NAVA: in conversation is a fortnightly podcast series between artists, curators and organisations discussing the critical issues and ideas within our sector.

NAVA: in conversation
Elvis Richardson

Elvis Richardson with her work, 'The Artist Lifestyle' photographed by Esther Anatolitis.

Episode 23: Elvis Richardson in conversation with Esther Anatolitis

'Art thinks about the history and the future', Elvis Richardson.

For this episode, Esther Anatolitis is in conversation with artist and activist, Elvis Richardson. Founder of the Countess Report, Elvis has been exposing gender inequity in the arts since the blog launched in 2008, and subsequent 'counts' of gender imbalance in gallery and museum representation, media and opportunities. 

Elvis lives and works in Melbourne, and has an upcoming show at Kyneton Contemporary Art Triennial, and a new website for The Countess Report coming soon. Find out more about the Countess Report via their website.

21st Biennale of Sydney

Jun Yang Xīní / Xuělí Blue Room, 2018 (detail) installation and printed wallpaper

Installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney Courtesy the artist; Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna; Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou; and ShugoArts, Tokyo.

Presentation at the 21st Biennale of Sydney was made possible with generous assistance from Amanda Harkness and Karen Barrett; Mami Kataoka; Phileas; and the Austrian Federal Chancellery

Photograph: Document Photography


Episode 22: Mami Kataoka in conversation with Esther Anatolitis

'how different elements like fire, wood, water, metal, earth, the five fundamental elements of the universe is sitting in reciprocal relationship, so no one is stronger than the other, that one either kill or killed by others, and that's the how the whole universe keep changing and keeping that good balance with everything' Mami Kataoka.

For this episode, Esther Anatolitis is in conversation with Mami Kataoka, the Artistic Director of Superposition, the 21st Biennale of Sydney.

Esther and Mami discuss superposition and thermo-dynamic equilibrium, a concept drawn from quantum physics, and how it is applied to contemporary art systems and artists and the direction of this years Biennale.

21st Biennale of Sydney runs 16 March - 11 June 2018 in various locations around Sydney. 

More information via www.biennaleofsydney.art

Sydney Design Festival

Architecture as Agency. Image courtesy of Sydney Design Festival.

Episode 21: Sydney Design Festival - Call to Action

For this episode we are at MAAS, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences speaking about the upcoming Sydney Design Festival. Running from 2nd to 11th March, the festival hosts over 100 exhibitions, events, workshops and talks, both in the museum and through the public program partners in and around Sydney, including industry, universities and studios.

The theme for this year's festival is 'Call to Action'. The program's focus is around the role and responsibility of design in our world and the potential for design to solve complex global problems. International keynote speakers alongside local makers contribute to the dialogue of what design can offer our contemporary society.

We speak to Program Producer, Anne-Louise Dadak, about the curatorial approach, the key events and why the event is important in challenging, provoking and inspiring creative practitioners in Australia.

Information, ticketing and news about the festival can be found on the website.

Pippa Dickson

Dr. Pippa Dickson, chair of Design Tasmania. Photography by  Bruce Moyle Joffre Street Productions

Episode 20: Design in Tasmania with Pippa Dickson

For this episode we are speaking with Dr. Pippa Dickson. Pippa is the chair of Design Tasmania and an advocate for design, art and creativity in Australia. 

We speak to Pippa about the changing climate of design in Tasmania and Australia, and some of the key issues facing the sector in 2018. We discuss multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary creative practice, and her recommendations for developing design, design policy and creativity in Australia.

Girrawaa Arts Centre

Girrawaa Arts Centre, photo courtesy of CSNSW.

Episode 19: Girrawaa Arts Centre and art programs in corrective services

For this episode we are in Bathurst at the Girrawaa Arts Centre in Bathurst Correctional Facility. Girrawaa was established in 1998 as an initiative for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander inmates to connect with culture, develop their art practice and sell their work.

We speak to the centre Bryan Reiri about the value and role of art in corrections and one of the participants about his experience in the program. 

