Contribution to the Faculty and University Award: Alison Inglis AM

For an individual who has made a significant and sustained contribution to the Faculty and University through outstanding leadership, impact on students, research and teaching, engagement or philanthropy.

Alison Inglis

Associate Professor Alison Inglis AM

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – Arts, 1980
PhD, 2000

Associate Professor Alison Inglis is a leader in the field of art curatorship, art museum studies and art history, contributing not only to the Faculty of Arts through her teaching over several decades, but promoting the University of Melbourne through her outreach into the community.

Since 1995 she has coordinated the Master of Art Curatorship, one of the few art curatorship courses in Australia. The fact that many of her students now work in the museum sector in Australia and overseas is testament to her inspirational teaching. She sits on the board of Museums Victoria, was appointed Emeritus Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria in 2010, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in this year’s Australia Day awards for service to education and to the museum and gallery sector. She has helped organise international conferences, published articles, curated exhibitions, and co-edited and co-authored significant books.

Her recent research includes two projects funded by the Australian Research Council: one examined British and Australian colonial portraits from 1700–1900; and the other investigated exhibitions of Australian art between 1968–2014. Both these important projects expanded the strength and scope of Australia’s understanding of its visual culture, both historically and in the contemporary sphere.

In her own words

I’m not sure when my love of art first began, but I can still remember my amazement and delight when, as a very small child, I first encountered the public sculptures in the Ballarat gardens. One in particular stands out in my memory: the very dramatic figure group titled The Flight from Pompeii. The power of art to fire the imagination continues to amaze and intrigue me to this day.

I have always gained great pleasure and satisfaction from teaching at the University – where the students’ curiosity and enthusiasm constantly provide new perspectives on the subject under discussion. At its best, teaching proves to be a vibrant interaction that challenges you to re-think your assumptions.

The Art Curatorship program celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, making it one of the oldest continuous art curatorship programs in the world! Art Curatorship emerged as a specialisation within Art History’s postgraduate teaching in 1990 in response to the increasing professionalisation of the museum sector, and the program has continued to evolve and expand ever since. To me, one of the most important things about art curatorship is that it continues to promote the essential interaction between tertiary education and our cultural community. I am very proud to be associated with this course and all its remarkable teaching staff, students and alumni.

I am honoured to be awarded this Faculty of Arts Alumni Award. I have had the great pleasure of working at the University for over three decades and am thrilled to receive this recognition, which I accept not only for myself but also on behalf of my many wonderful students and generous and supportive colleagues.

Image credit: Sharon Walker.