Welcome (back) to the Art History Network.

In 2010, I launched the Melbourne Art Network, with the support of academics and colleagues at the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. The initial intention was to set up a website to share news about talks and seminars on art history held at these universities, but gradually the site grew and expanded to cover a range of arts events across the universities, local galleries, and artist-run spaces. Gradually more people sent in requests to share news about jobs and funding opportunities and to advertise calls-for-papers. We added a reviews section and shared in-depth, informed reviews of art exhibitions in Melbourne, interstate and overseas. Researchers based in Australia and internationally shared news of exhibitions and museum re-openings, book publications and appointments of new directors and curators. The audience grew to around 3000 weekly readers, mostly in Australia but with many overseas also.

Although much of the work of developing a website, writing and editing the content is done solo (often on evenings and weekends around paid work) a sense of community grew up around the website. Colleagues and readers told me that sharing the news of exhibitions, seminars and conferences made a real difference to engagement. It also allowed me to create a public face for art history, to help colleagues open up their events, publications and exhibitions to a public beyond the academy. In 2018, after a year in a new academic role at the ANU I found I had to wind back the postings, until I eventually put the site on hold in 2019. It was not a decision I took lightly, as many readers and colleague expressed regret at the loss of the platform as a means to both share and discover what was happening in art history and arts research.

It is therefore a great pleasure to be able to relaunch the platform today as the Art History Network. This relaunch has been supported by Alison Inglis and the Institute of Art History, who have provided some funds to support weekly infrastructure and editorial costs. Mark Shepheard, who wrote and provided content for the MAN site on numerous occasions, will join as a co-editor. The new name reflects a broader focus than just Melbourne, which the old site had to some extent already adopted. It also reflects the fact that both editors are no longer based in Melbourne. It is our hope that the site will again be able to support the research, curatorial and writing about art history and art in Australia. The old archive of MAN will remain online here in its new home (over 2000 posts covering almost ten years!)

We welcome your submissions of events, job postings, CFPs and similar. Over the next month or so we will begin to add reviews and other news. We’ve already started things off with two posts below providing a round-up of some of the exhibitions currently showing at Australia’s state and national galleries.

Dr Katrina Grant