Dr Donna Brett
BA (Visual Arts) UniSA, MA (Art History) Sydney, PhD Sydney
A26 - R.C. Mills Building
The University of Sydney
Donna West Brett joined the art history department in 2014 after an extensive arts industry career. Her areas of expertise include the history and theory of photography, modernism, international contemporary art, cold war visual culture, curatorial and museological practice & theory. Curated exhibitions include Ann Shelton: In a Forest, Australian Centre for Photography, 2012 (co-curator), Joseph Beuys and the ‘Energy Plan’, University of Sydney, 2012 and The Stranger’s Eye, Peloton, 2010. She is author of Photography and Place: Seeing and Not Seeing Germany After 1945 (Routledge 2015); ‘Interventions in Seeing: GDR Surveillance, Camouflage & the Cold War Camera’, in Camouflage Cultures: the Art of Disappearance (University of Sydney Press, 2015); ‘Home and Homelessness: Ann Shelton’s Aesthetics of Displacement’ in Ann Shelton: Dark Matter (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki Gallery, 2016 forthcoming) and ‘Forgetting Ilse Bing’, in Kris Belden-Adams, ed. Photography and Failure: One Medium’s Entanglement with Flops, Underdogs, and Disappointments (Bloomsbury, 2016 forthcoming). Brett is also a member of the editorial committee & reviews editor for the Australian & NZ Journal of Art and Research Leader for the Photographic Cultures Research Group.
- History and theory of photography
- International contemporary art
- Cold war visual culture
- Postcolonial theory
- Curatorial and museological practice & theory
Teaching and supervision
- ARHT2662: Photography: Image and Document
- ARHT3662: Debating Photography
- ARHT 2614: Pollock to Psychedelia
- ARHT3614: Expand Your Mind: Debating Modernism
- ARHT5908: The Business of Art
Dr Brett supervises Honours or Masters students in the field of German art, contemporary art and photography.
- The Cold War camera
- Photography, Home and Exile in Cold War Germany
- Australian and NZ Journal of Art (ANZJA) editorial committee and reviews editor 2013-2016
- Co-Editor, ANZJA open issues 2014, 2015 & 2016
- Issue editor: ANZJA 2014 issue 1: ‘Abstract Expressionism: Action. Painting. Now’. Guest editor, Professor Roger Benjamin
- Australian & New Zealand Journal of Art, Editorial Committee and Reviews Editor, 2013 -
- AICA Australia, Association of International Art Critics, 2009 -
- Art Association of Australia and New Zealand
- AICA Australia, Association of International Art Critics
- Art Association of Art Historians, (AAH), Britain
- College Art Association, (CAA), USA
- Photography.Ontology.Symposium, convenor with the Photographic Cultures Research Group, 2–3 June 2016
- Together<>Apart, AAANZ annual conference, co-convenor with A/Professor Susan Best and Dr Ann Stephen, University of Sydney, National Art School and AGNSW, July 2012
Selected Conference Papers
- ‘Witnessing the Archive: The Stasi, Photography and Escape from the GDR’, Photography.Ontology symposium, University of Sydney, June 2016
- ‘Exile and Erasure: Forgetting Ilse Bing’, College Art Association, New York, February 2015
- ‘The Event Horizon’, with Ann Shelton, Contained Memory conference, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, NZ 9-11 Dec 2010
- ‘The Uncanny Return: Documenting Place in Post-war German Photography’, Framing Time and Place: Repeats and Returns in Photography, University of Plymouth, Plymouth UK, 15-17 Apr 2009
- Photography and Place: Seeing and Not Seeing Germany After 1945; Brett D; University of Sydney/Research Support Scheme.
- Exile and Erasure: Forgetting Ilse Bing; Brett D; University of Sydney/Faculty Research Incubator.
- Thomas Demand and Hitlers Photographer; Brett D; University of Sydney/Art History Article Submission Support Scheme.
- Career Development Scholarship; Brett D; Copyright Agency Cultural Fund/Creative Industries Career Fund.
- Travel Scholarship; Brett D; DAAD German Academic Exchange Service/Travel Scholarship.
- German Language Scholarship for Arts Professionals; Brett D; Goethe Institute Australia/German Language Scholarship for Arts Professionals.
Selected publications & creative works
Photography and Place: Seeing and Not Seeing Germany After 1945 (Routledge, 2016)