Gender in Southeast Asian Art Histories 2019: Gender Research Network and Digital Platform Open Workshops: Art, Design and Canon-making

An international symposium hosted by the Power Institute, University of Sydney, Australia

18-19 October 2019

Proposals due 21 April 2019


Drawing upon the successes of the “Gender in Southeast Asian Art Histories” conference held at the University of Sydney in October 2017, this second iteration is designed as a two-tier yearlong series of workshops and panel discussions continuing the discussions on gender and sexual difference in the studies of art history and related fields, jointly hosted by Chulalongkorn University and University of Sydney.


The first, hosted by CommDe (Chulalongkorn University) in April 2019, will present workshops and panel discussions on how traditional connoisseurial practices of canonisation have shaped the disciplines of Southeast Asian art and design history, exploring ways in which such practices have obscured the contributions of practitioners as a consequence of their gender, with the aim to develop methodologies for addressing such imbalances. It further comprises an inaugural workshop and exhibition to examine archival materials belonging to the pioneering feminist venture ‘Womanifesto’ as a means to document, analyse and exhibit Southeast Asian women’s labour in art and art history. Please click here for more details.

WOMANIFESTO 1997 catalogue courtesy of Varsha Nair and Thai Art Archives.jpg


The second, hosted by Power Institute (University of Sydney) in October 2019, will present workshops and panel discussions that facilitate collaborative and innovative research projects using digital tools and methodologies to advance scholarship on aspects of gender in Southeast Asian art histories. It further comprises of presentations on using digital methods to re-think practices of canonisation in conventional modes of knowledge production namely women-centred texts and exhibitions. These will be undertaken with the aim of developing an online research platform to facilitate  a larger Southeast Asian Art and Gender Network.


Sydney Symposium Summary

Dates: 19-20 April 2019 (Bangkok, Chulalongkorn University); 18-19 Oct 2019 (Sydney, University of Sydney)

Organisers: Yvonne Low, Roger Nelson, and Clare Veal, in partnership with Juthamas Tangsantikul (Chulalongkorn University) and Catriona Moore (University of Sydney)

Supported by: Power Institute, University of Sydney, CommDe, Chulalongkorn University


This symposium aims to explore the development of a new and dynamic research platform for sharing resources and facilitating exchanges on the subject of gender in Southeast Asian art. As part of a two-tier yearlong discussion, the projects and workshops seek to continue and consolidate conversations that have emerged out from the 2017 conference and the workshops held at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok namely:

  • accounts of individual artists, collectives, and other practitioners whose work engages with gender;
  • investigations of gender in the exhibitionary, critical, and historiographical receptions of works of art, from any period;
  • considerations of the relationships between artists and/or works of art and larger Southeast Asian cultural constructs of gender, as enacted in political, economic, religious and other domains;
  • methodologies for undertaking and disseminating research that are informed by sexual difference.

By harnessing the potential of digital tools and methodologies in academic research and digital humanities, this symposium invites proposals addressing any of the above topics with the view of utilising the online research platform to conduct and carry out the proposed research. In view of past developments, this symposium will survey the state of scholarship and discuss future directions in gender and Southeast Asian art. This includes the outcomes of recent international gatherings organised by the convenors in Sydney and Bangkok, and from publications (such as the special gender issue of the journal Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia, vol 3 no 1 [March 2019]). The symposium organisers aspire to form a bridge between the established field of art history and the newly evolving field of digital humanities in the hope of providing a platform for the presentation of new research and for the rethinking of frameworks, approaches and methodologies in the writing of feminist and area art histories.


To participate in this symposium held on 18-19 October 2019 at the University of Sydney, please email a brief proposal and biographical statement. Proposals may take a variety of forms, including but not limited to: proposals for 20-minute conference-style papers discussing relevant new (academic, artistic, curatorial or other) research that entails the use of digital tools. Abstracts in English of approximately 500 words, as well as biographical statements of approximately 100 words, should be sent to by 21 April 2019, EOD. Detailed requirements for the proposal pitch will be provided upon acceptance of the abstract. Applicants seeking support for travel and accommodation expenses should also include a short statement of financial need.



Image: Womanifesto I 1997,