Grace McQuilten

Associate Professor Grace McQuilten

Associate Professor

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Grace Mcquilten profile photo. She sits in front of a painted brick wall while wearing glasses and smiling.

Contact details

   DSC | School of Art


  Contemporary Art & Social Transformation

  Design & Creative Practice ECP


  Email: grace.mcquilten@rmit.edu.au


    Phone: +61 39925 0196


   Campus: Melbourne City


Programs

More information

Grace Mcquilten profile photo. She sits in front of a painted brick wall while wearing glasses and smiling.

Contact details

   DSC | School of Art


  Contemporary Art & Social Transformation

  Design & Creative Practice ECP


  Email: grace.mcquilten@rmit.edu.au


    Phone: +61 39925 0196


   Campus: Melbourne City


Programs

More information

Grace is a published art historian, curator and artist with expertise in contemporary art and design, public art, social practice, social enterprise and community development.

Overview

Grace's research challenges and transforms conventional understandings of the relationship between margin and centre in relation to the cultural economy, contemporary art practice and art history. She has pioneered work on the field of art-based social enterprise in Australia, and has worked extensively in migrant and refugee settlement. She has a multidisciplinary approach that engages with a range of fields including art, design, architecture, sustainability, sociology, business and international development.

Grace’s curatorial research makes a significant contribution to models of community engagement, particularly by collaborating with emerging artists from diverse communities and cultural backgrounds as co-curators and co-producers. Through this work, she has supported cross-cultural exchange between Australian and Vietnamese artists and makers; and new migrant and refugee communities including Horn of Africa communities, Burmese and Afghani communities and Pasifika communities. These exhibitions have been presented across large, medium and small institutions and independent public spaces. Collectively, the exhibitions have reached audiences of 10,000+ and generated media coverage including in The Age, The Daily Review, ABC Radio and numerous online media outlets.

Grace has published widely across refereed and unrefereed publications, including creative works in literary journals, authored exhibition catalogues, working as an editor on local newspapers and engaging widely with local and national media.

Web

Industry experience

Grace has a strong background in industry, particularly as the founding CEO & a current Board Director of The Social Studio, a fashion and art based social enterprise working with young people from humanitarian migrant backgrounds in Melbourne. Through this work she has supported the start-up of eight art-based social enterprises across Australia and continues to advise community and industry partners on community development and social enterprise leadership.
 

Professional Experiences

  • Arts Project Australia Conference Coordinator, Contemporary Outsider Art: The Global Context, 2014 Melbourne School of Government Project Manager 2013 (Mar – Sep)
  • The Ian Potter Museum of Art – Guest Curator, University of Melbourne, 2010-11 & 2006
  • The Ambassador Newspaper Editor and Graphic Designer, Adult Migrant Education and Settlement Service (AMES), Melbourne (from 2007)
  • Al Muhajir / The Migrant Newspaper Co-editor, Melbourne 2006
  • Dan Flavin Archive Research Assistant, Dia Centre for the Arts, New York, USA 2004
  • Research Officer, Kamcorp Industrial Relations, 2000-2002
     

Board / Advisory Roles

  • Co-Treasurer/Director, The Social Studio (from 2009)
  • Treasurer, Art Association of Australia & New Zealand (2015-2018)
  • Public Officer & Board Director, The Welcome Committee (2015-2017)
     

Industry Working groups

  • Inner North Community Foundation - Baker’s Dozen Social Justice Fund Advisory Group (2021)
  • Frankie Good Stuff Awards Judge (2019)
  • Melbourne Business School Compass program Advisory Group (2015-16)
  • Gertrude Contemporary Art Emerging Writers Program Mentor (2016)
  • Social Enterprise Advisor, Melbourne Business School Compass program (2015)
  • National Association for the Visual Arts (Industry advisor) (2013)
  • Victorian Training Awards (Judge, Enterprise of the Year) (2013)
  • AuSud Media Project, Centre for Advanced Journalism, the University of Melbourne (2011)
Web

Research

Grace's research has several focus points, including (1) improving the economic landscape of the visual arts in Australia, including new and alternative economic models of organisation, to support greater equity for artists; (2) expanding knowledge of the lived experience, opportunities and challenges of art-based social enterprises in a time of increasing neoliberalism; and (3) transforming our understandings of contemporary art to center and privilege greater diversity - in terms of culture, ethnicity, ability, neurodiversity and socio-economic access. Grace is also interested in the relationship between art, craft, design and sustainable communities.

