Graphic encounters conference

The conference will be held on Wednesday 7 November to Friday 9 November 2018. It will be presented by La Trobe's Department of Archaeology and History and the Centre for the Studies of the Inland. Though the conference is still a little while away, you can still  register your interest, this will ensure that you are notified of  important dates regarding the conference, closer to the event date.

Call for papers

We welcome proposals for presentations in a variety of formats and media, including standard paper presentations (typically 20 minutes) and thematic papers comprising several presenters.

Proposals for presentations/ papers/ panels should be no more than 200 words and must include your name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), postal address, phone number and email address, the title for your presentation/ panel and the presentation format (standard paper or thematic panel).

About the conference

Until the widespread use of photographic reproduction from the later nineteenth century, visual imagery of the colonial encounter was disseminated through printed means, including woodcuts, engravings, etchings and the newer technique of lithography.

In recent years considerable attention has been given to colonial photography depicting Indigenous Australians, yet relatively little has been undertaken into the earlier and formative archive of colonial-era prints of Indigenous Australians.

This conference will bring together scholars, curators, librarians, artists, collectors, dealers and anyone with an interest in print media and visual culture to explore the production, circulation, collection, publication and exhibition of prints of Indigenous peoples in transnational circuits of communication. While some academic papers will be presented, we're hoping to include a wide range of perspectives on this colonial visual archive at the conference.

Attention to the mobility of technologies, techniques and technicians along with traces of resistance and assertions of sovereignty are encouraged. We seek to interrogate how settlers inscribed ‘prospects for settlement’ and the ways they ‘put themselves in the picture’ of colonial incursion. The conference is interested to explore all aspects of racialized thought within the production and dissemination of the foundational and formative visual library of colonial prints.

The 2018 Graphic Encounters conference is joint hosted by the History program and the Centre for the Studies of the Inland at La Trobe University, providing a forum for a much needed examination of this overlooked archive of inscribed Indigenous peoples. The conference is designed to encourage reflection on Australian prints in transnational circuits, and those produced in prints workshops around the world and the impacts of these imaged meanings across disciplines. The movement of images and artists, printers, publishers and collectors through these ‘webs of empire’ through networks of dispersed yet intersected publics as they competed to lay claim to the New World will be showcased through the conference. It will focus on hundreds of well-known and still unknown and startling images, yielding new understandings about settler impressions of Aboriginality, race relations and their sense of place in New Holland/Australia.

Panels and papers are invited which address the following themes in historical/cultural perspectives and contemporary debates:

  • Sovereignty and resistance
  • Periphery and portrait
  • Technicians, techniques and technologies
  • Mobility and trade
  • Printing and publication
  • Collecting and exhibiting
  • Local and global connections

Confirmed speakers

Keynote Speakers

Greg Lehman (keynote speaker)

Greg Lehman is an independent scholar and curator based in Hobart, Australia. Previously an Indigenous Visiting Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra, Greg was also a Visiting Fellow at the Research School of Humanities and the Arts, 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. He received the 2016 AAANZ award for ‘Best Art Writing by an Indigenous Australian for his essay Benjamin Duterrau: the Art of Conciliation.

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’. He also has degrees in Life Sciences and Environmental Studies, and is a member of the Indigenous Advisory Committee of the National Museum of Australia.

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 books include ‘Eye Contact: Photographing Indigenous Australians’ (Duke, 2005) and ‘The Flash of Recognition: Photography and the emergence of Indigenous rights’ (NewSouth, 2012) which won the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards’ History Book Award. She edited Calling the Shots: Aboriginal Photographies (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2014) which brings together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal scholars to explore the Indigenous meanings of the photographic archive. Other major current research interests include anti-slavery in Australia, the role of magic lantern slides in shaping early visual culture, and the emotional narratives that created relationships across the British Empire. Photography, Humanitarianism, Empire was published by Bloomsbury in paperback in March 2017.


Dr Julie Gough, Artist, Curator and Writer

Gabrielle Baglione, Curator, Museum d'histoire naturelle

Mary McMahon, Postgraduate Research Student, Royal Holloway, University of London

Georgia Rouette, Principal Consultant, Cultural Matters

Dr Nicole Starbuck, Lecturer, History, School of Humanities, University of Adelaide

Dr Michael McCarthy, Australian Association for Maritime History

Professor Margaret Sankey, University of Sydney

Zoe Rimmer, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery


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