A history of women-only art collectives and collaboration in Australia 1970-2010

dc.contributor.advisor Best, Susan en_US Mayhew, Louise en_US 2022-03-21T14:57:09Z 2022-03-21T14:57:09Z 2014 en_US
dc.description.abstract The history of women-only artistic collaboration in Australia is rich and diverse. However, it is largely unwritten. Its protagonists and their practices are missing from accounts of Australian art history for the twofold sins of being female and working in groups— twice removing them from the myth of the artist as a lone, male genius. As an original contribution to knowledge, this thesis writes the first history of women-only collective and collaborative art practices in Australia c.1970-2010. As a first history, via primary research and interviews, I record key facts including names, dates, locations and projects. In line with contemporary investigations of collaboration —outlined and reviewed in Chapter 1, —I study groups in terms of the motivations for, and implications of, collaboration. More specifically, I consider the reasons for, and consequences of, collaborating with other women. This thesis is structured chronologically. Each chapter is dedicated to one decade. In each chapter, group practices are discussed in light of their social, political and artistic context. Attention is paid to contemporary, and changing, attitudes to, and interpretations of, collectivism/collaboration and feminism/femininity. In each chapter, I ascertain the qualities and characteristics of group practice pertinent to that decade. Throughout this thesis, I discover a variety of group structures and authorship models, including large collectives, participatory and delegated practices, community art projects and long-term collaboration. I establish that women-only groups were deliberately formed, in light of feminism and separatism, and yet are also the result of friendships, sisterhood and coincidence. I explore practical and ideological reasons for collaborating, from the simple desire to share skills to an interest in forming anti-institutional enclaves. Finally, I determine the implications of collaboration, such as the enabling of confidence, authorial excess and anonymity. In doing this, I chart the movement of women artists, and concurrently, collaborative models, from the periphery of the Australian artworld to its very centre. This thesis concludes that despite being under-researched and under-recorded, women’s collaborative art practices have been present, vibrant and vital since the 1970s. Chronicling these practices is a significant step towards re-writing a more complete history of Australian art. en_US
dc.language English
dc.language.iso EN en_US
dc.publisher UNSW, Sydney en_US
dc.rights CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject.other Australian art en_US
dc.subject.other Collaboration en_US
dc.subject.other Collectives en_US
dc.subject.other Women artists en_US
dc.subject.other Feminist art en_US
dc.title A history of women-only art collectives and collaboration in Australia 1970-2010 en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dcterms.accessRights open access
dcterms.rightsHolder Mayhew, Louise
dspace.entity.type Publication en_US
unsw.relation.faculty Arts Design & Architecture
unsw.relation.originalPublicationAffiliation Mayhew, Louise, Art, College of Fine Arts, UNSW en_US
unsw.relation.originalPublicationAffiliation Best, Susan, College of Fine Arts, UNSW en_US School of Art and Design *
unsw.thesis.degreetype PhD Doctorate en_US
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