In 2016 UQ Art Museum UQ’s Society of Fine Arts Association (SoFA) in partnership with UQ Art Museum presented an opportunity for emerging arts writers who were also current SoFA members and/or UQ Art History and Museum Studies students. Applicants were required to choose an artwork from the exhibition beyond the Tower: UQ Art Museum – 40 years and counting and write a critical response.
UQ Art Museum’s Dr Campbell Gray and Samantha Littley judged the award and declared UQ Museum Studies Master Program student Miranda Hine the winner of the $500 cash prize. (Read Miranda’s essay) UQ Art History student (Diploma) Bree Di Mattina was runner up and received a $100 cash prize. This month, SoFA President Sophie Kubler sat down for a chat with Miranda to learn more about her interest in writing and her plans for the future.
Sophie: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you are studying.
Miranda: I am currently studying the Master of Museum studies at UQ; however, before beginning my current course I completed a Bachelor of Fine Art, majoring in sculpture at the Queensland College of Art (Griffith University). While studying fine art, I became fascinated by ideas surrounding the authority of the museum and the way in which we engage with the artworks and exhibitions they present us with. Through this interest in institutional critique, I co-established the ARI (Artist Run Initiative) ‘In Residence’, to celebrate and support emerging artists, who are not necessarily represented in larger galleries or museums.
Sophie: As an emerging arts worker, what value do you place on developing a writing practice as part of your broader practice?
Miranda: Writing has always been integrated into my art practice, so I’ve never made too much of a distinction between the two. Personally, I find writing to be a great tool to reach a wider audience with my work. I strongly believe that writing provides another means for communication – some people respond to words, some people respond to visuals, and so it is an essential tool for making art accessible to everyone. It also translates to many different areas of life, and is an invaluable skill to develop no matter what discipline you are in or career you decide to pursue.
Sophie: What place do you think writing prizes such as the SoFA and UQ Art Museum Emerging Arts Writing prizes have for emerging practitioners and in the broader sphere of Australian art?
Miranda: For the emerging practitioners, such support, encouragement and recognition is rare and valuable to let you know you’re on the right track. Encouragement of art writing is a great way to continue the conversation about Australian art and it allows people to have a place where their voices are recognised as valid and important.
Sophie: Do you see arts writing as an effective way to contribute actively to the broader discussion on Australian art?
Miranda: Again, it creates a point of accessibility to a work of art. Unfortunately, there’s still a big problem, especially in Australia, with art presenting itself as inaccessible and elitist to a broader audience. It is my belief that art writing can play a major role in either reinforcing or diffusing that problem.
Sophie: Do you have any advice for other emerging arts workers, particularly those who are interested in writing?
Miranda: Generally speaking, all emerging arts workers should try to get as much experience as they can. For most of us this means a lot of interning! But it also means having the confidence to enter prizes such as this one. In terms of writing, I would say don’t be afraid to use humour and be conversational in your writing – no one wants to read your work if you take yourself too seriously, particularly if they’re Australian! Always remember your audience and be open to the fact that everything you write will be interpreted slightly differently by every reader – just like art. But most of all, keep practising and getting feedback. Try to take on constructive criticism and learn from it rather than taking it personally – which can be hard to do!
Read an interview with Miranda Hine’s winning essay here
UQ Art Museum is open daily from 10 am until 4 pm. The Art Museum offers a range of public programs andopportunities for students. Register to receive our e-news and invitations and follow UQ Art Museum onFacebook to keep up to date.