Awkward Objects

Bernadette Knight

Sydney College for the Arts presents Awkward Objects, a one day symposium addressing the processes and consequences of making objects, which challenge perceived boundaries of aesthetics, functionality and subject matter in disciplines that are often considered or expected to be ‘palatable’. Awkward Objects will be held at SCA on Friday 14 August, 9.30am to 6pm.

The symposium presentations consider a range of means of treading those boundaries and will therefore act as a provocation as well as a means of analysis and examination. The terrain of the body and therefore the objects that relate to the body, lend themselves to this discourse.

Guest Speakers: Dr Damian Skinner, Dr Kevin Murray and Margaret West.

Proposals in the form of a 200 word abstract and a 100 word biographical statement are invited from post-graduate researchers whose work engages with the theme. You may wish to add up to 6 images of your work to your abstract.

All papers will be included in the Awkward Objects publication.

Selected papers will be published in CELSIUS, a new online journal refereed by the University of Sydney.

Awkward Objects accompanies a suite of exhibitions coinciding with Sydney Design 09. This program includes: Unwearable, a survey of jewellery by Munich-based artist Lisa Walker; Unbearable SCA’s annual Utility exhibition, foregrounding work of students from the glass, jewellery and ceramics studios; and Untouchable, works by staff from the Object Studios.

The exhibitions, Unwearable and Unbearable, bring to light recent tendencies in object-based work to challenge perceived conventions attributed to these disciplines through tradition or history. While this is in itself not a new occurrence, the manner in which this is happening is changing and therefore demands new attention.

Unwearable, through the jewellery of Lisa Walker, articulates a particular view of a change in perspective that can evolve in the development of an artist’s visual language. It illustrates how shifts in physical location, for example, can allow inherited or adopted understandings to be replaced by more radical perspectives, which may be considered not palatable in conventional understandings. A confrontation with challenging work of this nature requires different ways of negotiating our own understandings and consequent reactions, and accordingly different ways to articulate these ideas. The speakers at this forum will present a context for this to take place.

Deadline for abstracts: 29 June 2009
Successful submission notified: 7 July 2009
Symposium Convenor: Dr Karin Findeis, Studio Chair, Jewellery & Object.
Symposium time and date: 9.30am to 6pm, Friday 14 August 2009.
Attendance only (Full Price): $20
Student concession: $10 (please include photocopy of student ID with application form)

Abstracts and biographical statements must be sent to for the attention of Dr Kain Findeis no later than 29 June 2009.

Registration is required. Please email for a copy of the registration form.

Image: Bernadette Knight, Palimpsest, Finger Quills 316 Stainless steel. Flesh and Scriber: Gretchen Riordan. Maker and Photographer: Bernadette Knight, 2008.