For any of you unfamiliar with me, my name is Mark Ledbury and I’m the Director of the Power Institute. This year has perhaps been the very busiest year for Power since I arrived in Sydney, and we’ve had many busy ones! Our flagship lecture series, the
Keir Lectures on Art and the Sydney Asian Art Series brought brilliant and diverse minds to campus, sharing not only public talks but workshops, seminars, object study and much else with students and colleagues across Sydney. We have used our generous support from foundations in other ways too, expanding one of our briefs known as “Art Works: Interdisciplinary Innovation Hub” in an event off campus exploring Synaesthesia with expert scientific and artistic voices. Many of you might have heard the podcasts of the All in the Mind programmes that Lynne Malcolm, a guest that night, subsequently made with our colleagues and participants. If not you can catch them on the ABC site. We also participated in events celebrating the sheer beauty, and mystery, of the Dame a La Licorne tapestries on the occasion of their remarkable sojourn at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, we programmed an expert workshop on teaching with objects, brilliantly led by Mimi Hellman from Skidmore College, we convened our first plenary Site and Space in Southeast Asia workshop for our Getty Foundation Connecting Art Histories initiative in Singapore, which was also the occasion to launch the product of the previous, highly successful Getty initiative, a book, Ambitious Alignments which has now already gone to a second printing due to high demand. More can be heard from our Publications Manager, Marni Williams, here.


Internationally, from CAA Los Angeles, to Yangon, Singapore, Hue, Williamstown and Penang we have certainly taken our “Art in the World: International Collaborations” brief seriously, and seen the fruits of vital international collaborations. We’ve also addressed burning political and social questions with colleagues in Melbourne, Canberra and the Northern Territory in a moving, thought-provoking symposium on the Aboriginal Memorial at the National Gallery of Australia. We’ve been delighted to partner with the Australian Institute for Art History and our colleagues at the Art Gallery of NSW on a symposium on artists archives, entitled “Heat and Dust” and we have celebrated the great honour accorded to Virginia Spate AC, and 50 years of teaching in the Department of Art History, which, along with the Power Institute, was the great gift and brainchild of John Power.  And just this week we’re announcing the news of our Power Publications Award for Indigenous Art Writing which we’re delighted to have awarded to Cara Pinchbeck.


However gratifying it is to look back at the many successes of this year, and to recognize how many of them directly result from new and renewed support from foundations and individuals who continue to play a vital role in helping us grow and thrive, I must also use my introduction to express my deepest thanks to the remarkable team that has helped make this standout year possible. We are privileged to benefit from the ongoing and wise counsel and support of the inspired Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Annamarie Jagose, and the newly arrived Head of the School of Literature Art and Media, Professor Umberto Unsaldo, who ensure that Power works within thriving organizational frames and remind us that Power is part of a wider University enterprise; The Power Foundation Council, which has grown again this year, is a crucial resource for support and fundraising, advice and suggestions. I am so grateful to all the volunteers from beyond the University who constitute the council, and particularly to our ever supportive and wise Chair, Lynn Fern.


But I must here give a special thank you to the Power team, with whom I’m privileged to work day-to-day. I would be lost without the wisdom and good humour of Susan Thomas; we’ve all benefited enormously from the ideas, commitment and perspectives, as well as expert foodie knowledge, of Kate Ukleja, whom we welcomed as our Events and Programmes coordinator after the departure of Isabelle Hore-Thorburn for Berlin; Toby Fitch has been a brilliant and diligent assistant editor in Publications. However, I must especially thank the remarkable, highly talented Marni Williams, who has transformed and grown Power Publications, and whose year has been both remarkably busy and very successful – the AAANZ book award for No Idols has capped a truly exceptional year; and it pains me to have to say that we will be deprived of the inspiration, energy and commitment of Stephen Whiteman as deputy director of Power next year, as Stephen will be leaving the University to take up a highly prestigious post at the Courtauld Institute in London. I cannot find words adequately to thank Stephen for everything he’s done for Power, and for his humour, collegiality and commitment to the field. We do look forward to continuing to work with Stephen on Site and Space but also to developing potential new collaborations with the Courtauld Institute.


And it is to the future that I turn, in the last few sentences (I promise) of this introduction. The plans for the Chau Chak Wing Museum are now taking exciting and concrete shape on campus and we’re actively planning how Power will work with the Museums team and the Department to benefit teaching, engagement and research on collections and exhibitions. The Sydney College of the Arts will transition to Campus, too and that will bring a wonderful new set of opportunities to share knowledge and partnerships with the talented artists who make the heart of any great art school. And of course, we are looking forward to hosting a full complement of speakers and events, to hosting our first Terra Foundation Visiting Professor of First Nations Art, to welcoming new colleagues to the Department, including Peyvand Ferouzeh, expert in Islamic Art and Architecture, and to much else, including the launch of new books including our ambitious co-publication on the Bauhaus in Australia, and to the many other events that will enliven our field and enrich our community in 2019.


I hope that you’ll continue to support our events in 2019, and of course, if you are so minded, don’t forget that as a Foundation, the Power seeks and thrives on individual support and donations, and we’re always keen to hear from new supporters and friends – do contact me if you’d like to support us on


With my very best wishes,



Mark Ledbury
Director, Power Institute