Voices in the Archive

Fri 7 Jul 2017 5:00pm7:15pm

Join us for a viewing of Kate Durham’s SIEV X artwork, followed by a panel discussion featuring Professor Gillian Whitlock in conversation with Julian Burnside AO QC, Kate Durham, Professor Andreas Schloenhardt and Adele Rice AM. The panel will explore legal, educational and artistic responses to the plight of refugees, and the vital role played by libraries and archives in preserving their narratives.

The University of Queensland’s Fryer Library houses important collections that document the experience of refugees, including the Julian Burnside and Kate Durham Collection and the Elaine Smith Collection.

The University of Queensland’s Fryer Library holds 272 painted panels, oil on composition board, which form three works by Kate Durham, collectively titled SIEV X. The signature work is an array of 153 panels, each 20 centimetres square. The title SIEV X references the acronym for Suspected Irregular Entry Vessel X. It is a response to a maritime tragedy that occurred in 2001, when a dilapidated Indonesian fishing boat carrying over 400 asylum seekers sank on its way to Australia. Almost all on board drowned.

The tragedy occurred during a federal election campaign in which asylum seekers and border protection were major issues following the establishment of the Howard Government’s ‘Pacific Solution’ and the ‘Tampa affair’.


Julian Burnside AO QC is an Australian barrister who practises principally in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law. He is also a human rights and refugee advocate and author. His book From Nothing to Zero: letters from refugees in Australia was published in 2003.

Kate Durham is a Melbourne-based artist whose work has been shown in Australia, Japan, England, and the USA. Her artwork SIEV X is held in the Fryer Library. In 2001, she established Spare Rooms for Refugees, a project to provide community accommodation for asylum seekers. In 2002, she travelled to Nauru with a BBC journalist and provided the first images of Australia’s ‘Pacific Solution’.

Adele Rice AM is the Chairperson of Friends of HEAL (Home of Expressive Arts and Learning), a foundation that exists to provide creative arts therapy to young people of refugee backgrounds. Adele was the founding Principal of Milpera, Brisbane’s high school for refugee and migrant students. She has been described as one of Queensland’s most inspirational educators, and recognised with many awards.

Professor Gillian Whitlock is currently an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow in the School of Communication and Arts at The University of Queensland, working with the archives of asylum-seeker letters that are held in the Fryer Library.

Professor Andreas Schloenhardt is a Professor of Criminal Law in the School of Law at The University of Queensland. His areas of research include human trafficking and migration and refugee law.

Viewing of the SIEV X artwork in the Fryer Library, Level 4, Duhig Tower (#2)
The University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus
Drinks and canapes served in the foyer of the Fryer Library
Panel discussion in the Auditorium, Level 2, Sir Llew Edwards Building (#14)

RSVP by Monday, 3 July 2017
Register online at http://bit.ly/voicesinthearchive or phone (07) 3365 6362


Thumbnail Image: Kate Durham Panel from SIEV X 2002