School of Geography Artist in Residence Program

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About

The Geography Artist in Residence (AiRG) Program is an innovative initiative of the School of Geography in association with Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne.

The AiRG works with researchers to rethink ways of exploring and expressing the geographical complexities inherent in the social and environmental challenges of the present and the future. Recognising that the arts have long played a major role interrogating human society and its relationship with the natural world, the program supports practicing visual artists in critical engagement with contemporary geographical concerns.

The program facilitates sustained dialogue between the artist and Australia’s most respected thinkers in the fields of physical and human geography, working to provoke new ways of thinking about cutting edge geographical ideas and generate discussion amongst a broad audience.

The AiRG participates in the everyday milieu of the school with opportunities to join researchers at their field sites and work at the coalface of their chosen geographical themes. The program challenges both artist and researchers to rethink conceptual understanding of wider geographic matters and culminates in a special event and exhibition of the artistic work produced.

Potter Museum of Art

Current Geography Artist in Residence

Linda Tegg

Linda Tegg is the inaugural School of Geography Artist in Residence. She works with photography, performance, video, and installation to investigate the contingent viewing conditions through which we orient ourselves in the world.

In doing so she operates within ecology and illusion – a world of images that form our idea of the natural and our interactions with others to produce work oscillating between the forensic and the romantic. This is undertaken through collaboration with non-human kinds and cultural institutions to reflect upon the impulses and methods used to draw others into the 'world-for-us'.

Linda Tegg in her studio

As the AiRG Linda has sought to interrogate and integrate herself in the wide spectrum of Geographies examined at Melbourne, lingering on concepts that refract concerns regarding the doing of geography and the practices of looking. A key theme routinely probed by her work in progress is the notion of 'Sensing Climate'. This she has done through extensive academic interviews, fieldwork participation and the production of visual film work gathered during a visit to Timor-Leste with a field class.

Linda’s work has been extensively exhibited in Australia, Mexico, the United States, and Europe. Currently she is collaborating with Architects Barracco+Wright as Creative Directors of the Australian Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Biennale, Venice, 2018. Tegg was the Samstag Scholar of 2014 and the Georges Mora Foundation Fellow of 2012. Linda is Lecturer in Creative Practice at Deakin University.

Program details

Background and context

The arts have long played a major role in recording, interrogating and reflecting human society and its relationship with the natural world. They have acted as a medium for understanding, a catalyst for change, and a call to action.

The visual arts have the capacity to look beneath the surface of our everyday lives and engage the public in conversations about diverse contemporary challenges and visions for the future.

The discipline of geography also explores the relationship between humans, the environment and space. Geographic research speaks to broad public concerns about social justice, environmental change, and human interventions. Geographers can enhance their engagement beyond the traditional academic conversation by seeking out novel modes of communication.

The School of Geography at the University of Melbourne is host to the strongest geography program in Australia. Researchers and academics are world leaders in their field, critically grappling with some of the most pressing environmental, social and political challenges facing society. These challenges include climate change, biodiversity loss, indigenous rights and resource management, conflicts over resources, increased population mobility, managing our hydrological systems, growing urban inequality and rapid physical landscape change in an increasingly uncertain future.

Aims

The AiRG program aims to generate new and stimulating modes of communication about the work done in Geography and generate discussion amongst broader audiences.

The program will draw out the synergies between artistic practice and the intellectual work undertaken in the School of Geography on themes of nature, environment and place through visual narrative.

The artist will benefit from exposure to rich and cutting edge ideas about the environment and human relations and will be provided with opportunities to communicate complex concerns to a broader audience. The artist will benefit from engaged dialogue with some of Australia’s most respected and innovative thinkers in physical and human geography, and have opportunities to extend this geographical thinking in place through field trips in Australia and Asia. The residency also aims to expose the artist’s work to a broad public audience.

Format of residency

The 9-12 month residency will involve the artist working with a staff member or members to explore in depth themes of mutual interest related to the field of Geography. The artist and staff member/s will work collaboratively to explore the complexities of the identified issue through a geographical perspective. Together they will discuss the modes of artistic expression appropriate for communicating and generating discussion about these issues to broader audiences. Depending on available space and facilities, s/he will work on the project at the University.

The artist will workshop ideas with staff, document progress and attend seminars in the School of Geography on their work. A preliminary internal seminar will be held to enhance dialogue between the artist and the School. It is expected the artist will also undertake their own research with staff support. Depending on the theme this may include a fieldwork trip with physical and human geography staff and students to China, New Zealand, East Timor or locations in rural and urban Australia.

