James Newitt
2009 Conference

During early 2007, as part of the biennial Ten Days on the Island Festival, James Newitt and Justy Phillips staged the exhibition component of their three-year project write/here. For ten days the artists occupied every advertising billboard space in Hobart – replacing existing advertisements with text phrases.

Each billboard revealed a single narrative text – a personal response to life in Hobart written by the public of Hobart, such as: students from Iran, Sudan and Sierra Leone; female inmates at Risdon Prison; clients at old-age nursing homes; college students; Aboriginal Elders; and anonymous submissions from general public through a number of writing workshops and a web forum.

write/here was published as a temporary public exhibition and through a project book. The intervention incorporated documentary strategies to create an artwork which is part community event, part temporary public art project and part media intervention. This paper will discuss the intentions, outcomes and processes behind the project and specifically reflect on the importance of its temporary nature within city

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About the author

James was born in Hobart, Tasmania in 1981, and in 2007 graduated with a PhD in fine arts from the University of Tasmania, School of Art. James’ exhibition history includes: Rosalux: Berlin based art office, Berlin, 2009; The Moorilla Scholarship exhibition, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, 2009; Handle With Care, 2008 Biennial of Australian Art; Monash University Faculty Gallery, Melbourne, 2008; Ten Days on the Island, Hobart, 2007; Sherman Galleries, Sydney 2007; Next Wave Festival, Melbourne, 2006; the Perth Institute for Contemporary Art, 2003; the Devonport Regional Gallery, 2004 and 2006; the Carnegie Gallery, Hobart, 2007; the Long Gallery, Hobart, 2004 and 2006; the Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart, 2003 and 2004; and INFLIGHT art, Hobart, 2005.

James has received state and national funding grants for individual and collaborative projects. In 2008 he undertook a 3-month studio residency at the Australia Council for the Arts, Los Angeles studio. In 2009 he was awarded the Qantas Foundation, Encouragement of Contemporary Art Award and in 2006 the Tasmanian Artist Prize for the City of Devonport, Art Prize. James lectures in visual communication at the Tasmanian School of Art, and was a founding member and past director of INFLIGHT art.