New look at modernism

The international profile of Australian modernism research will be raised by a new centre at UNSW, led by Professor Julian Murphet.

Murphet inside

UNSW's new Centre for Modernism in Australia aims to raise the international profile of Australian modernism research.

Director Professor Julian Murphet said the Centre, a partner of the Centre for Modernist Studies at the University of Sussex, was established because of the growing popularity of modernism as a field of study in the humanities internationally.

"We need to continue researching and explaining modernist art and writing, which keep appearing, not as the dominant form they were 90 or so years ago, but as a vital minority current within Western contemporary culture, and arguably as the trend-setting movements in Latin America, China and Africa," said Professor Murphet.

"We need to keep alive the question of 'what was modernism?'"

Professor James Donald, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, said the Centre will draw together the research strengths of the humanities, the Faculty of Built Environment and the College of Fine Arts.

"Modernism is an area of research strength at UNSW with the potential for exciting collaborations with leading researchers internationally," he said.

Professor Murphet said the Centre aims to provide a benchmark for global Modernism studies in Australia and internationally.

"We are actively seeking relationships with industry partners, hoping to bring our expertise to bear on the ways modernist art and culture are performed, displayed, curated and enacted in the region," he said.

The Centre will host a major international conference, William Faulkner in the Media Ecology, in November as well as monthly seminars and postgraduate research workshops.

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