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Art and research intersect as Curtin wins national museum award

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A Curtin University research collaboration that told the resilient and inspiring stories of women in sport has been recognised at the 2019 Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNA).

The collaboration, which included a catalogue of written and visual works outlining the experiences of female athletes, won the research category award at the MAGNA, held in Alice Springs last night.

The research award is a new category added to the MAGNA this year to recognise the important role museums and galleries play in undertaking, collaborating with and presenting new knowledge.

The exhibition, which was showcased at the John Curtin Gallery from July 26 to September 2 last year, was led by Centre for Sport and Recreation Founding Director Professor Marian Tye, from Curtin’s School of Design and the Built Environment.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry congratulated the award recipients, which included an academic team from the Centre for Sport and Recreation Research and staff from the John Curtin Gallery.

“The MAGNA recognise excellence in the Australian museum and gallery sector so I am delighted this important research collaboration has been acknowledged on the national stage,” Professor Terry said.

“The Contesting Space 1: Women in Sport exhibition brought an important research theme to life in an engaging way that captured a new audience and provoked new conversations about future collaborations.”

John Curtin Gallery Director Mr Chris Malcolm said Gallery staff enjoyed working with the research team in the co-learning research endeavour.

“The major significance of the project is that it demonstrated the value of an art exhibition as a vehicle not only for the purpose of discourse around a given subject, but also in generating new material for future exhibitions,” Mr Malcolm said.

“The exhibition explored the contemporary movement of women in sport, and extended this to the broader issues of gender stereotyping – a topic that galleries and museums worldwide are currently tackling in addressing issues of democratisation and decolonisation of institutions and collections.”

Professor Tye said the response to the exhibition had been overwhelming and she looked forward to developing its important themes in the future.

“This exhibition began as a group of interdisciplinary researchers coming together seeking to frame the context of the new AFLW and turned into a powerful story of how women in sport overcome dominant ideologies through self-representation, spatial justice and narratives of hope and resistance,” Professor Tye said.

The Western Australian Museum also won a MAGNA for its research project titled ‘Shipwrecks of the Roaring 40s’, which was carried out in partnership with The University of Western Australia and other partners including Curtin. Dr Andrew Woods, from the Curtin HIVE (Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch), was involved in the project.

The John Curtin Gallery was also a finalist in the temporary or touring exhibitions category for the highly acclaimed Confluence exhibition in 2018, which highlighted the collaboration between master ceramicists’ Pippin Drysdale and Warrick Palmateer.

John Curtin Gallery also received accolades for its 20th anniversary book as part of the Museums Australasia Multimedia and Publication Design Awards, established to celebrate excellence and quality in the design of publications and multimedia produced for the museums sector. The awards are traditionally presented at the Museums Australia Annual National Conference awards night, which celebrates both the MAPDA and the MAGNA.

For more information about the MAGNA, visit here.

For more information about Contesting Space 1: Women in Sport, visit here.

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