Professor Catherine Speck

 Position Professor
 Org Unit Art History
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5746
 Location Floor/Room 3 13 ,  Napier ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Dr Catherine Speck is the coordinator of the innovative Art History Program offered jointly by the University of Adelaide and the Art Gallery of South Australia. The postgraduate program is the only one of its kind in Australia and is co-taught by University staff and Gallery curators and includes 'hands-on' session in the Gallery. Catherine teaches in many of the Graduate Diploma/MA subjects offered in the Art History program including European Art. Australian Art, Modern Art, British Art and Contemporary Art and she coordinates Japanese art, Southeast Asian art and Australian Indigenous art, although those latter three subjects are taught by specialists. She also supervises a range of coursework and research degree theses and coordinates the MA in Art History coursework program. Prior to taking up her current post, she was coordinator of the Art History and Theory Department and Research Degrees Coordinator at the SA School of Art, University of South Australia. In 1999 she was a Robert J. Hawke Research Fellow in the Hawke Institute, and in 1992-3 held a John Treloar Grant (Australian War Memorial). Other research grants include an ARC Spirt Grant, The Samstag Legacy (with Professor Ian North and Assoc. Professor Rhonda Sharp) in 1999-2001; and an ATN Grant, Defining Nations: Women as War Artists in Britain, Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Australia in 2001-3; and an ARC Small Grant, Significant women artists in the SA School of Art, (with Kay Lawrence) in 1996-9. Research areas include modern Australian art; landscape theory and representation; Australian art and Indigeneity; gender and the representation of war; and contemporary art criticism. She publishes in both scholarly and arts industry journals including The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, Art and Australia, Australian Feminist Studies, the Journal of Australian Studies, Object, Art Monthly On-line and Artlink. She is also currently Chair of Nexus Multicultural Arts Centre, serves on the SSABSA Visual Arts committee and is a member of the Adelaide Critics Circle. Areas of Research

    Artists letters

    Australian artists in Paris and London: Belle Epoque, Edwardian and modern eras  

    Contemporary art criticism

    Cosmopolitanism, internationalism and the making of Australian art

    DAAO – Designers and Artists on-line (formerly Dictionary of Australian artists on-line)

    Expatriatism and the idea of national art histories

    Exhibionary complex, and Australian art exhibitions 1968-2009

    Jacob Epstein and modern sculpture

    Modern art: Australian and international 

    Representations of war and peace

    Surrealism in American art

  • Publications

    For a full listing of Catherine Speck's publications, please see attached document at the end of this listing Books

    Speck, C. Painting Ghosts: Australian Women Artists in the Two World Wars, Thames and Hudson/Craftsman House, 2004, 239pp.

    Speck, C. Heysen to Heysen, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2011, 351pp.

    1. Prideaux, D. and Speck, C. Accelerated Christian Education in South Australia: A Report for the Non-Government Schools Registration Board of South Australia, SA Education Department, South Australian CAE, 1989, 143pp (Speck 50%). Book Chapters / Book entries

    Speck, Catherine, ‘Women commemorating Anzac Day: an alternative tradition’, in Rentschler, R. and Hede, AM (ed.) Anzac Day in the New Millennium, Heidelberg Press, 2010 (forthcoming).

    Speck, C. ‘Nora Heysen: A German-Australian success story’, in Monthieth, P. (ed.), The German Presence in South Australia,  Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2009.

    Speck, C. The Australian War Museum, women artists and the national memory of the First World War’, in Crotty, M. (ed.) When the Soldiers Return, RMIT Informit, 2009, pp. 277-290.

    Speck, C. ‘Landscape and the memory of war’, in Anderson, Jaynie (ed), Crossing Cultures: Conflict, Migration and Convergence, Miegunyah Press, Melbourne, 2009, pp. 649-653.

    Articles in refereed journals

    Speck, C. and Downey, G. ‘Cosmopolitanism and modernism: on writing a new Australian art history’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, vol. 2009, no. 2, pp. 101-117.

