The art of peace – Human rights, reconciliation and social justice

Discover how art, writing and film can bring to light some of the most important issues of our time.

Artwork by William Kelly
11 November 2015, 6:00pm7:30pm
LocationQueen's Hall
Accessibility Has wheelchair access

In this fascinating panel, hear some of Australia's most-celebrated creative minds discuss how they explore human rights, reconciliation and social justice through their artforms. Discover how art, writing and film can bring to light some of the most important issues of our time.


MC/Participating chair: Lyn Gallacher

Dr Lyn Gallacher is a features producer for ABC Radio National, where she currently produces programs for Earshot. Over the years her stories have won a variety of awards, including a European Union Award for Journalism 2010. She’s also been a State Library Creative Fellow, an Artist-in-residence at Bundanon, a judge for the Prime Minister’s Literary awards and a presenter at Writers’ Festivals around the country. Her current project is the biography of Melbourne’s iconic Discurio record store.

Deborah Cheetham AO

Deborah Cheetham AO is Associate Dean of Indigenous Development at the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne. Ms Cheetham is a Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, playwright, composer and educator. She has performed in theatres and concert halls throughout Australia, in the UK, the US and New Zealand. Her first major work was the critically acclaimed White Baptist Abba fan. In 2007 she was awarded a two-year fellowship from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, which allowed her to create Australia’s first Indigenous opera, Pecan summer. The following year, she began the process of bringing together Indigenous singers from around the nation for intensive classical vocal training in Melbourne, in preparation for the world premiere of Pecan summer in October 2010. The success of her opera led to the creation of the Short Black Opera Company, a national not-for-profit opera company devoted to the discovery and development of Indigenous opera singers. As the company's artistic director, Ms Cheetham has assisted many Indigenous singers to find their voice through the powerful medium of opera.

Paul Cox

Born in Holland and settled in Melbourne, Paul Cox is an auteur of international acclaim. He is one of the most prolific makers of films in Australia, with numerous features, shorts and documentaries to his name. He is the recipient of many special tributes and retrospectives at film festivals across the world, including a major retrospective at the Lincoln Centre in New York in 1992, and he is the subject of Alexander Bohr's 1997 documentary Ein Fremder In Der Welt.

William Kelly OAM

New York–born William Kelly OAM is a painter and printmaker, and 2014 Creative Fellow. His international reputation as an artist of conscience has been frequently acknowledged publicly, including the presentation to him of the 'Coat of Arms' of the city of Guernica, Spain. He is the only visual artist to receive an Australian Violence Prevention Award (presented by the Prime Minister and Heads of Australian Government), and is the first visual artist to receive the prestigious 'Courage of Conscience Award' from the Peace Abbey, Boston, USA (others include the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr, John Lennon, Muhammad Ali). He has represented Australia in the International United Nations Human Rights Print Portfolio and has recently been selected to represent Australia in the international print folio 'Dialogue Among Nations' organised by Art for Humanity, Durban, South Africa.

Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan is best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. The rabbits, The red tree, Tales from outer suburbia, Rules of summer and the acclaimed wordless novel The arrival have been widely translated and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, a concept artist for animated films including Pixar's WALL-E, and directed the Academy Award-winning short film The lost thing with Passion Pictures Australia. In 2011 he received the presitgious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, honouring his contribution to international children's literature.