The Arts Centre is open to the public and works are available for purchase. More information is available via the Corrective Services website.

Thank you to Tasman Munro, social designer working with corrective services, and to Corrective Services NSW.

Richard Bell

Richard Bell, Larry, 2015, Digital still, courtesy the Artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane

Episode 18: Richard Bell in conversation with Esther Anatolitis

'If we want change, we gotta make it ... we need to participate' Richard Bell.

For this episode, artist and activist Richard Bell is in conversation with Esther Anatolitis about politics, social change, the role of art and the responsibility of artists. Richard is involved in the current Artspace show #52artists52actions, a digital project featuring an artist a week throughout 2018, each tackling an urgent political issue.

Follow @52artists52actions on instagram throughout the year.


Pipilotti Rist, A la belle étoile (Under The Sky), 2007, single-channel video installation onto the floor, Commissioned by Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, installation view, Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2017, courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Luhring Augustine © the artist, photo: Daniel Boud

Episode 17: Pipilotti Rist & family-friendly exhibitions

For this episode we speak with Susie Rugg, the Kids & Families Coordinator at the Museum of Contemporary art about the major summer exhibition, Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean.

Pipilotti's work is immersive, engaging and accessible and has been particularly successful in attracting and engaging children and families. The museum hosted a children's only preview opening, and is running 'Sundays with Pipilotti' an interactive space for children and families in the learning centre. We discuss the increasing role and importance of these family friendly exhibitions to the MCA and to museums and galleries throughout Australia.

For more information about the exhibition and the family programs, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art website.


Video still of "Pot luck dinner hosted by NSW-based ARI, Frontyard at Kickstart Arts, Hobart 2017". Image credit: Lucy Parakhina

Episode 16: Hobiennale 17 and Artist Run Initiatives

In this episode of NAVA: in conversation with are in Hobart for the inaugural Hobiennale 17. We speak with the two directors of the festival, Grace Herbert and Liam James as well as producer Alex Hullah, about why they developed the festival and about the role of artist-run spaces in Australia.

Hobiennale went for 10 days in November, with 18 ARI's from around Australia and new Zealand presenting and discussing works in unusual and re-contextualised urban spaces.

For more information about the festival and the participating organisations, visit the website.

Australian Design Centre

Australian Design Centre's Makers Market as part of Sydney Craft Week, October 2017. Photo by Simon Cardwell.

Episode 15: Sydney Craft Week with Australian Design Centre

For this episode we speak with Australian Design Centre about the state of the craft and design sector in Australia, and particularly the inaugural Sydney Craft Week that took place in October this year.

We speak with ADC’s CEO and Artistic Director Lisa Cahill and Creative Strategy Associate, Penny Craswell about the Design Centre's program of exhibitions, workshops and events celebrating craft in Sydney. We explore why craft and design are increasingly important in contemporary culture, and the future of the industry.

For more information, head to the website for Sydney Craft Week or the Australia Design Centre and stay tuned for the next Sydney Craft Week: 5–14 October 2018.

Bibi Barber
Bibi Barber, Artists in the Black, Arts Law Centre of Australia. Photography by Jamie James

Episode 14: Fake Art Harms Culture campaign and inquiry

In this episode, we discuss the Fake Art Harms Culture campaign.

The Fake Art campaign is being run by Arts Law, the Indigenous Art Code and Copyright Agency, to introduce policy to protect Indigenous artists against Fake Art being made and sold in Australia.

We speak with Gabrielle O'Sullivan, BiBi Barber and Judy Grady about why this campaign is so important and how artists and arts workers can get involved with the current Parliamentary Inquiry.

The Fake Art campaign suggests over 80% of Aboriginal products sold in Australia are not authentic – meaning they are not made by or credited to Australia's Indigenous peoples. It is important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people’s rights are protected and this means stopping the fake art and holding companies, individuals and dealers to more transparent and ethical processes.

We encourage artists and the sector to get behind this issue and make a submission ahead of the 3 November 2017 deadline.

This discussion was part of the NAVA Book Club, held during Artspace’s Volume Another Art Book Fair 2017.

Georgie Meagher

Georgie Meagher, CEO & Director of Next Wave Festival, photographed by Kailana Sommer.

Episode 13: Next Wave Festival with Georgie Meagher

This week we speak with Georgie Meagher, the CEO and Artistic Director of Next Wave Festival, a biennial arts festival based in Melbourne.

Georgie discusses leadership, the role of directors in organisations and the responsibility of curators to artists. We get an insight into the plans and challenges for Next Wave’s experimental new model of artistic development in Australia.

Next Wave have just announced an incredible list of artists for the 2018 festival, so keep up to date on their website.

Rabbaya & Hurmat

Rabbaya Nasser & Hurmat Ul Ain, 2017, Artspace.

Episode 12: Performance art in Pakistan

For this episode we speak with Rabbaya Nasser & Hurmat Ul Ain, two artists from Pakistan who are in Sydney presenting a live performance work as part of the Public Body .02 exhibition at Artspace in September.

Rabbaya & Hurmat are performance artists who have collaborated for several years, and work as artists, curators and educators in Pakistan and internationally. In this episode we discuss their collaborative practice, what we can expect from their work, and explore what it means to be a performance artist today. 

Read more about The Public Body .02 exhibition on the Artspace Website.

Kelli McCluskey & Sarah Rowbottam

Kelli McCluskey and Sarah Rowbottam, Proximity Festival Lab, December 2016 Photo: Loren Kronemyer

Episode 11: Proximity Festival

This episode is a conversation between Kelli McCluskey and Sarah Rowbottam, co-directors of Proximity Festival.

Proximity Festival is a Perth based performance festival featuring unique intimate experiences for audiences one at a time. Running from 26 September - 7 October, Proximity Festival hosts 9 artists in Cathedral Square in central Perth.

Kelli and Sarah discuss the premise of the festival, it's relationship to Perth and give insight into what we can expect from the upcoming festival.

Read more information about the program on the Proximity Festival website.

Sear Waters at ACE Open

Sera Waters, Domestic Arts (2017), exhibition view, ACE Open. Courtesy the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery. Photograph: Grant Hancock.

Episode 10: ACE Open

For this episode we speak with Liz Nowell, the CEO of ACE Open. Based in Adelaide, ACE Open is an exciting new model for independent contemporary art spaces. We chat with Liz about the vision, program and necessity of creating this new organisation to truly support artists and contemporary ideas. 

For more information about ACE Open 2017 program, head to their website: aceopen.art

ALL Conference

ALL Conference

Episode 9: ALL Conference

This episode we speak with four key members of ALL Conference. All Conference is a national organising network comprised of 15 artist-led, experimental and cross-disciplinary arts organisations. Representing a crucial stratum of the Australian arts ecology, All Conference members present diverse and innovative artistic programs which support the practices of living Australian artists. They connect these practices to diverse audiences via a passionate localism coupled with significant national and international peer-to-peer networks.

We speak with Lucie McIntosh from Blindside, Georgia Hutchison from Liquid Architecture, Channon Goodwin from Bus Projects and Rosemary Forde from un projects.

Find out more about ALL Conference via their website.

Taloi Havini

Habitat, 2017

Three-channel digital video installation, HD, colour, surround sound, 10'40

Courtesy of Taloi Havini and Andrew Baker Art Dealer

Originally commissioned by the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney) for The National

Installation view. Photo: Felicity Jenkins, AGNSW

Episode 8: The National, 2017, AGNSW

This is the final episode in a series exploring The National 2017 exhibition that was on show in Sydney, where we speak with featured artists and key curators of the exhibition at the various participating institutions.

This week we are at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and curator Anneke Jaspers is in conversation with exhibiting artist Taloi Havini about her video work 'Habitat', and the social and political context of the exhibition.

