School of Humanities
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics
Catherine Speck Professor Emerita of Art History and Curatorship, and a member of the History Department, with a PhD in Visual Arts from Monash University and a Masters Degree in Art Education from the University of Canberra. Prior to joining the University of Adelaide in 2002, she was Head of Art History and Theory at the SA School of Art, University of South Australia. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities and on the editorial Board of the Design and Australia Online (DAAO).
- My Research
- Grants and Funding
- Professional Activities
My research areas are in Australian Art broadly conceived including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, and its borderless and transnational aspects such as expatriate artists including Australian impressionist artists in France in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, and colonial, modern, and contemporary Australian art. Other areas of research are in the areas of gender and art, and gender and the representation of war and peace; the nexus between art history and exhibitions, exhibitionary practice and curatorship, the history of exhibitions and art collectors and collections. I regularly deliver talks and papers on those areas within Australia and internationally.
Date Position Institution name 2002 - ongoing Professor Art History;Coordinator postgraduate programs in Art History & Curatorial and Museum Studies, University of Adelaide & Art Gallery of South Australia University of Adelaide
Awards and Achievements
Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount 2017 Fellowship Fellow, Academy of Humanities of Australia FAHA Academy of Humanities of Australia Australia -
Date Institution name Country Title 1996 Monash University Australia PhD 1986 University of Canberra Australia M.Ed 1977 Flinders University Australia BA(Hons) 1971 University of South Australia Australia Dip.T
Year Citation 2022 Speck, C. (2022). Pride of Place: Exploring the Grimwade Collection. AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES, 53(2), 363-364.
2022 Speck, C. (2022). 'How Japanese ceramicists have tested the limits of clay',
(theconversation.com). The Conversation.
2022 Speck, C. (2022). ‘The 2022 Adelaide Biennial is titled Free / State. It explores, freedom, the state and the spaces in between’. The Conversation. 2022 Speck, C. (2022). On a cold July, Adelaide comes to life with art of light, sound and music. The Conversation. 2022 Speck, C. (2022). Why you should know the exciting, experimental, political and feminist work of senior Indian artist Nalini Malani. The Conversation. 2021 Speck, C. (2021). Margaret Hutchinson Examines the Archives of the First World War Art Scheme. History Australia. 2021 Speck, C. (2021). Thunder Raining Poison. Humanities Australia, 12, 48-58-58. 2020 Speck, C. (2020). Thunder Raining Poison: The Lineage of Protest Against Mid-Century British Nuclear Bomb Tests in Central Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, Vol. 20(No. 1), 68-89. 2020 Speck, C. (2020). Vibrancy, Experimentation and Risk in ACE Open's Survey of South Australian Art.. The Conversation. 2019 Speck, C. M. (2019). Review of Jacqueline Milner and Catriona Moore (eds), 'Feminist Perspectives on Art: Contemporary Outtakes', (Routledge, 2018), and Maura Reilly, 'Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating', (Thames and Hudson, 2018). Australian and New Zealand Journl of Art, 19(2), 266-271. 2019 Speck, C. (2019). Women, Art and Wartime Industries: A Feminist Inter/
Modern Analysis,. Australian Feminist Studies,, 34(101), 1-14.
2018 Speck, C. M. (2018). Awakening: four lives in Art. Journal of Australian Studies, 42(1), 134-136.
2017 Speck, C., & Mendelssohn, J. (2017). The 1970s: Curators Framing the Avant-Garde in Writing and Rewriting Art History. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, 17(1), 97-112.
2015 Speck, C. (2015). Meditations on loss: Hilda Rix Nicholas's war. Artlink: Australian contemporary art quarterly, 35(1), 40-43. 2015 Speck, C. (2015). Rupert Bunny in Paris: playing the field. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, 15(1), 75-93.
2014 Speck, C. (2014). Dorrit Black: Unseen Forces, Art Gallery of South Australia, 14 June – 7 September 2014. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, 14(2), 214-216.
2014 Speck, C. (2014). L. Bernard Hall: The Man the Art World Forgot. JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN STUDIES, 38(2), 256-258.
2014 Speck, C., & Slade, L. (2014). Art history and exhibitions: same or different?. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, 14(2), 141-150.
2013 Speck, C. (2013). Wendy Sharpe: official war artist in East Timor. Artlink, 33(3), 66-67. 2013 Speck, C. (2013). The Samstag effect. Broadsheet, 42(2), 134-137. 2013 Speck, C. (2013). The frontier speaks back: two Australian artists working in Paris and London. Portal, 10(2), 1-16.
2013 Speck, C. (2013). Camouflage Australia: Art, Nature, Science and War. AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES, 44(1), 162-163.
2011 De Lorenzo, C., Mendelssohn, J., & Speck, C. (2011). 1968-2008: Curated exhibitions and Australian art history. Journal of Art Historiography, 2011(4), 1-15. 2010 Speck, C. (2010). Epstein in Australia: The Haywards lead the charge. The Sculpture Journal, 19(2), 228-234.
