Watch Talks
Visit ViscopyVisit Vivid Sydney

About the Event

Never before have images been copied, shared and transformed at such a pace around the world as they are today. Voice of the Artist: Age of the Image is a forum which begs the question, how do we value the image and create opportunities for creators, users and consumers? By international and national industry professionals and academics sharing how they’ve responded to these challenges, this forum highlights the importance of the image in contemporary society, its role in business and how the respectful use of images can help build a stronger economic future for the Australian creative industries.


hours / morning session

9AM - 1PM at the Art Gallery of New South Wales


International speaker

Exploring the future of publishing and opportunities for visual artists.


Artists and Academics

Discussing the transferable nature of images in the digital age and their use as social and cultural capital.


Friday, 10 June 2016
8.30 - 9.00AM
With tea and coffee
Venue: Yiribana Foyer, Art Gallery of NSW

9.00AM - 9.10AM
Welcome and Introductions
Owen Craven
Venue: Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW

9.10AM - 9.35AM
The era of the 'Everyday Curator'
Mikala Tai
Venue: Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW

With the rise of the everyday curator, the game has changed. For decades, the art world has relied on 'connoisseur-ship' of curators who, from behind the dusty stacks of the library and years of research, have presented collections of images of certifiable 'taste'. In 2016, anyone with access to the internet can curate and become an 'influencer' and the role and meaning of curating has shifted. This shift represents a significant challenge to the art world which is only just beginning to respond and harness the power of the 'Everyday Curator'.

9.35AM - 10.00AM
Blurry Scenes: The Invisibility of Art on Film and Television
Oliver Watts
Venue: Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW

Copyright has had an unexpected consequence. From the Kardashians to interior design shows, so worried and harried are film and television producers that instead of going through the "hassle" of seeking licensing for artworks, they blur or neglect to show artworks at all. Instead of protecting the cultural ecosystem, the laws, coupled with the reality of production constraints, are suppressing art altogether.

10.00AM - 10.20AM
Tea, coffee and refreshments
Venue: Yiribana Foyer, Art Gallery of NSW

10.20AM - 10.45AM
The Digital Image in the Social Realm
Dr. Melissa de Zwart
Venue: Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW

Artists, creators and arts entrepreneurs are increasingly using social media as the platform to showcase their works, however this highly graphic platform creates particular risks for visual artists with the ease of reuse, misattribution and redistribution. We will look at examples of user practice, the relevant laws and possible responses.

10.45AM -11.05AM
Creating Immersive Digital Experiences
Becky Sui Zhen Freeman
Venue: Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW

Art Processors create digital experiences that drive visitor engagement within art galleries, museums and cultural sites. Drawing from projects such as MONA’s ‘O,’ Melbourne Zoo’s ‘I Animal’, State Library of NSW’s ‘Curio’ and AWM’s Spirit of the Anzac Guide, Producer Becky Sui Zhen will unpack the way their digital tools are designed to deepen the connection between digital and physical realms through the use of image, sound, location and context. By using the visitors physical location as an interactive element, pro-longing engagement with layers of interpretative content and allowing the visitor to save and replay the experience at home, Art Processors were successful in creating one of the most favoured museum guide experiences of the last decade with MONA’s ‘O’. Now, five years on, technology has advanced and the ways in which people are able to consume content has changed rapidly. Becky will discuss some recent projects which illustrate how they’ve adapted to the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Navigating the future of publishing
Keynote: Christopher Hudson
Venue: Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW

Depending on your side of the coin, one’s views about image licenses and rights are usually shaded one way or another: as a user you want images freely available in high-resolution, but as a creator, agent or estate, you know there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Managing image rights can be a labyrinth for artists, estates, writers, publishers, scholars and readers, but there are practical ways to navigate these to avoid legal pitfalls, better understand risks of using images that are sourced online, respect artists and strengthen relationships. Hear our keynote speaker Christopher Hudson, Publisher at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York, discuss the world of arts publishing and how, despite changing laws and technological shifts, all players can work collaboratively to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

11.50AM - 12.30PM
Panel Discussion and Q&A
Venue: Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW

12.30PM - 1PM
Wrap up, thank you and close
Owen Craven

Event Speakers

  • Owen Craven

    Oliver Watts

    Mikala Tai

    Mikala Tai

  • Melissa de Zwart

    Becky Sui Zhen

    Becky Sui Zhen Freeman

    Christopher Hudson

Owen Craven
Owen Craven is an independent art writer, editor and curator, facilitating platforms and opportunities for artists to create and present their work. Owen has worked in the visual arts industry for a decade, developing a mixture of curatorial and artist project management experience. Currently, he is a Curator with Urban Art Projects (UAP), and immediately prior to joining, he was the Editor of Artist Profile and Art Almanac magazines. In these roles, Owen led numerous initiatives that created platforms and opportunities for both emerging and established artists to create and present their work. Craven has organised a number of artist expeditions and curated the resulting exhibitions, including; On This Island, Meeting and Parting (2010), which included artists creating work in response to a tour of New Zealand’s South Island; and Not the Way Home, which saw him lead 13 prominent Australian artists to Fowlers Gap, part of the Arid Desert of north-west New South Wales. The final installment of the project was a national, touring exhibition throughout 2012 and 2013. Owen was the Project Manager for Your Friend the Enemy (2015), a touring exhibition which featured artwork by 16 leading Australian and New Zealand artists to commemorate the ANZAC legend and the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign. Most recently, Owen curated Antipodean Inquiry: an exhibition providing a snapshot of Australian and New Zealand contemporary art for Yavuz Gallery, Singapore.
Oliver Watts
Oliver Watts is an artist, writer and a lecturer in critical theory at the University of Sydney, Sydney College of the Arts.

