bauhaus Now! explores its legacy in Australia—both for contemporary artists and for art education—highlighting its visionary, collectivist ideals and its radical practices. More

Image: Peter D Cole, Elemental landscape 2009-19 (detail), enamel on brass, 52 parts, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist, © the artist

The Women’s: Carers, advocates and reformers

Medical History Museum, to Saturday 2 November 2019

The Women’s: Carers, advocates and reformers exhibition explores the work of The Royal Women’s Hospital through the contributions of many remarkable individuals; public education and health campaigns; the training of nurses, midwives, doctors and other health professionals; and public policy and research. It follows the institution from its modest East Melbourne origins to its location today in the Parkville medical precinct, while also presenting the stories and knowledge of the traditional owners. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue highlight items from the Women’s Historic and Archive collection, Medical History Museum collection and the Victorian Public Records Office.

The Women’s has played a critical role in the life of Melbourne since its beginnings. As historian Janet McCalman explains: 'The Royal Women’s Hospital opened in August 1856 as the Melbourne Lying-In Hospital and Infirmary for the Diseases Peculiar to Women and Children in a terrace house in Albert Street, East Melbourne. Melbourne was in the midst of a gold-rush that would bring half a million people through the colony in the decade. Women were abandoned, pregnant and destitute, while their husbands and erstwhile lovers tried their luck on the goldfields. The need for a charity lying-in hospital for women without homes was urgent.'

Image: Dr Kate Campbell (1899-1986) examining a premature baby in an isolette, 1974. Gift of Winifred Crick, Medical History Museum, University of Melbourne

Discover the Digital Archive

Old Quad, Monday 28 October to Friday 22 November 2019, 10.00am4.00pm weekdays

Old Quad presents Discover the Digital Archive, an exclusive installation which offers unprecedented access to the VCA Film and Television Digital Archive. This Archive is the first of its kind within the University of Melbourne’s Cultural Collections, making it an evolving and vital time-capsule, which up until now has remained closed to the public.

Developed thanks to The Digital Archive Project, the installation brings together work from Film and Television students dating back to 1966, including around 500 celluloid films and more than 1,200 magnetic. The Archive in its entirety is only available at Old Quad during this bespoke exhibition, making this experience a once-off opportunity for engagement and research. Audiences may browse the collection at their leisure or peruse a special 'Old Quad' playlist curated by passionate University of Melbourne film students and featuring range of significant works from different eras and genres.

Image: Still from Fitzroy: Coming Up For Air, 1970 (dir. Peter Dodds)

Horizon lines: The ambitions of a print collection   

Noel Shaw Gallery, Baillieu Library, to Sunday 8 December 2019

Horizon lines: The ambitions of a print collection focuses on Northern and Italian Renaissance printmakers, such as Albrecht Dürer, and Dutch Republic artists, including Rembrandt, as well as the British etching revival. The selected woodcuts, engravings and etchings present a variety of perspectives on the ambitions of the artists who created them, as well as their collectors and scholars. The exhibition is staged as one of several activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Harold Wright and Sarah and William Holmes scholarships. The awards enable print scholars from Australia and New Zealand to examine prints at the British Museum. Taking its cue from the approach of Harold Wright and inspiration behind the scholarships, this exhibition encourages considered looking for the acquisition of knowledge and sheer enjoyment of prints.

Image: Baccio Bandinelli, Apollo and Daphne, 1515. Baillieu Library Print Collection, University of Melbourne. Gift of Dr J. Orde Poynton 1959  

Be Brutal: Nicholas Harding Portraits

Burke Gallery, Trinity College, From Thursday 3 October 2019

In early 2017, 89-year-old doyen of Australian art John Olsen sat as a portrait subject for Nicholas Harding. The work was a finalist in the Archibald Prize that year. As Harding prepared to capture his visage, Olsen offered the younger artist some sage advice – ‘Be brutal!’