2009 Speck, C. (2009). Contesting Modernism. Flowers, Portraits, Gum Trees: My Father and Me. Hecate, 35(1-2), 108-123. 2009 Speck, C., & Downey, G. (2009). Cosmopolitanism and modernism: on writing a new Australian art history. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, 9(1/2), 101-118. 2007 Speck, C. (2007). Will Dyson: Australia's radical genius.. Australian Historical Studies, 38(129), 198-199. 2005 Speck, C. (2005). An inconvenient obsession: Ian North, Canberra Suite and Canberra Coda 1980-81. Eyeline, 57(Winter). 2005 Speck, C. (2005). Thinking about Talking our way home. Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia. Broadsheet, 34(4), 216-219. 2005 Speck, C. (2005). Public and Private Amateurs. Hecate's Australian Women's Book Review (Online Edition), 17(2). 2004 Speck, C. (2004). Nora Heysen: A tale of a daughter and her father. Australian Feminist Studies, 19(43), 55-73.
2004 Speck, C. (2004). Nora Heysen 1911 - 2003 : An Obituary. Art Monthly Australia, 167, 33-34. 2003 Speck, C. (2003). Light Black. Craft Culture. 2003 Speck, C. (2003). United notions. Craft Culture. 2002 Speck, C. (2002). Airport Luggage. Object. 2002 Speck, C. (2002). The ritual of tea. Object, 40, 87. 2002 Speck, C. (2002). Wild Nature. Craft Culture. 2002 Speck, C. (2002). Looking at looking: A critical perspective. Australian Art Education, 25(1), 51-53. 2001 Speck, C. (2001). Edith Cavell: Martyr or patriot?. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, 2(1), 83-98.
2001 Speck, C. (2001). Strangers in the Light. Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia. Broadsheet.
Year Citation 2019 Speck, C. (Ed.) (2019). Selected Letters of Hans Heysen and Nora Heysen (2nd edition ed.). Adelaide: Wakefield Press. 2018 Mendelssohn, J., De Lorenzo, C., Inglis, A., & Speck, C. (2018). Australian art exhibitions: opening our eyes. Port Melbourne, Vic.: Thames and Hudson. 2014 Speck, C. (2014). Beyond the battlefield: women artists of the two World Wars. London: Reaktion Books. 2011 Heysen, H., & Heysen, N. (2011). Heysen to Heysen: Selected Letters of Hans Heysen and Nora Heysen. C. Speck (Ed.), Canberra, ACT: National Library of Australia. 2004 Speck, C. (2004). Painting ghosts - Australian women artists in wartime. 11 Central Boulevard, Fishermans Bend, Vic 3207: Craftman's House.
Original Creative Works
Year Citation 2017 Authors: Speck C. Title: For country, for Nation. Description: N/A. Extent: 2160 words plus pictures. 2016 Authors: Speck C. Title: Nora Heysen & Constance Stokes: Drawings from the Estate. Description: N/A. Extent: 2 pages.
Year Citation 2019 Body, R. M. (2019). Behind the Scenes: Hans Heysen's Art World Networks. (PhD Thesis, University of Adelaide).
2014: Speck, Catherine, & Harley, R. et. al. Design and Art Australia Online Research Tool: Enabling Next generation e-research in Australia’s Visual and Design Cultures, ARC LIEF, $190,000
2011: Speck, C, & Harley, R. et. al. Design and Art Australia Online: Sustainable data sharing for Australian
researchers and collections, ARC LIEF, $240,000.
2011-2013: Speck, C, and Mendelssohn, J.; de Lorenzo, C and Inglis, A. ‘Australian Art exhibitions 1960 -2009’, ARC Linkage , $117,000.
2010: Speck, C. and and (V. Johnson, J Mendelssohn, R. Benjamin, C. DeLorenzo, et. al), Dictionary of Australian Artists On-line, ARC LIEF, $400,000
2007: Speck, C. and Choate, R. and (V. Johnson, J Mendelssohn, R. Benjamin, C. DeLorenzo, A. Marsh, D. Palmer, J. Ewington, et. al), Dictionary of Australian Artists On-line, ARC LIEF, $300,000.
1999-2001: (and Ian North and Rhonda Sharp) ARC Spirt Grant (Linkage), The Samstag Legacy, in conjunction with industry partner, the Samstag program, University of SA, 63,556
1996-9: (and Kay Lawrence) ARC Small Grant, Significant Women Artists in the South Australian School of Art 1888-1968, $39,000
2016: Speck, C. ‘Australian Art Exhibitions’, University of Adelaide, $2,500
2014: Speck, C. ‘Transgressive Landscapes, University of Adelaide, $3,000
2013: Speck, C. ‘Transgressive Landscapes, Fay Gale Centre for Research into Gender, University of Adelaide, $3,500
2012: Speck, C. and Treagus, M. Body work: Performativity, femininities and visual culture, Fay Gale Centre for Research into Gender, University of Adelaide $3,000.
