A Goldmine for Art: An Artists Residency Program in Historic Hill End, Australia

By:
Prof. Amanda Lawson
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Hill End (pop 102) is an old gold-mining town 300 kms west of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. Since its gold rush ‘glory days’ in the 1870s, the town has evolved as a heritage site, now integrated into primary school curricula and popular history tourism circuits. The contemporary positioning and interpretation of Hill End, however, has been significantly influenced by the involvement of artists with the site. Post WWII, Hill End became an artists’ colony and subject of a number of iconic modernist Australian paintings. Since the mid-1990s, contemporary artists have worked at the site through the impetus of the Hill End Artists in Residence Program. This paper considers the impact of the residency program through a discussion of the diverse engagements of contemporary artists with the gold rush and colonial heritage of Hill End, with the modernist art history of the site and with the living community of the village. It explores how how an artists residency program can provide a dynamic intervention in a remote, regional community; how contemporary art and artists can interact with issues of popular history and cultural myth to provide diverse interpretive frameworks for audience and community at Hill End; and some of the issues involved in developing and sustaining an artists residency program.


Keywords: Contemporary art, Modernist art, Colonial history, Heritage interperetation
Stream: Constructing Art Worlds
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Amanda Lawson

Acting Dean, Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong
Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Professor Amanda Lawson is the inaugural Head of the University of Wollongong’s School of Art and Design and Chair of the NSW Ministry for the Arts Visual Arts/Craft Committee. She gained a BA from the University of Edinburgh and first class honours from the University of Wollongong prior to completing a PhD at the University of Sydney in Australian Literature in 2002. From 1998 to 2003 Lawson was Director of Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and Manager of Cultural Services for Bathurst City Council, where she established the Hill End Artists in Residence program. She has worked in state and federal arts funding agencies, as CEO of non-profit arts organisations and as an independent arts consultant; and has held many board and committee appointments. Her current research focuses on creative programming and contemporary art, craft and audiences, particularly in a regional context.

Ref: A06P0589