Project scope

Title: In Histories Staged

Location: Captain James Stirling memorial statue site and City of Perth Library town square, Hay Street, Perth CBD

Timing: Launch during Reconciliation Week 2022 (27 May to 3 June) and expand over two month period

Scope: Temporary outdoor exhibition of 4-6 installation works by First Nations and Indigenous artists

Budget: $105,500 (funding through DLGSC Aboriginal Arts Commissioning Fund, and Australia Council Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts)

Partnerships: Aboriginal Art Association of Australia, National Indigenous Arts Advocacy Australia, Aboriginal Art Centre Hub Western Australia, Whadjuk Elders

Curatorial Team: Len Collard - Noongar Elder, Professor & Australian Research Council Chief Investigator at the School of Indigenous Studies UWA (Indigenous Advisor)

Carly Lane - Curator Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art AGWA (Co-Curator)

Kelly Price - Report Author (Project Manager & Co-Curator)

Stakeholders: Australia Council, Western Australian Government, Aboriginal Art Association of Australia, City of Perth, Curatorial Team, Participating Artists

Audiences: Primary - Peaceful protesters and advocates for national reconciliation Secondary - Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural supporters

Other - Perth CBD passers-by who ‘happen’ across the site-specific exhibition

Student reflection

In Histories Staged responds to the continued recognition and celebration of colonial leaders in Western Australian history causing ongoing trauma and harm to First Nations peoples today. Specifically, In Histories Staged questions whether Western Australia’s first governor (1829–1839), Captain James Stirling, who led the Pinjarra massacre and had links to slavery, should be honoured with a memorial statue and name of place in Perth. Historically, political activist art has been an integral component of social movements, inciting real cultural change in communities. In Histories Stagedaims not to rewrite Western Australian history, but to consider the voices of First Nations peoples previously disregarded in documentation of imperial occupation. By collaborating closely with the Noongar community, the traditional owners of the Perth region and the Swan Coastal Plain, the curatorial project intends to bring awareness to the problematic past of James Stirling and the generational legacy of colonialism that continues to oppress First Nations peoples today.


Acknowledgement of Country

UNSW School of Art & Design stands on an important place of learning and exchange first occupied by the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples.

We acknowledge the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the land that our students and staff share, create and operate on. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend this respect to all First Nations peoples across Australia. Sovereignty has never been ceded.