2020 Conference

ACUADS 2020 Conference
Crisis & Resilience: art and design looks ahead

In response to COVID-19 government restrictions, the conference was held in November across four evening Zoom sessions:

5th November, 6.00pm – 8.00pm (AEDT)
12th November, 6.00pm – 8.00pm (AEDT)
19th November, 6.00pm – 8.00pm (AEDT)
26th November, 6.00pm – 8.00pm (AEDT)

Co-hosted by: The National Art School; Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney; Art & Design, UNSW Sydney; and UTS School of Design.

Conference contact: acuads2020@nas.edu.au

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the devastation of recent Australian bushfires, the 2020 ACUADS Conference explored the theme of crisis and resilience.

With the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic yet to be realised and a recent Australian defence report warning of Australia’s vulnerabilities to overlapping ‘crises as diverse as cyberwar, climate-induced catastrophe and a pandemic,’ is our sector prepared for an unpredictable future?

In this time of unprecedented global uncertainty, what can be learned from the impacts of recent overlapping crises? Furthermore, how might strategies developed insulate the student and academy of the future? As we begin to assume the ‘new normal,’ how do we discard practices that no longer serve us? And, how do we shape what has worked to build the optimism and resilience needed to flourish in our new paradigm?

The 2020 ACUADS Conference responds to four thematic prompts:

  • Building hope through collaborative practices
  • Studio practices reimagined
  • Together in tough times
  • Taking the learnings forward

Contributions from academics, postgraduate students, designers and artists that consider Crisis and Resilience in the context of contemporary art and design practice, including pedagogy, are welcomed.

In recognition of diverse forms of knowledge, presentation formats may include artist talks, performance, creative works etc as well as academic papers. All academic papers will undergo a double blind peer-review process after the conference event, for publication through the ACUADS website, unless authors nominate to not have their papers put through this process.

Note: The standard delivery time of 2020 ACUADS Conference presentations has been reduced to account for the wellbeing of session participants. Presentations will be timed to 15 minutes (2000 words for an academic paper).



Building hope through collaborative practices
5 November 2020

Co-ordinator: Jacqueline Gothe (Associate Professor, UTS School of Design)

  • Collaborating through crises.
  • The potential for composing or recomposing flourishing as social & cultural activity in times of emergency.
  • Hope: beyond optimism and agility, to evolving pedagogies for practice in art and design.

Studio practices reimagined
12 November 2020

Co-ordinator: Simon Cooper (Head of Studies, National Art School)

  • “Missing you already” Materiality: can art & design address the big issues with data alone?
  • Created a Simulated Photographic Studio. Merging public (open) tools with University (closed) tools to meet student expectations.
  • Distributed studio pedagogies – What does best practice studio teaching look like online? After the COVID crisis passes, what aspects of online delivery ought to be preserved?

Tougher in tough times
19 November 2020

Co-ordinator: Andrew Lavery (Director, Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney)

  • Connectedness, care, critique … signature pedagogies in the virtual art and design studio.
  • Taking the cry out of crisis. Creating serious fun and community.
  • Learning and collaboration in isolation and across distance.
  • Degree Shows without a physical location.

Taking the learnings forward
26 November 2020

Co-ordinator: Marie Sierra (Adjunct Professor, Art & Design, UNSW Sydney)

  • Interdisciplinary research and education has never been more important as we face multiple shared crises.
  • How can art intersect with other disciplines, industries and communities to help, and what are the unique contributions only artists can make?
  • If we can manage the COVID crisis, can we face & manage ecological crisis – what role does & can art & design play?
  • Final Roundtable with ACUADS Exec about managing and mitigating the consequences of crisis, anticipating how to react to achieve optimal outcomes.


All the papers published here were subject to a process of double-blind peer review at both abstract (acceptance) and final paper stage (publication). Abstracts were revised and resubmitted following an initial stage of peer review. Final papers were reviewed by their authors subsequent to a further final stage of peer review. The papers were then subject to minor editing to ensure they are as free of errors as possible and that they consistently comply with the conference style guide.


Dominic Redfern (RMIT)
Live Materiality in Art and Craft
Julian Goddard (RMIT)
How to foster resilience in higher visual art education: Viewpoints from the students
Eileen Siddins (James Cook University), Professor Ryan Daniel (James Cook University), Professor Margaret Anne Carter (Australian College of Applied Psychology), Doctor Beryl Buckby (James Cook University)
Liveliness: Can sympoietic painting save forms of life?
Madeleine Kelly (Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney)