The Constructive Critic: Panel Discussion – Design Canberra Festival

Past event Free event

The Constructive Critic: Panel Discussion

with Peter Haynes, Jack Heath, Sue Terry, and Karen Viggers

We are excited to announce an upcoming panel discussion to be presented by The ACT Writers Centre in collaboration with DESIGN Canberra.

Join established curator, writer and visual arts historian Peter Haynes for a unique panel discussion about art criticism across multiple disciplines including visual arts, design, theatre and literature, and its importance and impact.

What is the point of arts criticism? What has changed now everyone has a voice via social media? What is the relationship between artist and critic, and what about the blurred lines of artists who critique others?

Joining Peter are authors Jack Heath, Karen Viggers and literary blogger Sue Terry (Whispering Gums).


Peter Haynes is an established curator, writer and visual arts historian. He holds Honours degrees in Archaeology and Fine Arts and a Masters in English Literature (University of Sydney). Since 1978 he has worked in the museum/gallery sector with occasional forays into academia. He moved to Canberra from Sydney (where he was working at the Art Gallery of New South Wales) in 1981 to take up a position of curator at the (then) Canberra School of Art, and also acted as Head of the Art History and Theory workshop. After leaving the School of Art in 1988 he has held a number of positions including curator of the Parliament House Art Collection; Director/Curator of the Nolan Gallery; Director of ACT Museums and Galleries, and University Curator at University of Canberra. He has lectured extensively on the visual arts and heritage, curated over 250 exhibitions, and is widely published nationally and internationally. Currently he is a consultant curator, writer, art historian and heritage advisor and Artistic Director Strathnairn Arts Association. He was until recently art critic for The Canberra Times. Recent publications inclusde Heklen Geier (2016), Kerry McInnis (2019), both monographs, and the Calleen Collection, The Cowra Regional Gallery (2019).

Jack Heath is the award-winning author of thirty thrillers, including Just One Bite (for adults) and the Liars series (for children). His novels have been translated into six languages and adapted for film. Jack fell in love with reading in primary school, when an ear infection left him unable to do much else. In high school he was frustrated by the slow pace and lack of excitement in most teenage fiction, so he started writing his own novel. It was picked out of a slush pile and published while he was still a teenager, and it soon became an international success.

In the course of his research, Jack has toured morgues and prisons, performed as a magician and traveled through eleven countries, including Russia. His enthusiastic presentations at schools and festivals have gotten thousands of kids hooked on reading. He lives on the land of the Ngunnawal people in Gunghalin, Australia.

Karen Viggers is the author of four novels: The Stranding, The Lightkeeper’s Wife, The Grass Castle and The Orchardist’s Daughter. She writes contemporary realist fiction set in Australian landscapes, and her work explores connection with the bush, grief and loss, healing in nature, death, family, marriage and friendship. Her books tackle contentious issues including empowerment at the end of life, domestic violence (both physical and psychological), whale rescue, kangaroo culling, scientific research on animals and logging of native forests.

Karen is a wildlife veterinarian who has worked and traveled in many remote parts of Australia, from Antarctica to the Kimberley. Her novels are known for their evocative portrayal of Australian people and landscapes.

Sue Terry has been writing the Whispering Gums litblog since 2009. While her prime focus is Australian literature, she also blogs about books from elsewhere and, somewhat serendipitously, on an eclectic mix of cultural events including literary (of course), music, dance, film and gallery/museum exhibitions. Now retired, she was in her professional life a librarian-archivist at the National Library of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive.

The Constructive Critic: Panel Discussion
Tue 12 Nov 2019
Past event
Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied

DESIGN Canberra acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians of the ACT and surrounding areas. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We aim to respect cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.