As Harding’s portrait of Olsen was being shown in the Archibald at the Art Gallery of NSW, a highly successful exhibition of Harding’s portrait works was on show at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Included among them was his most recent commission, a portrait of William Cowan AM, the latest acquisition to enter Trinity College’s own portrait collection.
Be Brutal: Nicholas Harding Portraits presents this Harding work from our own collection alongside a number of rarely seen works from the artist’s personal collection. More

Image: Nicolas Harding, William Cowan AM, 2017. Trinity College Portrait Collection

How it plays: Innovations in percussion

Grainger Museum, to Friday 20 December 2019

How it plays: Innovations in percussion is a collaborative exhibition and performance project including Grainger Museum, Federation Handbells (Museums Victoria/Creative Victoria), Speak Percussion, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music and the Melbourne School of Design.

The exhibition explores radical innovations in percussion, focussed on Melbourne, that have changed the way we can all hear and play music, ranging from Percy Grainger’s ‘tuneful percussion’ in the early twentieth century, to the present, with the Federation Handbells and the trailblazing organisation, Speak Percussion.

Image: J.C. Deagan (designer/maker), Percy Aldridge Grainger (designer/maker), Staff Bells, 1916. Grainger Museum Collection, University of Melbourne. Photograph Peter Casamento

The Roots of Burnley: Exploring a long history of significance to the Victorian community

Level 1, Main Administration Building, University of Melbourne Burnley Campus, from Monday 30 September 2019

The exhibition The Roots of Burnley: Exploring a long history of significance to the Victorian community offers an insight into the history of Burnley Gardens and the Burnley campus in the Victorian landscape. Eight panels with historical photographs and documents illustrate the strong connection people had – and still have – with Burnley.   

The exhibition is a walk through time from the beginnings of the campus as experimental gardens to today’s modern University campus. Opening in 1861, the Burnley site has continually adapted to cater to the needs of the community. With content primarily sourced from the archives collection, the exhibition not only reflects on this rich history, but provides an outlook on the future of the Burnley campus. Curated by Meg Hibbert and Jane Wilson.

Image: Perle des jardins glass slide, Burnley Campus Archives, University of Melbourne


Arts West, to Tuesday 1 October 2020

One of the most important anthropological collections in the world, the Donald Thomson Collection includes almost 7500 artefacts and 2000 biological specimens collected mainly on Cape York, Arnhem Land and from the Great Sandy Desert and the Gibson Desert of Western Australia, during the University of Melbourne anthropologist's 50-year career. Donald Thomson's ethnohistory collection is included in the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World register.

Professor Thomson's wife Dorita Thomson made a generous gift of the collection of objects into the care of the University of Melbourne. This, along with the photographs, film and field notes owned by the Thomson family, have been on long-term loan to Museums Victoria from the University and the Thomson family since 1973. The Thomson family's own collection is featured in the Awaken exhibition, including handwritten notes, postcards sent to his family and Professor Thomson's typewriter.

Image: Installation view of Awaken, Arts West, University of Melbourne

More exhibitions

For a full list of exhibitions and associated events at the University of Melbourne, visit the websites of the individual galleries and museums.

Ian Potter Museum of Art

Margaret Lawrence Gallery

George Paton Gallery

The Dax Centre

Science Gallery Melbourne

Burke Gallery, Trinity College

Buxton Contemporary

Old Quad

Image: Medical History Museum

University of Melbourne Collections

Issue 24 of the University of Melbourne Collections magazine is now available. Join the Friends of the Baillieu Library and receive two complimentary issues of the magazine annually.

In this issue read about the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Collection; the latest Medical History Museum exhibition on the Royal Women's Hospital; an indigenous carved emu egg from the University Art Collection; the Ernest Fooks Collection at the Architecture, Building and Planning Library and much more.


News from the Grainger Museum

Subscribe to the Grainger Museums e-News to receive monthly updates on exhibitions, events and news about the collections and activities.  

Read the September issue to find out about the Grainger's current exhibition, How it Plays: Innovations in Percussion

Image: Installation view of How it Plays: Innovations in Percussion
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