He works on the nexus of art and law often using post-modern and psychoanalytical approaches. His PhD was on images of sovereignty in the modern art canon. He currently lectures on Contemporary Art, Street Art and Modern Art. His recent research interest is Indigenous Contemporary Art and the imaging of Indigenous sovereignty. Watts has published widely in academic journals and in the popular media (including cartoons for The Chaser). He was included in the far reaching Treatise, Law Culture and Visual Studies, published by Springer last year.
Mikala Tai
Mikala Tai
Mikala Tai is a Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and a curator, researcher and academic specialising in contemporary Asian art and Australian design. Over the past decade, she has collaborated with local, national and international organisations to strengthen ties between Australia and Asia. As an academic Mikala has taught at both RMIT and the University of Melbourne in both undergraduate and graduate programs in Contemporary Art, Modernism and Exhibition Management, in addition to having devised and delivered the inaugural Contemporary Asian Art syllabus at RMIT (2012 – ) and the first China Fieldwork Course (2015 – )with Rebecca Coates and Kate McNeill at the University of Melbourne. More recently Mikala was the founder and director of Supergraph – Australia’s Contemporary Graphic Art Fair, which has been held twice at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne and exhibited at Somerset House, London (2015). She was also part of the public programs team for Melbourne Now (2013) at the National Gallery of Victoria, and previously the Cultural Program Manager for the Melbourne Fashion Festival (2009-2013). Mikala currently sits on the board of BUS Projects, Melbourne. In 2006 Mikala completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the University of Melbourne and in early 2015 submitted her PhD at UNSW Art & Design examining the influence of the Global City on China’s local art infrastructure.
Melissa de Zwart
Dr Melissa de Zwart is a Professor at Adelaide Law School and Deputy Director of the Research Unit in Military Law and Ethics. She is involved in international projects dealing with surveillance, Big Data, space law, technology and commercialisation.

She teaches in both the undergraduate and postgraduate programs in areas of intellectual property, media, popular culture, surveillance and torts.  She is the Editor of the Media & Arts Law Review and in 2015 she edited a very popular, special edition on 'Law and Law Breaking in Game of Thrones'.

Prior to academia, Melissa specialised in technology transfer and licensing of intellectual property at CSIRO. Here, she became an expert in legal issues arising from use of digital technology, ranging from intellectual property to privacy and surveillance.

Melissa's research interests include: copyright, fair dealing, surveillance, new technologies, content regulation, online games, social networking, governance of online environments, digital identity, new media, convergence and the commercialisation of space.
Becky Sui Zhen
Becky Sui Zhen Freeman
Becky Sui Zhen Freeman is the producer for Art Processors, a company that designs and develops visitor centric mobile experiences for cultural institutions including MONA, Museum Victoria, Art Gallery of NSW, State Library of NSW and Melbourne Zoo. Becky has worked as an independent creative producer throughout the last decade since receiving her BA in Communications from the University of Technology, Sydney. With a passion for storytelling across multiple platforms and mediums, her work has spanned the production of interactive and digital content including exhibition web sites, online documentaries, in-gallery interactive content (apps, touch screens, large scale multi-user video installations), film and sound production. Throughout these varied projects Becky has worked alongside programmers and designers who strive to seamlessly integrate technology into the core exhibition experience thus allowing visitors to connect more deeply to the stories being told. Becky is also a musician and is currently completing a Masters in Communication Design at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).
Christopher Hudson
Christopher Hudson is the publisher of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The Museum publishes scholarly texts, exhibition catalogues, and print and digital publications for the general public on modern and contemporary art.  From 1986 to 2005, Mr. Hudson served as publisher for the Getty Museum and Trust, and developed several hundred titles in the fields of archaeology, antiquities, conservation, and the fine arts.  He is currently chairman of the International Association of Museum Publishers, president of the International Federation of Scholarly Publishers, and a board member of the Motovun Group of international publishers.


    • $34

    • Early Bird

      • On sale 17 March - 30 April
      • Limited tickets available
    • BUY NOW
    • $54

    • General

      • All tickets purchased after 30 April
      • General full-price admission
    • BUY NOW


Register to receive a copy of our Voice of the Artist publication!

Name Email


Subscribe to the VOTA mailing list for news and updates.


Main Venues

Yiribana Foyer & Restaurant Function Space and
the Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW


The latest updates and opinion pieces from writers, artists, journalists and academics on the future of creativity in amongst digital disruption.

The right to put a price on your labour
| Event| Piracy

First let me say that I am passionate about freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of expression. I also want to laud the digitalisation of media as one of the greatest breakthroughs in history.

Read More
Grants for Visual Artists
| Event| Funding

The Copyright Agency's Career Fund supports individuals working in the visual arts and other creative sectors to develop specific skills and progress their careers.

Read More
The potential impact on creators of changing Australian copyright
| Event| Fair Use

A PwC Australia report has found introducing a new exception to copyright law could result in a loss of GDP in the order of $1.3bn.

Read More