Research keywords

contemporary art, public art, social practice, craft, design, fashion, art and community development, art and sustainability, art enterprise, social enterprise, alternative economies, creative industries, outsider/outlier art, equity and justice in the arts, decentring/recentring art history

Research output summary

60

Publications

15

Projects

6

Awards

Web

Supervisor interest areas

  • Contemporary art
  • Social practice
  • Co-design
  • Craft, 
  • Design
  • Art and community development
  • Art and sustainability
  • Art enterprise
  • Social enterprise
  • Alternative economies
  • Creative industries
  • Equity and justice in the arts
  • Decentring/recentring art history

Supervisor projects

  • Jacina Leong, Towards a careful approach to curatorial and social innovation practice
  • Chiara Grassia, Forging our own futures: young people, creative spaces and affect
  • Thao Nguyen, Temporary Text(iles)
  • Jon Hewitt, Navigating the social and the commercial: Marketing fashion based Social Enterprise in Southeast Asia
  • Rafaela Pandolfini, A new curatorial; method, care and the feminine
  • Michaela Pegum, Subtle bodies: corporeal and material becoming in threshold landscapes
  • Simon Crosbie, Dissociation and the visual language of trauma
  • Grace Leone, The Double Agent: transdisciplinary creative practice in the public realm

Feature publications

Art in consumer culture: mis-design

Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, United Kingdom

McQuilten, G. (2011).

Art as enterprise: Social and economic engagement in contemporary art

I.B. Tauris, London, United Kingdom

McQuilten, G. and White, A. (2016).

Who is afraid of public space? Public art in a contested, secured and surveilled city

Art & the Public Sphere, Intellect, United Kingdom, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 235-254

McQuilten, G. (2020).

Key publications by year

Other: Curated or Produced Substantial Public Exhibitions and Events (Exhibition/Event)

  • McQuilten, G. and Spiers, A. 2021, 'Joining my Future: Art, Work, Inequality and Crisis', Bus Projects, Bus Projects, Melbourne, Australia

Journal Article

  • McQuilten, G. Warr, D. Humphery, K. and Spiers, A. 2020, 'Ambivalent entrepreneurs: arts-based social enterprise in a neoliberal world', in Social Enterprise Journal, Emerald, United Kingdom, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 121-140 ISSN: 1750-8614
  • McQuilten, G. and Spiers, A. 2020, '‘Art is different’: Material practice, learning and co-making at The Social Studio', in Journal of Arts and Communities, Intellect, United Kingdom, vol. 10, no. 1-2, pp. 19-33 ISSN: 1757-1936
  • McQuilten, G. 2020, 'Who is afraid of public space? Public art in a contested, secured and surveilled city', in Art & the Public Sphere, Intellect, United Kingdom, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 235-254 ISSN: 2042-7948
  • McQuilten, G. 2020, 'Dignity and Futility: Art and Labour in a Post-Industrial World', in Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, Taylor and Francis, Australia, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 213-230 ISSN: 2203-1871

Other: Curated or Produced Substantial Public Exhibitions and Events (Web-based exhibition)

  • Hulbert, T. McQuilten, G. Rayment, H. Nguyen, H. and Ngoc, L. 2020, 'Skilled Hands, Shared Culture', RMIT Gallery, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

Journal Article

  • White, A. McQuilten, G. Parlane, A. and Green, C. 2019, 'Outsider Art in Australia: Artists’ Voices Versus Art-world Mythologies', in Art and Australia, Art and Australia, Melbourne, Australia, vol. 56, no. 6, pp. 1-10 ISSN: 0004-301X

Other: Curated or Produced Substantial Public Exhibitions and Events (Exhibition/Event)

  • McQuilten, G. 2019, 'The Social Studio 10 Year Retrospective', The Social Studio 10 Year Retrospective, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, Melbourne
  • McQuilten, G. 2019, 'Pan African Space Station', Shapes of Knowledge, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne

Book Chapter

  • McQuilten, G. 2018, 'Five pages of writing about artists' writings', in Writing + Concepts 2016, Art + Australia, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 146-152 ISBN: 9780995392564

Journal Article

  • McQuilten, G. 2018, 'The market for applied arts and modern design', in Grove Art Online (Oxford Art Journal), Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, pp. 1-7 ISSN: 0142-6540

Other: Curated or Produced Substantial Public Exhibitions and Events (Exhibition/Event)

  • McQuilten, G. 2018, 'The work of art', Art, Labour and Working Life, Mission to Seafarers, Melbourne, Australia

Book Chapter

  • McQuilten, G. 2017, 'The road taken', in Doctoral Research in Art, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 178-188 ISBN: 9781925588705
  • McQuilten, G. 2017, 'Art as enterprise: conflict kitchen and return', in Transformations: Art and the City, Intellect, Bristok, United Kingdom, pp. 91-104 ISBN: 9781783207749

Journal Article

  • McQuilten, G. 2017, 'The political possibilities of art and fashion based social enterprise', in Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, Taylor and Francis, Australia, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 69-83 ISSN: 1030-4312

Book

  • McQuilten, G. and White, A. 2016, 'Art as enterprise: Social and economic engagement in contemporary art', I.B. Tauris, London, United Kingdom ISBN: 9781784534103

Conference Publication

  • McQuilten, G. and White, A. 2016, 'Art as social enterprise', in Proceedings of the 2014 Re-structure Conference, J. H. Brüggemeier and H. Davies (ed.), Unlikely Publishing, Australia, pp. 44-72

Book Chapter

  • McQuilten, G. 2015, 'Art as enterprise', in Engaging Publics/Public Engagement, Auckland Art Gallery and AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand, pp. 21-32 ISBN: 9780864633033

Conference Publication

  • McQuilten, G. and White, A. 2015, 'Impact and sustainability in art based social enterprises', in Research Unit in Public Cultures (RUPC) Working Papers Series, Nikos Papastergiadis, Danny Butt, Alex Lambert, and Peter Chambers (ed.), University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-26

Other: Curated or Produced Substantial Public Exhibitions and Events (Exhibition/Event)

  • McQuilten, G. 2015, 'Remote-Controlled Terrorist Coffin: Adam Kalkin & Aaron Ray-Crichton', Remote-Controlled Terrorist Coffin, RMIT Project Space/Spare Room Galleries, Carlton, Australia
  • McQuilten, G. 2015, 'The Social Studio: Portraits by Morgan WS Brown', The Social Studio: Portraits by Morgan WS Brown, Immigration Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Other: Original Creative Work (Textual work)

  • McQuilten, G. 2015, 'The Social Studio: Fashion, Food, Art and Community', The Social Studio: Fashion, Food, Art and Community, Melbourne Books, Melbourne, Australia

Other: Original Creative Work (Visual art work)

  • McQuilten, G. 2015, 'Diving into the wreck', Dada lives!, Hatch Contemporary Art Space, Ivanhoe, Australia

Conference Publication

  • McQuilten, G. 2014, 'Art, Cities and Social Enterprise', in Proceedings of the Second International Urban Design Conference on Cities, People and Places (ICCPP 2014), Ranjith Dayaratne, Janaka Wijesundara (ed.), University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, pp. 182-193

Other: Curated or Produced Substantial Public Exhibitions and Events (Exhibition/Event)

  • McQuilten, G. 2014, 'Outside Melbourne', Contemporary Outsider Art: The Global Context Conference; Federation Square; Arts Victoria, Locations around Melbourne City, Melbourne, Australia

Other: Original Creative Work (Textual work)

  • McQuilten, G. 2014, 'Ensuring young people in all walks of life 'earn or learn' costs money', Another Country: Youth in Australia series, The Conversation, Melbourne, Australia

Other: Curated or Produced Substantial Public Exhibitions and Events (Exhibition/Event)

  • McQuilten, G. 2013, 'TSS Chai and the Land Before Time', Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Conference Publication

  • McQuilten, G. 2012, 'The exploded whale: Vito Acconci in the design market', in Proceedings of Interspaces: Art and Architectural Exchanges from East to West, F. Marcello and A. White (ed.), University of Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-9

