Gertrude Emerging Writers Program

Gertrude Contemporary is pleased to relaunch the Emerging Writers Program, an initiative focused on facilitating professional development for early practice arts writers committed to pursuing a career in the arena of contemporary art and criticism. First initiated in 2005, the program has since this time connected 47 writers with 43 mentors towards the research, development and publication of new pieces of writing on artists’ practices, exhibitions and contemporary arts discourse in Australia. Over the past 15 years the cast of contributing mentors to the program represents many of the most important and influential figures of the Australian art world, including prominent institutional directors and curators, philosophers, cultural critics, journal editors, and independent writers and curators.

For the 2020 program, emphasis will shift away from focusing on writing about individual artists and exhibitions, and instead cast broader speculative perspectives upon the repositioning and potential futures in light of the current pandemic, and shifting global political landscape. Towards this, writers will be connected with individual mentors and embark on a process of researching and writing essays with the support, guidance and critical contributions of the invited 2020 mentors. Writers will be encouraged to develop new pieces of writing that reflect upon the current and future impacts of the evolving health, economic and social-political crises on the realms of arts and culture. Essays might reflect upon the impacts and envisaged changes to how art is experienced and consumed, how and for whom it is produced, what physical contexts might remain for it, and how this situation might contribute to or amplify a shift away from experiencing art in real life.

Gertrude invites applications from writers based anywhere in Australia to express their interest in participating in the Emerging Writers Program 2020. There are four opportunities to be paired with and mentored by four leading thinkers and writers over the course of a three-month process toward the development of a long form essay that will upon completion be published by Gertrude in partnership with Art Ink. First Nations writers are strongly encouraged to apply.

The four writers selected to participate in the program will each receive an honorarium of $750.
 Gertrude Contemporary is thrilled to partner with leading publisher ART INK towards the publication of the outcomes of the Gertrude Emerging Writers Program in late 2020.

2020 Mentors

Tristen Harwood is an Indigenous writer, cultural critic and independent researcher, a descendent of Numbulwar where the Rose River opens onto the Gulf of Carpentaria. He lives and works in the Northern Territory and Naarm.

Tara McDowell, Associate Professor and Director of Curatorial Practice at Monash University Art Design & Architecture, Melbourne

Lisa Radford, artist, lecturer and writer, The Saturday Paper

Natalie Thomas, artist and writer,

Application Process

Applications should include the following as a single document saved in PDF format:
 · A cover letter discussing your interest in the program and indicating which mentor you’d like to me paired with (max 1 page)· A current CV (max 2 pages)· 2 examples of recent writing on art, contemporary culture, political analysis or philosophy (max 4 pages)
To submit your application please email the above material to on or before 11:59pm on Monday 27 July 2020.

If you have questions about the program or application process please email before midday Friday 24 July.

The Gertrude Contemporary Emerging Writers Program is generously supported by the Copyright Agency through the Cultural Fund.


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