We envisage that the residency will contribute to the generation and public exhibition of a major new work. We expect that by the end of the residency this work-in-progress will be showcased in a public seminar in which the artist explores key ideas and practices arising from the residency together with staff from the School of Geography. Media engagement and attendance at public events to reflect upon the AiRG experience will occur over the course of residency.

Specific obligations and milestones

The AiRG will participate in the following events.

  • Workshop: to develop and enhance the internal dialogue within the School and with the artist(s)
  • Internal seminar
  • Public seminar
  • Media engagement and/or public event reflection on the AiRG experience
  • A publication outlining the artist’s project and the geographical perspective

Because the development of effective communication strategies to engage artistic audiences is central to the AiRG, the artist will also during the residency participate in:

  • Launch of AiRG event
  • Blog and/or Instagram during residency to communicate progress/process
  • Propose and generate processes that facilitate the publication of the artistic work for non-experts

Time

The residency runs for 9-12 months

Resources

The artist in residence receives:

  • Agreed artist’s fee
  • Field trip costs (travel and accommodation) and/or funding for mutually agreed materials and communication
  • Project management for the AiRG
  • Assistance in collaboration with staff
  • Workspace
  • Assistance in the development of a publication to showcase the residency

Applications

The School of Geography in association with the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne seeks applicants for its Artist in Residency Program commencing May/June 2018.

We seek a practicing visual artist to interrogate and explore themes researched in the School of Geography. The successful candidate will engage with cutting edge geographical ideas and explore contemporary social and environmental processes.

S/he should be able to create new modes of communication about the work done in Geography and generate discussion amongst broader audiences. A goal of the residency is to contribute to the generation and public exhibition of a major new work.

The artist will benefit from sustained dialogue with some of Australia’s most respected and innovative thinkers in physical and human geography, and have opportunities to extend their artistic thinking in place through field trips in Australia and Asia.

The AiRG is for approximately 9-12 months and the artist will receive:

  • An artist fee
  • Workshop space
  • Materials and communication costs
  • Field trip costs and organisation (if applicable)
  • Opportunities for media engagement, public seminars and exhibition of work

Applications are now open and will close on 22 April.

Find out more about the selection criteria and how to apply.

Please contact Alexander Cullen for enquiries: cullena@unimelb.edu.au

FAQs

  • What are the field trips planned for 2018 in the School of Geography?

    The field trips for 2018 are planned units delivered by the school during which students usually complete research and use this to write their main essay for the unit. They are guided by the academics coordinating the field trip. These include trips to East Timor or China or several locations in Australia for approximately 2 weeks. Timelines for departure are approximate and not yet confirmed.

  • Can I use the financial allowances budgeted for fieldwork trips for my own arranged fieldwork?

    Generally no. Artists will be limited to the fieldwork trips arranged managed by the School of Geography.

  • Will the artist’s final exhibition be held at the Ian Potter Gallery?

    The Ian Potter Gallery will be helping facilitate artist engagement with academics, organising at least one of the artist seminar talks, distributing and discussing the work through their channels and helping organise the exhibition. However, the exhibition won’t be held at the Ian Potter Gallery itself. The exhibition gallery is yet to be determined but will be within Victoria. The timeline for this is the end of next year, but there is flexibility in this regard.

  • Can I submit a joint proposal for residency with an artistic partner or collective?

    While the program wouldn't prohibit collaboration with a partner, the program committee are focused on singular engagement with an artist. Multiple parties complicate the artist fee (and the requirements of seminar engagements, academic engagement and media interviews). Additionally, it is unfeasible for the field trips as there are finances available for only for 1 person to participate. If working in relationship with another artist is a key component of the AiRG project proposal it would be advisable to position one person as the primary artist who themselves will manage the relationship to their partner while clearly delineating in their proposal the exact nature and specifications of their input.

  • Do I have to be present the entire time of the residency or quit my other obligations to take up the AiRG? Do I have to undertake my artistic practice solely in a School of Geography workshop space?

    No, but a factor in deciding the strength of an application will be the capacity for engagement with the school. It is not expected that the successful applicant will solely be focusing on this project and certain times of the year may call for more frequent engagement than others; however, demonstrating a willingness to engage with the School and its researchers, as well as availability to attend the requisite seminars/workshops will be key to a successful AiRG.

  • Does the AiRG provide accommodation/housing for the duration of the program?

    No, housing or financial assistance for housing is not supplied and for this reason those located interstate or overseas would have to cover such costs as well as transportation.