Book

  • McQuilten, G. 2011, 'Art in consumer culture: mis-design', Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, United Kingdom ISBN: 9781409422402

Other: Curated or Produced Substantial Public Exhibitions and Events (Exhibition/Event)

  • McQuilten, G. 2011, 'The Magic Tent', Craft Cubed Festival and Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia
  • McQuilten, G. 2011, 'Mis-Design', Mis-Design, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Web

Feature projects

Ambitious and Fair: Strategies for a sustainable visual arts sector

Australian Research Council - Linkage Grant

CIs: Assoc/Prof Grace McQuilten, Dr Marnie Badham, Professor Kate MacNeill, Assoc/Prof Jenny Lye

2020 - 2023

The underworld: outsider artists and the reformulation of Australian art

Australian Research Council - Discovery Project

CIs: Assoc/Prof Anthony White, Professor Charles Green, Assoc/Prof Grace McQuilten

2018 - 2022

How art-based social enterprise helps marginalised young people

Australia Research Council - Discovery Grant

CIs: Professor Peter Kelly, Assoc/Prof Grace McQuilten, Assoc/Prof Kim Humphery, Professor Deb Warr

2017 - 2022

Key projects by year

  • The Takeover, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Bus Projects, The Social Studio, Youthworx Media, Outer Urban Projects, 2022
  • đây/ đó (here/there), Craft, art & design exchange, Vietcraft, VICAS, workroom four, RMIT Vietnam, RMIT Melbourne, 2021, 2021
  • Ambitious and Fair: Strategies for a sustainable visual arts sector, CIs Assoc/Prof Grace McQuilten, Dr Marnie Badham, Professor Kate MacNeill, Assoc/Prof Jenny Lye, Australian Research Council - Linkage Grant, 2020-2023
  • The Social Fabric Youth Development Program, Department of Home Affairs & The Social Studio, 2019
Web

Awards

ACUADS Distinguished Research Award

Award date: 2020 

Recipients: Grace McQuilten

RMIT Research Award for Impact - Enterprise

Award date: 2019

Recipients: Grace McQuilten

Jack Brockhoff - Churchill Fellowship

Award date: 2012

Recipients: Grace McQuilten

Key awards by year

  • 2020 ACUADS Distinguished Research Award
  • 2019 RMIT Research Award for Impact - Enterprise
  • 2013 Ian Potter Foundation Travel Scholarship
  • 2012 Churchill Fellowship
  • 2011 NAVA Emerging Curator Award
  • 2011 Vodafone World of Difference Award
Web

Grants

National competitive grants

  • ARC Linkage Project (Lead CI) Ambitious & Fair: Strategies for a sustainable visual arts sector, $339,852, 2021-2024
  • ARC Discovery Project (CI) Outsider artists and the reformulation of Australian art, $212,091, 2018-2022
  • ARC Discovery Project(CI), Art-based social enterprise & marginalised young people, $337,000 2017-2021
     

State or local government funding

  • Here/There, Australian Embassy in Vietnam ($20,000), 2021
  • The Platform, City of Melbourne ($10,000), 2021
  • Joining my future - Art, Work, Inequality and Crisis, Australia Council for the Arts ($10,000), 2020
  • The Social Fabric Youth Development Program, Department of Home Affairs ($50,000) 2019
  • Impact & sustainability of art based social enterprise, Melbourne Social Equity Institute, (20,000), 2015
  • Outside Melbourne Public Art project, Arts Victoria, (20,000) 2014
Web

Public and media engagements

2022

  • Curated for 'Takeover: The Social Studio, Outer Urban Projects, Youthworkx', Presented by Bus Projects, 3 - 6 March 2022
  • Quoted in 'The Life & Art of Takashi Murakami', Art & Object, 6 January 2022 by Ivy Pratt

2021

2020

  • Quoted in 'Reviving traditional crafts for young generations', RMIT Vietnam News, 30 November 2020 by Thuy Le
  • Mentioned in 'Revising the Code of Practice', National Association for the Visual Arts, 28 January 2020 by Penelope Benton

2018

  • Interviewed in 'The Social Studio: the stuff of hope, dreams and refugee resilience', Daily Review, 10 June 2018

2017

Web
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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.