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Helen Hughes


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Personal profile


Helen Hughes co-founded and co-edits the Melbourne contemporary art journal Discipline, and is an editor of the peer-reviewed art history journal EMAJ. Since 2013, Helen has organised the Discipline contemporary art lecture series (originally in collaboration with Gertrude Contemporary), and, with sound art organisation Liquid Architecture, the 'Histories and Theories of Sound' lecture series, which have featured lectures by Rex Butler, Justin Clemens, Helen Johnson, Jan Bryant, Douglas Kahn, Branden W. Joseph, Terry Smith, Adrian Martin, amongst many more.


Her research focuses on Australian art history and international contemporary art.  In particular, Helen is interested in theories of contemporary art - how this moment may differ from the modern and postmodern periods that preceded it.  Helen has written for journals such as CACSA Broadsheet, Art & Australia, EMAJ, Eyeline, Artlink, Discipline and frieze. She is also the Melbourne critic for Artforum.  Recent edited publications include Tom Nicholson: Lines towards Another (2017, with Amelia Barikin), Kiffy Rubbo: Curating the 1970s (2016, with Janine Burke), Three Reflections on Contemporary Art History (2014, with Nicholas Croggon), Making Worlds: Art and Science Fiction (2013, with Ameila Barikin), and Impresario: Paul Taylor (2013, with Nicholas Croggon).


Helen has worked as curator of research at Monash University Museum of Art, where she worked on exhibitions and publications including Mutlu Cerkez: 1988-2065 (2018), and as curator at Gertrude Contemporary, where she presented exhibitions Marrnyula Mununggurr: Ganybu and David Egan: Actually Energy Help Light in 2015, and, co-curated with Spiros Panigirakis and in collaboration with community radio station 3CR, If People Powered Radio: 40 Years of 3CR in 2016.  Helen co-curated the 2016 TarraWarra Biennial: Endless Circulation with both Discipline and TarraWarra Museum director, Victoria Lynn.


She received her PhD in Art History at the University of Melbourne in 2015.  



Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2018 2020

Research Output 2011 2019

9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

Hughes, H., 2019, Frieze, 202, p. 140-141 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationShort ReviewResearch

Drawing Unity: The Transcendental Abstraction of Roger Kemp

Hughes, H., 2019, Melbourne, Vic, Australia: National Gallery of Victoria. 8 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCatalogueResearch

'Seeing Voices' - SM - Bathurst Regional Gallery

Mathews, H., Parker, F. & Hughes, H., 2019

Research output: Non-textual formCurationOther

Support Structures: Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley's Shields

Hughes, H., 2019, Bulleen, Vic, Australia: Heide Museum of Modern Art. 3 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCatalogueOther

Correspondences, Mirrors, Inversions: Tom Nicholson's Comparative monument (Ma'man Allah)

Hughes, H., 2018, Tom Nicholson: Lines towards Another. Barikin, A. & Hughes, H. (eds.). Berlin, Germany: Sternberg Press; Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane); and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, p. 107-116 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Other

Activities 2015 2019

  • 4 Public lecture/debate/seminar
  • 3 Contribution to conference
  • 1 Contribution to workshop, seminar, course
  • 1 Public event

Shapeshifters: New Forms of Curatorial Research

Tara McDowell (Organiser), Helen Hughes (Member of programme committee), Charles Francis Sofo (Invited speaker), Lucreccia Maria Gomez Quintanilla (Invited speaker)
13 Mar 201914 Mar 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to conference

Forgery in Early Colonial Australian Art: A Case Study of Francis Greenway's Prison Scenes

Helen Hughes (Contributor)
28 Nov 2019

Activity: Community Talks, Presentations, Exhibitions and EventsPublic lecture/debate/seminar

Faking It! Forgery and Fabrication in Late Medieval and Early Modern Culture

Helen Hughes (Speaker)
15 Aug 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to conference

Postnational Art Histories

Helen Hughes (Speaker)
11 Jun 201915 Jun 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to workshop, seminar, course

Book Launch: Tom Nicholson: Lines towards Another

Tom Nicholson (Contributor), Helen Hughes (Contributor)
31 May 2018

Activity: Community Talks, Presentations, Exhibitions and EventsPublic event

Press / Media

The National Picture: Interview with Greg Lehman

Helen Hughes


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Profile/Interview

Interview with Vivienne Binns

Helen Hughes


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Profile/Interview

ART GUIDE AUST: 'Seeing voices in regional Australia'

Hannah Mathews, Francis Parker & Helen Hughes


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Review

TRIPLE M: 'Riddoch Art Gallery exhibitions'

Helen Hughes, Francis Parker & Hannah Mathews


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Other