Practicing Resistance Symposium

29 March, 2014 | FREE EVENT

Presented in partnership with Curtin University’s School of Design and Art (SoDA).

Coinciding with Richard Bell’s Embassy and William Kentridge’s The Refusal of Time, this symposium explores the unique roles that artists can play as activists, in both analysing and re-routing the ongoing exercise of colonial power in the contemporary world. Speakers will discuss their practice or those artists who consider and challenge the interplay between history, memory, place and the body; the revival and maintenance of colonial power structures; and the relationship between aesthetics and activism. As well as exploring the political possibilities opened up by these cultural interventions, the symposium considers whether there are paradigms beyond the ‘postcolonial’ to describe the complex operations of power and its resistance in societies with colonial histories.

The symposium will also launch the catalogue for Richard Bell’s exhibition Embassy.

  • Welcome to Country & Introduction
    1 – 1.30pm

  • Part One – Lecture Trilogy: Activism in the Asia Pacific
    1.30 – 2.30pm

    With an introduction by Julian Goddard, visiting speakers Simon Soon (Kuala Lumpur/Sydney), Taloi Havini (Melbourne), Sumugan Sivanesan (Sydney) will each present a 20 minute lecture discussing aspects of culture and history often rendered invisible or unspeakable in colonial discourse.


  • Afternoon tea break
    2.30 – 3pm

  • Part Two – Panel Discussion: Memory and Resistance
    3 – 5pm

    This panel explores the role of activism and memory in artwork that interrogates and resists colonial ideologies in contemporary Australia.

    Chair: Leigh Robb

    Thea Costantino (Perth)
    Peter Farmer (Perth)
    Richard Bell (Brisbane)

  • Part Three – Activating the Embassy
    5 – 7pm

    Richard Bell leads the charge on what it means to practice resistance from the grounds of his Tent Embassy erected in the PICA Westend Gallery. Debate and discussion over refreshments.

  • Location

    PICA Performance Space & West End Gallery

  • Date & Time

    29 March, 1 – 7pm


    RSVP Essential: or 08 9228 6300