DR Barbara Kameniar




University of Melbourne, Australia


Barbara Kameniar is an educationalist and curriculum specialist who is currently Program Coordinator of the Master of Teaching (Secondary) in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne. Barbara’s research focuses on issues related to race, religion and education. All of her research is concerned with social justice. Her current projects are in the field of Aboriginal education and the racialised nature of mainstream curriculum. Barbara has been a long-standing member of SAWA-Australia. She was secretary from 2006-2007 and is one of the Association’s contact persons in Melbourne.


Unfolding Projects: Afghan and Australian artists’ books collaborations - presented with Dr Gali Weiss


  In August 2009 an email was circulated to a number of Australian women artists with an offer to participate in a project of dialogue with women in Afghanistan. The project grew as a response to the dire situation of many women in Afghanistan, particularly in relation to education; many women are illiterate because they were and often still are, forbidden, restricted, or discouraged from attending school.
By April 2010, 53 artists’ books by 14 women artists from various parts of Australia were delivered to Afghanistan, thereby beginning a process of creative collaboration between women situated in different places and spaces, immersed in different cultures and languages, attempting a productive connection through image and text.
Each artist had created a small series of concertinas of imagery consistent with her current studio practice, which were then delivered to Afghanistan and distributed amongst women participating in literacy education. The women were asked to relate to the images by writing their own words directly within. The general intent was for the concertinas to be sent back to Australia, then bound and exhibited to raise public awareness, and possibly sold to raise funds. The artistic intent, however, was not the fundraising aspect as much as to take part in a process of support and dialogue with women in Afghanistan. It was a manoeuvre that said, ‘you are not alone.’ The aim was to mobilise a conversation of sorts through the visuality and materiality of the artist’s book, despite the limitations of cultural, experiential, and physical distance.
Just over six months from their delivery to Afghanistan, 36 of the 53 books returned to Australia, each marked with handwritten stories and poems in Dari and Pashto. This paper discusses the processes and considerations involved in the project, and the partnership formed with SAWA (Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan) Australia.


Tuesday 27 September


1.30 - 3.00pm






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