The exhibition is a presentation of new Australia art, curated across three of Sydney's premier cultural institutions - Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales and Carriageworks and features over 60 artists.
The National 2017 is the first instalment in a series of three, from 2017-2021. Find our more about the exhibition at The National website.

Wendy Whiteley

Portrait of Wendy Whiteley at the Brett Whiteley Studio. Photo: Felicity Jenkins, AGNSW

Episode 7: Wendy Whiteley

The new documentary feature, WHITELEY is a visual journey into the private life and creative legacy of Australia’s most iconic artist, Brett Whiteley, told 'in his own words' using personal letters, notebooks and photographs, interwoven with reconstructions, animations, archival interviews and rare footage.

NAVA's Penelope Benton met with Wendy Whiteley to chat about the challenges of being an artist in Australia and what it takes to make it internationally.

NAVA is proud to be an advocacy partner of the film Whiteley. Throughout this year we’ll be collaborating with the filmmakers in support of some of our mutual objectives: fair pay for artists, art education, art funding, national arts policy, and valuing artists in our community.

More information about the documentary here.

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, The Cave, 2017, Installation view, Carriageworks, Sydney. Photograph: Zan Wimberley. Image courtesy the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf.​

Episode 6: The National, 2017, Carriageworks

This is the second episode in a series exploring The National 2017 exhibition on show in Sydney. We speak with featured artists and key curators of the exhibition at the various participating institutions.

This week we are at the Carriageworks, and curator Nina Miall is in conversation with exhibiting artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran about his large scale installation work 'The Cave', and the curatorial premise behind the Carriageworks component of the exhibition.

The exhibition is a presentation of new Australia art, curated across three of Sydney's premier cultural institutions - Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales and Carriageworks and features over 60 artists. The National 2017 is the first instalment in a series of three, from 2017-2021. Find our more about the exhibition at The National website.

Stay tuned for the final instalment, as we speak with curator Anneke Jaspers at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Alex Gawronski, The National, MCA
Alex Gawronski, 'Overhead', Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney as part of The National 2017

Episode 5: The National 2017 at Museum of Contemporary Art

This is the first episode in a series exploring The National 2017 exhibition on show in Sydney. We speak with featured artists and key curators of the exhibition at the various participating institutions. This week we are at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and curator Blair French is in conversation with two of the exhibiting artists Zanny Begg and Alex Gawronski about their work.

The exhibition is a presentation of new Australia art, curated across three of Sydney's premier cultural institutions - Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales and Carriageworks and features over 60 artists. The National 2017 is the first instalment in a series of three, from 2017-2021.

As the exhibition comes to a close, we reflect on what it means to be a practicing artist in Australia, and what is 'National'. For more information about the exhibition, visit The National website. Please note, MCA exhibition wraps up on 18 June, Carriageworks on 25 June, and Art Gallery of NSW on 16 July.

Stay tuned for the next episode around The National, at Carriageworks.

Honor Eastly and the Starving Artist Podcast
Honor Eastly, founder and producer of the Starving Artist Podcast

Episode 4: Honor Eastly & the Starving Artist Podcast

For this episode of NAVA: in conversation, Melbourne-based artist and producer Audrey Hulm, (aka ADHOC) speak with Honor Eastly - founder and director of the very successful 'Starving Artist Podcast' Her podcast, released in April 2017, is an excellent series exploring the relationship between and challenges of art and business for emerging and established artists.

The conversation covers a range of challenges facing Honor in her work as an artist, producer and marketing director of her own creative practice, including social media, mental health and self care, collaboration and identity, and provides insight into establishing and dealing with success with projects.

You can listen to the episode below, and subscribe to NAVA: in conversation on iTunes, as well as subscribe to Honor's Starving Artist podcast via iTunes here.

Fluidity, The Women's Circus

Image courtesy of The Women's Circle, from 'Fluidity' by Penelope Bartlau & Chantal Wynter.

