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The War, Art and Visual Culture symposium is presented as part of the Art in Conflict project by Curtin University, University of Melbourne, UNSW Art & Design and University of Manchester, in partnership with the Australian War Memorial and the SH Ervin Gallery (National Trust NSW), with the generous support of the Australian Research Council. 

War, Art and Visual Culture

An International Symposium on the Art and

Visual Culture of War, Conflict and Political Violence


Monday 25 February 2019

SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney, Australia




Prof Joanna Bourke, Birkbeck
London editor of
War and Art: A Visual History of Modern Conflict (2017)

Dr George Gittoes AM 
Sydney Peace Prize 2015, 
Bassel Shehadeh Award for Social Justice USA 2013


Today’s images of war and violent conflict are unlike those of the past – and the stakes are particularly high.  News images of attacks on major European cities are immediate and their presentation emotive, videos of ISIS beheadings or military strikes spark across the internet in seconds, and contemporary war artists reflect on these images, sometimes offering alternative perspectives on war and violence.  Artists and photojournalists are often embedded with troops, while others risk everything to work independently.  Some voices dominate, while others are excluded.  In recent years, then, the art and visual culture surrounding conflict is diverse and politically complex.  War, Art and Visual Culture is a symposium aimed at exploring these complexities and generating new knowledge in this growing field. 

The War, Art and Visual Culture symposium invites proposal submissions from artists, theorists, historians and researchers of war, art and visual culture. 

We invite abstract submissions for individual 20-minute papers, as well as proposals for panel discussions, and other modes of presentation.  We also invite graduate researchers, and particularly encourage interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and international submissions. 

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

• The conflicts and compromises of embedding artists, journalists and photographers with troops

• Historical perspectives on war, art and visual culture in comparison with today

• The ethics and aesthetics of aftermath photography and moving images

• The exclusion of other voices from the art and visual culture of war

• Uncovering the violence of image archives

• The politics of aesthetics in images of war and violence

• Differences in the approaches and work of official and non-official war artists

• The still and moving digital image in contemporary warfare

• Populism and nationalism in the art and visual culture of war and conflict


For papers and panel proposals, please submit an abstract of no more than 350 words, as well as a brief CV and 100-word biography (for each participant).  Deadline for submission is Monday 16 July 2018. 

Please direct submissions and questions to A/Prof Kit Messham-Muir at  Accepted participants will be notified in August 2018. 

Assoc Prof Kit Messham-Muir
Lead Investigator, Art in Conflict project
School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry
GPO Box U1987
Perth Western Australia 6845

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