July 21, 2015 - Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) - Civic Actions: Artists’ Practices Beyond the Museum
July 21, 2015

Civic Actions: Artists’ Practices Beyond the Museum

Civic Actions: Artists’ Practices Beyond the Museum
10–12 September 2015

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
140 George Street
The Rocks, Sydney, NSW 2000


A conference presented by C3West in association with Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) and Parramatta City Council.

Does a socially engaged practice inhibit artistic excellence? What is the curatorial role in front-end community consultation? What is the role of artists in urban and social planning processes?

Delving into these crucial questions, Civic Actions: Artists’ Practices Beyond the Museum focuses on the intersection of social and public projects, and the possibilities of art practice in public space. This conference is international in focus and features a diverse range of high-profile artists, curators, academics and cultural practitioners from Australia and around the world, all recognised as thought leaders in their field. 

Civic Actions represents an important moment for artists and arts professionals working in the region to come together to analyse and reflect upon their work, as well as share best practices and develop ideas for the future. 

Conference speakers include:
–Nato Thompson (Chief Curator, Creative Time, New York)
–Claire Doherty (Director, Situations, UK) (screen presentation)
–Hetti Perkins (curator and writer, Australia) (screen presentation)
–Michel Tuffery (artist, Aotearoa / New Zealand)
–Jun Yang (artist, Austria, Taiwan and Japan)
–Héctor Zamora (artist, Mexico and Brazil)

The full program, including detailed information on all speakers and sessions, will be released in early August. 

The dual strategies of social and public art practice have been employed in substantial projects in Australia and internationally for years. The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia’s (MCA) C3West program is an exemplary model within this field, having produced a dozen major projects across Greater Sydney in less than a decade. 

C3West continues its leadership role by bringing together its peers, national and international, in a context of collegiality, scholarship, debate and exchange. Featuring four keynote lectures, three panel discussions, and participatory workshops, the Civic Actions conference will highlight issues of art, urban planning, architecture and the cultural future of Sydney.

On 10 September, to launch the Conference, curator Nato Thompson will deliver the much-anticipated Lloyd Rees Lecture in the MCA’s Foundation Hall. Since January 2007, Thompson has organised major projects for Creative Time, one of New York’s most prestigious art organisations, including the annual Creative Time Summit, Kara Walker’s A Subtlety (2014), Jeremy Deller’s It is What it is (2009), and Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007). Previously, he worked as Curator at MASS MoCA, where he completed numerous large-scale exhibitions including The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004). His writings have appeared in many publications including BookForumFriezeArt Journal, and Art Forum

Thursday 10 September, 6–8pm
Lloyd Rees Lecture with Nato Thompson, Chief Curator, Creative Time
“Culture is the language of the Commons”
MCA Foundation Hall

Friday 11 September, 9am–5pm 
Conference day 1
MCA Veolia Lecture Theatre

Saturday 12 September, 9am–7pm 
Conference day 2—University of New England, Parramatta
After party at Parramatta Artists Studios

Book tickets here.

Conference organisers
Co-convenors: Anne Loxley (Senior Curator, C3West), Yael Filipovic (Public Engagement Manager, MCA) and Blair French (Director, Curatorial & Digital, MCA)
Administration: Peter Johnson (Assistant Curator, C3West) and Kirsty Mitchell (Assistant, C3West)

This project has been supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts-funding and advisory body.

Civic Actions: Artists' Practices Beyond the Museum at Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and University of New England, Parramatta
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
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