Each year, our Museums and Collections department offers six Awards of $2000 each to University of Melbourne students for small research projects to be completed in semester two and presented in December at Buxton Contemporary, on our Southbank campus. The Award requires each student to undertake a research-based minor project on works of art in The Russell and Mab Grimwade ‘Miegunyah’ Collection, in the University’s Art Collection. Applications close AUGUST 8, 2022.
Our 2021 Awardees included students from Architecture, Art History, Art Curatorship, Dance, Fine Arts, Geography and Law. Their research summaries and other creative outcomes can be viewed below.
Obscured Art Histories: Embracing Unknowns in the Miegunyah Collection
Bianca Kelly Arthur-Hull
Following an honours thesis exploring similar themes, Obscured Art Histories: Embracing Unknowns in the Miegunyah Collection explores how for Miegunyah, traditional art historical processes largely fall short. Such a collection of disparate, decorative art is not well received via traditional art historical processes of determining authorship and provenance, temporality and prestige. This project proposed that obfuscation—both a visual and theoretical idea—becomes an alternative art history better suited to understanding the value in art of this kind, and the Miegunyah collection altogether, by embracing the inherent secrecy and silence therein.
A History of the World in a Plate: From Japan to China, From Britain to Australia
In the Russell & Mab Grimwade ‘Miegunyah’ Collection, there is a Chinese Imari plate in a floral lotus pattern made by G.M & C.J Mason, an English pottery in Staffordshire. This presentation aims to demonstrate the story of this plate and to reveal the tangled connection between the object and its history through its aesthetic and cultural aspects. By demonstrating the fusion and development of the decorative style of its pattern from Japan to China and further to Britain and representing the material cultural connection between the Colonial Australia period and Britain, this presentation reconstructs the significant role and position of this plate in the ‘Miegunyah’ Collection.
Walk Through History: Interactive self-guided discovery walking tour of Melbourne based on selected works from the Miegunyah collection
Sarah Fang-Ning Lin
Based on selected photographs and prints from the Russell and Mab Grimwade ‘Miegunyah’ Collection, Walk Through History is a self-guided tour resource that invites individuals to discover the stories of Melbourne by following Sir Russell Grimwade to sites he visited a century ago. Along with the historical photographs and prints, relevant information and interactive activity ideas are provided for each point of interest. Built on Google Maps, this open-access project provides exciting opportunities for participants to investigate with their own eyes how the city of Melbourne has changed throughout the decades while engaging with the ‘Miegunyah’ Collection.
From 1851 to 1911, a grand Tudor Gothic edifice loomed over the city of Melbourne from the north. This ‘charitable’ institution was a home for the “aged, infirm, disabled and destitute,” predating any formal system of social welfare in the colonial city. Whilst this may seem at first a story worth celebrating, symbolic of Melbourne’s progressive underpinnings, behind the beautiful façade a darker reality was concealed. This project explores this chapter in our city’s social history, examining how the very appearance of architecture can mask a more sinister ideological function.
‘Tacitly Mab’ is a short performance created by Arabella Frahn-Starkie for the 2021 Miegunyah Student Project Award. ‘Tacitly Mab’ draws upon Mabel Grimwade’s distinct absence from the Grimwade Collection. Performer and Choreographer, Arabella Frahn-Starkie delves into the photographic archives left behind by the Grimwades, to see what tacit or kinaesthetic sense of Mabel could be gleaned from her photographic traces.
In(re)fractions explores Australia’s legal landscape, examining the tensions between Western and Indigenous law.