2010: Speck, C and Mansfield, L. ‘Art history online’, University of Adelaide, $14,000
2009: Speck, C, Heysen to Heysen, National Library of Australia, $7,500.
2009: Speck, C, Overseas conference travel grant, University of Adelaide, $1,000
2009: Speck, C and Mansfield, L. ‘Creating a virtual gallery’, University of Adelaide, $20,000
2008: Speck, C. and Heruc, M ‘Jacob Epstein Symposium’ Arts SA, $5,000.
2008: Speck, C. University of Adelaide Teaching and Learning Grant, $14,000 University of Adelaide
2007: Speck, C. and Heruc, M. Visual Animals Project Grant, $3,000 office of Pro-Vice Chancellor Research,
2007: Speck, C, Overseas conference travel grant, University of Adelaide, $2,000
2002: Speck, C. ‘Painting Ghosts: Australian women artists in wartime’, University of Adelaide Minor University Research Grant, $2,075
2001-2: Defining nations: The Two World Wars through the eyes of women artists in Australia, Britain and New Zealand, ATN Grant, $14,998
2000-2001: (and Ian North and Noel Frankham) Opening Pandora’s Paintbox, University of SA, Division of EASS Grant, $55,000
2001: (and Ian North) Cultural complicity: The art of the stolen generation, University of SA, Division of EASS Small Grant, $5,400.
2000-01: (and Ian North) Spirituality and its discontents, University of SA, Division of EASS Small Grant, $1,500; and Helpmann Academy Grant, $4,500.
2000-01: (and Ian North) Margaret Preston’s Aboriginality, University of SA, Division of EASS Small Grant, $4,700.
2000: (and P. Zeplin) Humour and Art, University of SA, Divisional of EASS, $3,000.
2000-01: (and I. North) Where now: Contemporary Australian and Asian art in the New Millennium, Helpmann Academy Grant, $2,500.
2000: (and P. Zeplin) C. Riding the Indian Pacific, Helpmann Academy Grant, $4,998.
1999: (and Pam Zeplin and Barrie Wraith, NASA) $4,000, Helpmann Academy Grant for series of public lectures on Bringing the Asia-Pacific Triennial Down South.
1999: (and Pam Zeplin) $3,500, for series of public lectures on Art and Culture, Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design Fund, University of SA
1996: (and Jim Moss): $11,300: Teaching and Learning Grant, Visual Art History and Theory, University of SA
1995: (and Jude Adams): $5,000: Innovative Teaching Grant, University of SA Gender Inclusive Teaching in the South Australian Art School.
1993-94: $5,700: John Treloar Grant-in-Aid, the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australian Women War Artists.
1992: $1000: University of SA Research Committee, Sybil Craig, Melbourne Modernist.
1991: $6,194: University of SA Research Committee, The art of Official Women War Artists, Stella Bowen, Nora Heysen and Sybil Craig.
1989: $2,400: the SACAE Research Committee, The art of Nora Heysen.
1988: (and Jean Duruz and David Prideaux) $1,200: SACAE Research Committee, Gender Inclusive Curriculum Practice in South Australian Schools.
l987- 89: (and David Prideaux) $5,000: the Non-Government Schools Registration Board Grant, South Australian Education Department, Accelerated Christian Education Junior Primary Language Arts Curriculum, Primary Social Studies Curriculum, and Secondary Science Curriculum.
Modern Art (International)
Modern Australian Art
Interrogating Australian Colonial Art
Australian Indigenous Art
Curatorial and Museum Studies
Curatorial Exhibition Project
Dissertation/Research Project in Art History
Decorative Arts and Design
Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2021 Principal Supervisor Australian sculptor Ian Bow's career coincided with a transitional period in the discipline, however his figurative style is muted in the historiography. This project builds on contemporary scholarship which asserts the plurality of mid-century Modernism. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mrs Heather Elizabeth Lee
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2014 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Behind the Scenes: Hans Heysen's Art World Networks Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Ralph Mark Body 2013 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Alexander Schramm (1813-64) and the Visual Representation of Aboriginal People in Mid-Nineteenth Century Colonial Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Susan Woodburn 2012 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Post-Imperial perspectives: British art since 1940 at the Art Gallery of South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Margot Osborne 2012 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Investigating the Aesthetic Character of Australian Urban Indigenous Art: A Socio-Political Fusion Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Nerina Dunt 2006 - 2012 Principal Supervisor The Formation of the Japanese Art Collection at the Art Gallery of South Australia 1904-1940: Tangible Evidence of Bunmei Kaika Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Jennifer Harris 2002 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Changing Fortunes: The History of China Painting in South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mrs Avis Carol Smith
Date Role Membership Country 1992 - ongoing Member CACSA (Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia) Australia 1990 - ongoing Member Art Association of Australian and New Zealand (AAANZ) Australia 1975 - ongoing Member Australian Experimental Art Foundation -
Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country 2007 - ongoing Board Member Design and Art in Australia Online DAAO - Australia
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