Episode 3: Gender Politics & Industrial Relations

In this instalment of NAVA: In Conversation, Melbourne-based artist and producer Audrey Hulm ( aka ADHOC) speaks with Devon Taylor, the Executive Director of The Women's Circus, a 26-year-old arts organisation with a strong legacy for fantastic community and artistic support programs for women. The Women's Circus is also a key player in the Arts West partnership, that harnesses a collective of Arts organisations to revitalise and celebrate their place in Footscray, Melbourne.

They touch on a broad range of subjects around Feminist legacy and gender politics, funding, and the increased pressure on the Australian Arts sector to provide advocacy and services to citizens, as health and welfare service providers face continued funding cuts.

Find out more about the Women's Circus, and ADHOC.

Mark Shorter and Sach Catts

Sach Catts & Mark Shorter, 'Chip Chop Chanty', 2017. Photograph courtesy of Alex Wisser.

Episode 2: Collaboration & Performance

For this episode we are on site with Mark Shorter and Sach Catts, at Cementa17. We listen into their conversation as they discuss their collaborative endurance performance work 'Chip Chop Chanty', the intention of the work and leaking water pipes.

Chip Chop Chanty invited the audience to watch and listen to the rhythms of labour, as the artist’s bodies were put to the test in a paddock, on a hill complementing, intervening and shifting the landscape.

This work was undertaken throughout the four days of the Cementa17 festival. It involved Mark digging a hole, and Sach, firstly felling a tree, then chopping it up for firewood, with both artists working from sunrise to sunset. At the completion of the festival, the hole was filled in, the wood distributed and the work finished.

In their conversation Mark and Sach, explore methods of collaboration and unpack the connections of work and labour both in practice and theory. They discuss and interrogate the concept of purpose, logistics, politics, and what it means to dig and occupy a hole.

We hope you enjoy their conversation as they grapple with the complexities of the performing body in a paddock in regional NSW.

Find out more information about Mark Shorter & Sach Catts.

Downtown Kandos

Cementa17 Festival. Photography Leah Haynes

Episode 1: Cementa17 & Regional Arts

Our first episode is on Wednesday 26 April 2017 and features conversations with artists and curators from Cementa17 Festival, in Kandos, regional NSW.

Cementa is a biennial Australian contemporary arts festival that takes place in Kandos, a small regional town located between Lithgow and Mudgee in Central West NSW. THe region provides the backdrop to which artists make, exhibit and perform work relating to the social, historical or environmental context of the town. Cementa17 is four days and nights of performance, sound, cabaret, interactive and electronice arts, video installation and ceramics presented at more than twenty venues in and around the town of Kandos.

For more information on the festival, and the exhibiting artists, head to the Cementa17 website.

The first episode features conversations with

  • Ian Milliss, co-director of Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation & Futurelands about the responsibility of artists in making social chance.
  • Aleshia Lonsdale, artist and Aboriginal Cultural Development Officer at Arts OutWest, about her own practice and the culture of Regional Arts. Aleshia has recently exhibited at Artlands, in Dubbo in 2016, and was part of the Leftfield II project with OranaArts. Aleshia also exhibited at Cementa15.
  • Nicole Welch, a Bathurst-based multi-media artist who produces stunning images of picturesque landscapes that have a loaded symbol implanted into each painstakingly-composed scene. We speak to Nicole about her current series of work, some of which is exhibited at Cementa17, titled Wildēornes Land, investigates the Blue Mountains wilderness from a historical, cultural and ecological viewpoint and is featured in the Blue Mountains City Art Gallery exhibition program 2017. Nicole is represented by Brenda May at MAY SPACE.
  • Sarah Waterson, new media artist and academic, about recreating a climate from Borneo in a hothouse in Kandos, and her work 'Hothouse' exhibted at Cementa17.
  • Ann Finegan, co-curator, director and founder of Cementa Festival, about how the festival all began and the curatorial process and intention.

Stay tuned for more updates and listen via iTunes and SoundCloud. Search for NAVA: in conversation and subscribe to our channels.

NAVA: In Conversation produced by NAVA, hosted by Brianna Munting and with special thanks to Andrew Haining & Marcus Whale.