Graphic encounters conference

This conference on colonial-era prints of Indigenous people – from engravings to lithographs to etchings, etc – brought to light new understandings about racial difference and dispossession as visualised through the print medium and the often-confronting circumstances of these images' production, dissemination and publication.

It was held on Wednesday 7 November to Friday 9 November 2018. It was presented by La Trobe's Department of Archaeology and History and History and the Centre for the Studies of the Inland.


The Graphic Encounters conference program [PDF 1.004MB] is now available for download.

About the conference

The  Graphic Encounters conference was held on Wednesday 7 November to Friday 9 November 2018. It was presented by La Trobe's Department of Archaeology and History and the Centre for the Studies of the Inland. The conference provided a welcoming,  inclusive forum in which conversations were started, and in some cases continued, on prints depicting Aboriginal Australians. There are many, diverse people interested in this colonial visual archive within and beyond the academy - scholars, librarians, bibliophiles, art  historians, curators, artists, collectors, dealers, researchers,  descendants, community - and the conference was open to different approaches and formats in the presentations and panels. The conference prioritised Aboriginal perspectives on this colonial visual library and gave scope to the many different kinds of people interested and involved in this colonial print archive.

Confirmed speakers

Keynote Speakers

Jane Lydon (keynote speaker)

Professor Jane Lydon is the Wesfarmers Chair of Australian History at The University of Western Australia. Her research centres upon Australia’s colonial past and its legacies in the present. Her work in partnership with European museums and Aboriginal communities has produced a website portal that provides access to historical photograph collections at: Most recently she has co-edited (with Lyndall Ryan) Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre (NewSouth, 2018), and edited Visualising Human Rights [external link] (UWA Publishing, 2018) which examines the cultural impact of the framework of human rights through visual culture.

Greg Lehman (keynote speaker)

Greg Lehman is a descendant of the Trawulwuy people of north east Tasmania. His research and writing focuses on historical and contemporary Indigenous heritage and identity. Currently a McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Culture and Communications, University of Melbourne, Greg has held previous research posts at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, and the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, Australian National University, Canberra.

In 2012, Greg was awarded a Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Scholarship to complete a Masters in the History of Art and Visual Cultures at Balliol College, University of Oxford, where he researched the work of colonial artist Benjamin Duterrau. Greg recently completed a PhD at the University of Tasmania’s Academy of the Arts. His thesis is entitled ‘Regarding the Savage: visual representations of Tasmanian Aborigines in the nineteenth century’.

Greg received the 2016 AAANZ award for ‘Best Art Writing by an Indigenous Australian for his essay Benjamin Duterrau: the Art of Conciliation, and is currently curating the National Gallery of Australia’s touring exhibition The National Picture: the art of Tasmania’s Black War with Prof. Tim Bonyhady. He also has degrees in Life Sciences and Environmental Studies, and was a founding member of the Indigenous Advisory Committee of the National Museum of Australia.


  • Aunty Joy Murphy, Senior Wurundjeri Elder, will give the Welcome to Country greeting
  • Dr Julie Gough, Artist, Curator and Writer
  • Dr Susan Woodburn, Hon. Visiting Fellow, University of Adelaide
  • Micheal Kempson, Head of Printmaking and Director, Cicada Press
  • Dr Peter Dowling, Independent Researcher
  • Associate Professor Catherine De Lorenzo UNSW & Monash
  • Professor Catherine Speck, University of Adelaide
  • Professor Margaret Sankey, University of Sydney
  • Dr Vincent Alessi Senior Lecturer (Creative Arts), Visual Arts & Design, La Trobe University
  • Mary McMahon, Postgraduate Research Student, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Paige Gleeson, University of Tasmania
  • Rachel Joy, Visual artist and Independent Academic
  • Dr Liz Conor, Senior Researcher, La Trobe University
  • Sarah Johnson, Curator, Newcastle Art Gallery


University of Melbourne, PAR-Arts West North Wing-153 (Forum Theatre - Level 1)