The dedication of the 17th Biennale of Sydney to the life and continuing influence of Nick Waterlow is a fitting tribute, says COFA Dean Professor Ian Howard.

Nick was the Biennale's most prolific artistic director, curating the 1979, 1986 and 1988 exhibitions and was Chair of the International Selection Committee in 2000. For 11 years (1994-2005), he also served on the Biennale's Board.

Up until his untimely death last year, Nick was the Director of COFA's Ivan Dougherty Gallery and a senior lecturer in the School of Art History and Art Education.

"The enormous contribution Nick Waterlow has made to placing Australian Art into an international context has been repeatedly and generously recognised throughout the opening week of the Sydney Biennale," says Professor Howard.

The keynote address of the Biennale's Opening Week Forum has been named in Waterlow's memory.

The Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council also announced the Nick Waterlow OAM Curatorial Fellowship to enable young curators to work with future Biennale Directors.

Video stars at the Biennale

Professor Ross Harley and COFA graduate Andrew Frost have produced a video work by German artist Christian Jankowski for the Biennale.

The production, Tableax Vivant TV:LIVE from the Inside includes performances by Anne Fulwood, Angela Bishop, Kylie Kwong and Fenella Kernebone.

Shot in two weeks leading up to the Biennale with the assistance of COFA students and alumni Hugh Marchant, Josephine Skinner and Karl Emmett, the production is being shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art and on ABC TV's Art Nation videos over the next three weeks.

"I gave the media personalities a briefing, but they came up with their own script," says Jankowski, who plays with notions of art, reporting and being part of an audience. The video also features cameos by Professors Ian Howard and Ross Harley.

Students shine

Nine students from Art Theory, Art Education and the Masters of Art Administration at COFA are involved in a range of professional projects with the Biennale - from writing educational materials and liaising with artists through to taking guided tours around Cockatoo Island.

"The students get academic credit for the work they do," says Kim Snepvangers, the Head of the School of Art History and Art Education. "It's the second time COFA has been involved in Public Programs with the Sydney Biennale - our students were also involved with the Venice Biennale in 2009."

"How often do you get to meet 60 artists from around the world in the one spot?" asks Kate Jackson, who is enrolled in the Master of Arts Administration at COFA. "That in itself is really exciting!"

"You get a much deeper understanding of contemporary art," adds Jackie Milanov, who is enrolled in the same course. "The experience has been invaluable."

COFA students take the free public daily tours that leave from the Cockatoo Island Education Hub at 11am and 1pm weekdays, and on weekends.

Media contact: Susi Hamilton | UNSW media | 0422 934 024