    Speck, C. ‘Nora Heysen: a tale of a daughter and her father’, Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 19, no. 43, 2004, pp. 55-73.

    Book reviews in refereed journals

    Speck, C. Review of ‘Will Dyson: Australia’s Radical Genius by Ross McMullin (Scribe, Melbourne, 2006), Australian Historical Studies, vol. 38, no. 129, 2007. 

    Speck, Catherine, review of ‘Public and Private Amateurs, by Caroline Jordan (Melbourne University Press, 2005), Hecate: Australian Women’s Book Review, vol. 17, no. 2, 2005, http:

    Speck, C. Review of ‘Edith Collier: Her life and work’, 1885-1964, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, vol 1, no 2, 2000, pp.229-235.

    Visual arts industry articles

    Speck, Catherine, ‘Thinking about Talking our way home’, Contemporary Visual Arts and Culture Broadsheet, vol. 34, no. 4, 2005, pp. 216-219.

    Speck, Catherine,  ‘An Inconvenient Obsession: Ian North, Canberra Suite and Canberra Coda 1980-81’, Photofile, 2005.

    Catalogue Essays

    Speck, C. ‘Here I am. Here I am’,  in Siamak Fallah: az zaban-e modari: lάbaik lábaik (no.1), Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, 2009. 

    Speck, C. ‘Union Street’  in Greg Geraghty, Greenaway Gallery, Adelaide, 2006. 

    Refereed conference papers
    Speck. C. 'Scars, wounds and memories: women artists portraying the First World Wars remnant landscape', Art Association of Australia and New Zealand National Conference, National Gallery of Australia, December 2003. Speck, C. 'Margaret Preston's monotypes: Looking through the landscape', Art Association of Australia and New Zealand National Conference, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, December 2002. Conference papers
    Speck, C. 'Scars, wounds and memories', Trev Fest: Invited Papers in Honour of Trevor Wilson, the University of Adelaide, November 2003 Speck, C. and Santich, B. 'Gastonomy and Art History: Innovative approaches to learning', 1st National Quality Postgraduate Coursework Conference, University of Adelaide, July 2003. Work-in-progress
    Speck, C. Transgressive Landscapes: Women in the Wartime Landscape, book under preparation

  • Professional Associations

    Research Grants

    1. 2009: Speck, C . and Mansfield, L. Creating a Virtual Gallery, University of Adelaide Teaching and Learning Grant, $20,000. 
    2. 2009, Speck, C.  AAH Manchester: Almost French: Expatriate artists University of Adelaide Overseas Conference Travel Grant , $1,000. 
    3. 2008: Speck, C. and Heruc, M. Jacob Epstein Symposium, Arts SA, $5,000.
    4. 2008: Speck, C . Art History on-line, University of Adelaide Teaching and Learning Grant, $14,000. 
    5. 2007: Speck, C. and Choate, R.  and (V. Johnson, J Mendelssohn, R. Benjamin, C. DeLorenzo, A. Marsh, D. Palmer, J. Ewington, et. al), Dictionary of Australian Artists On-line, - University of UNSW, ARC LIEF,  $300,000.
    6. 2007, Speck, C.  Matter, Materiality and Representation: Sybil Craig and Edna Reindel, University of Adelaide Overseas Conference Travel Grant , $2,000. 
    7. 2007: Speck, C. and Heruc, M. Visual Animals Project Grant, $3,000 Office of Pro-Vice Chancellor Research
    8. 2002: Speck, C. Painting Ghosts: Australian women artists in wartime, University of Adelaide Minor University Research Grant, $2,075
    9. 2001-2: Defining nations: The Two World Wars through the eyes of women artists in Australia, Britain and New Zealand, ATN Grant, $14,998
    10. 2000-2001: (and Ian North and Noel Frankham) Opening Pandora’s Paintbox, University of SA Division of EASS Grant, $55,000


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Entry last updated: Thursday, 9 Aug 2018

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