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Dr Felicity Fenner is a renowned curator of contemporary art, having curated over 40 exhibitions of Australian and international art. Her latest book, Running the City: Why Public Art Matters, was published by NewSouth Publishing, 2017.
Felicity’s research focuses on aspects of place and curatorial place-making, encapsulated in exhibitions such as Once Removed, Australia’s group exhibition at the 2009 Venice Biennale and Michael Nyman: CineOpera at Sydney Park Brickworks in 2011.
Other curatorial projects include Handle with Care, the 2008 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art; Primavera 2005 at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art; and Architypes (with Greg Bellerby and Makiko Hara) at Emily Carr Institute, Vancouver, 2004. Felicity’s first curatorial project was Fresh Art (1989 and 1994, both editions curated with Anne Loxley). In 1997 she was the Australian Curator and Commissioner for the Indian Triennial, New Delhi. In 2013 Felicity co-curated Making Change with Brenda Croft and Kon Gouriotis for the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, which was a finalist in the Australian government’s Australian Arts in Asia Award. In 2014 she brought to Australia Richard Mosse’s The Enclave, named by ABC Arts as one Australia’s top three visual arts presentations of the year, and in 2017 the acclaimed Diller Scofidio + Renfro installation, EXIT, as part of the Sydney Festival. In 2017 she co-curated with Anne Loxley the visual arts program of the Perth International Arts Festival.
Recent Australia Research Council (ARC) grants include “Curating Cities” (2011–2015, with Bennett, Goodwin and Parr) and “Construction, Community and Connection: Measuring Asian Art’s Contribution to Contemporary Culture in Australia” (2007–10, with Bennett, Berghuis, McNeill and Ruan). Felicity has also been the recipient of numerous curatorial grants and residencies, including Australia Council grants for curatorial research in Singapore, Istanbul and Venice. She has been Curator-in-Residence at Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore and at Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia; and a Visiting Lecturer on the Royal College of Art’s Curating Contemporary Art MA program in London. In 2014 she was awarded $100,000 by Australia’s National Exhibitions Touring Strategy to curate a major exhibition of international new media art to tour Australia 2015–2018.
Since 2000 Felicity has published regularly in Art in America, and in 2005 was made a Contributing Editor of ArtAsiaPacific. She was the chief art critic for The Sydney Morning Herald (1992–95), and has since published widely in a number of art journals including ARTAND (formerly Art & Australia), Aperture, Eyeline and the peer-reviewed Studies in Material Thinking, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art and Artlink. Recent book chapters include if you were to live here… (2013 Auckland Triennial, edited/curated by Hou Hanru), Copyfight (edited by Phillipa McGuiness, NewSouth Publishing, 2015) and Zadok Ben-David (Circa, London, 2018). In 2012 she co-authored with Julian Beaumont and John McDonald The Land and its Psyche (NewSouth Press). In 2014 she completed a PhD that investigated recent curatorial responses to place.
Felicity is a founding member of the City of Sydney’s Public Art Advisory Panel (since 2007) and a frequent judge of art awards including the 2012 Blake Prize and National Portrait Gallery's inaugural digital portrait prize, 2013 Sculpture by the Sea, 2014 Mosman Art Prize and 2017 Blacktown Art Prize. She is the Australian selector for the Hong Kong based Sovereign Art Prize, and has been an assessor/peer for the ARC, Australia Council, Churchill Trust and Create NSW.
At UNSW Art & Design Felicity supervises Masters and PhD curatorial students, convenes the Internship and Capstone courses in the Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership, and leads an annual World Biennales Field Trip to international biennale exhibitions.
Before her appointment to Associate Professor, Felicity was the inaugural Director of UNSW Galleries (2013–2018), which she swiftly established as a leading centre for international contemporary art and ideas.