Saturday, November 12, 2016

Accomplished alumnus and art historian awarded Victoria fellowship

The Victoria University of Wellington 2017 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to Victoria alumnus Dr Damian Skinner.

Director of Victoria’s Stout Research Centre Professor Lydia Wevers, says the Centre is delighted to be hosting Dr Skinner.

“Dr Skinner is an immensely productive scholar who has had a big impact on how we think about art. His project on Theo Schoon will add a new perspective to the history of modernism in Aotearoa. We are very much looking forward to Dr Skinner’s arrival,” says Professor Wevers.

Dr Skinner received his Doctor of Philosophy in Art History from Victoria in 2006. He has spent his career working in museums in New Zealand and overseas, and is currently the Curator of Applied Art and Design at Auckland Museum. Dr Skinner describes himself as a historian of artistic modernism, with an interest in Pākehā and Māori art in the twentieth century.

“I am looking forward to having a year to dedicate to a single writing project—that feels like a rare privilege,” says Dr Skinner.

He has written and co-written 15 books including The Carver and the Artist: Māori Art in the Twentieth Century, and his most recent The Māori Meeting House: Introducing the Whare Whakairo I. He has also written a large number of catalogues, essays and articles.

Dr Skinner has received numerous Creative New Zealand and New Zealand writing grants and awards, with his book The Passing World, The Passage of Life: John Hovell and the Art of Kōwhaiwhai winning the New Zealand Post Illustrated Non-fiction Book Award in 2011.

As the 2017 J.D. Stout Fellow, Dr Skinner will complete a manuscript on Dutch artist Theo Schoon, with the aim of understanding artistic culture in settler societies and looking at Mr Schoon’s time in New Zealand.

“He came to Aotearoa in 1939, and lived an extraordinary life at the forefront of artistic, social and cultural movements that we take for granted now. I want to introduce the messy complexity of how he lived and what he achieved as an artist to a wider audience.”

Dr Skinner also has a Masters of Indigenous Studies from the University of Otago and a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Auckland.

Dr Skinner will start his fellowship at the Stout Centre on 1 February 2017.

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