Portraits and Place



19 July 2017

As part of the University of Sydney’s commitment to recognition of women in their careers, artist Celeste Chandler was commissioned to create portraits of two eminent Sydney Academic women to be hung in MacLaurin Hall at the University. The first of which, of Professor Nalini Joshi AO, was officially welcomed to MacLaurin Hall at our International Women’s Day event on 8 March this year.

The second portrait, of Professor Emerita Margaret Harris, will be officially welcomed to MacLaurin Hall at this event which will focus on the role of portraits and the impact they have within specific places, such as the historic MacLaurin Hall. This forum will also explore the shifts in assumptions, mindsets and ways of thinking that are required to achieve gender equality and how symbols, such as portraits may assist.

These topics will be discussed by our panel, including Professor Emerita Margaret Harris, Dr Ann Stephen, Dr Scott Hill and the artist Celeste Chandler and will be moderated by Associate Professor Jennifer Barrett, Director Culture Strategy. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence, will officially accept the portrait into the Hall.

  • Professor Emerita Margaret Harris, Acting Dean, Sydney College of the Arts. Margaret Harris is Challis Professor of English Literature Emerita at the University of Sydney, and a former member of the University Senate. Her principal area of research is Victorian fiction, especially the work of George Eliot and George Meredith, and she is the literary executor for the Australian twentieth-century novelist Christina Stead.
  • Dr Ann Stephen, Senior Curator University Art Gallery and Art Collections. Ann's curatorial career has been in public and university museums. She joined Sydney University Museums as the Senior Curator of the University Art Gallery in 2009, and has been responsible for the University Art Collection and developing the art exhibition and publication program. Ann has an established national and international publishing record in modernism and Conceptual art. She has been awarded several significant grants and prizes for her academic work and was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2009.
  • Celeste Chandler, Artist. Melbourne based, Tasmanian born painter Celeste Chandler completed a Masters degree in Fine Art at the University of Tasmania (2003) and a PhD at the Victorian College of the Arts (2014). She has held solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and been included in curated exhibitions throughout Australia. Celeste’s work is held in the collections of the Queensland Art Gallery, the University of Queensland Art Museum, Redcliff City Gallery, Maroondah Art Gallery and the Sunshine Coast Council.
  • Associate Professor Jennifer Barrett, (forum moderator) publishes on museums, culture, art, and the public sphere. Her current research examines museums and human rights. Since 2015 she has been Chair of the Board, Museums and Galleries NSW. Between 2000 and 2011 Jennifer was Director of Museum Studies, between 2010 and 2015 she was Pro Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. She is currently Director of the University’s Culture Strategy.
  • Dr Scott Hill is Portfolio Curator for Rouse Hill House, Elizabeth Farm and Meroogal with Sydney Living Museums. His particular interest is in colonial domestic architecture and design, and the interpretation of everyday life that is possible in house museums, ranging from the ephemeral to contemporary art interventions. He co-writes the award-winning SLM blog The Cook and the Curator. His ongoing research investigates the Macarthur family, and John Macarthur’s interest in architecture and design.