Organized by the Power Institute, University of Sydney, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.


Friday 29 November, 2013 | University of Sydney
Saturday 30 November, 2013 | Art Gallery of New South Wales


The Power Institute in partnership with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, is proud to present Tilting the World: Histories of Modern and Contemporary Asian Art. Tilting the World is an ambitious symposium, which will bring to Sydney international experts and emerging scholars to discuss the past, present and future of Asian art. Collectively, this symposium asks: what is at stake in the study of modern and contemporary Asian art cultures today, particularly as we head into what is being styled “the Asian Century”?

This significant event has been organised to honour the career of Professor John Clark, who retires this year from the department. For over twenty years Professor Clark has pioneered, and indeed shaped, the field of modern and contemporary Asian art history. This has been achieved particularly through the production of influential, globally recognized reference texts such as Modern Asian Art (1998), and by his direct nurturing and encouragement of several generations of scholars and curators who are now at the forefront of this burgeoning field. True to this spirit, the symposium looks to the future, highlighting the vital current research being developed by early career scholars, both in Australia and from around the world, active as researchers, curators and critics. Tilting the World signals the belief that new approaches to these vital aspects of Asian cultural histories are central to understanding our world.

Reflecting an understanding of the cultural richness and complexity of Asian modernities, the symposium features cross-disciplinary approaches, encompassing art history, sociology, anthropology, media and visual cultural studies, which highlight the layered richness of cultural experience within, between and beyond nations. Keynote speakers who have worked with Professor Clark over the years have been invited to indicate the breadth of his research legacy. Tilting the World is a free event, and a full list of speakers including keynote, can be found below. A selection of papers will also be published after the symposium as a peer-reviewed volume by Power Publications.


Please download the program with abstracts here

The symposium was proudly presented by the Power Institute in partnership with the Art Gallery of NSW.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of Sabrina Snow and the Japan Foundation for this event.

Image (detail): Wadachi Tomo-o, Self-portrait with Spectacles, 1923, oil on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama.


The Bernard Smith Symposium


Thursday 20 – Friday 21 September, 2012 | Australian Institute of Art History, University of Melbourne
Friday 9 – Saturday 10 November, 2012 | Power Institute, University of Sydney and Art Gallery of New South Wales


Bernard Smith could be said to have established Australian Art History. His work was seminal for histories of Pacific encounter and he also was also author to some of the country’s most eloquent memoirs. The Symposium brought together an international field of scholars from art history, anthropology, history and literature, as well as curators and writers, to discuss all aspects of Bernard Smith’s wide-ranging work and explore and assess its impact and legacy.

The symposium has now concluded after an extremely successful two days in Melbourne and Sydney respectively. The Power Institute thanks all speakers, attendees and partners for their participation in the event. A selection of images from the symposium in Sydney on Friday 9 November, can be viewed at our image gallery here.


The full program including abstracts can be downloaded here:


The symposium was proudly presented by the Power Institute and the University of Sydney in partnership with the University of Melbourne and the Art Gallery of NSW.

University of Melbourne
Art Gallery of NSW

Images of Bernard Smith courtesy of Kate Challis