Gillian Turner Dr

Portrait of Dr Gillian Turner Bachelor of Arts (Hons) 1992 and 
Doctor of Philosophy 1996

I am currently...
A practising artist and writer. Since finishing my studies at Deakin University, I have been offered a number of Residencies in Australia and Ireland. For the past 4 years, I have undertaken residencies in the Burren College of Art in County Clare and in 2011 at Cill Rialiag Artists Village, Ballinskelligs in County Kerry Ireland.

I chose Deakin because... 
It offered an interesting and challenging range of off-campus courses. It also provided stimulating workshops and feedback for those working alone.

After leaving uni I... 

Was involved with postdoctoral research, tutoring off-campus Literature students, teaching and developing my own visual arts practice.

At uni I was inspired by...
The rigour of the Literary Studies course and the opportunity I had to explore links between visual, literary and performance arts as I researched my PhD thesis.

Today, I am motivated by...
A passion for visual arts in every form, as well as continuing to explore connections between other art forms through installation works. Landscape and realisation of space is my central focus - a continuation of my doctoral research.

In my profession it is important...
To maintain drawing practice and keep up to date with contemporary thinking and processes. Experiencing the environment in Ireland has offered me not only totally new landscapes but the opportunity to meet and work with contemporary art practitioners from around Europe. Collaborative work is fundamental to professional development in the Arts, and I take every opportunity to share ideas.

Professionally, my proudest achievement to date is...
Being selected as one of only 24 artists from all residents who have worked at Cill Rialaig, in County Kerry Ireland, to contribute a work for a major event in London. "The Campaign for Wool", under the patronage of Prince Charles, is a showcase for everything about wool, and the exhibition was held at Somerset House in March 2013. After the exhibition, the works were returned to Ireland to be shown in the gallery at Cill Rialaig. My art work celebrates Australian merino wool through a mixed media 'portrait' of a merino ram from a local farm in Gnawarre in Victoria.

I feel a strong connection with...
The landscape in both Australia and Ireland.

Success to me is...
Achieving a sense of satisfaction creatively, socially and educationally. For me, each day offers the possibility of something new, the potential for a different direction in my creative work, meeting new minds and exploring possibilities.

In the future I would like to...
Be involved in more collaborative installation works and exhibitions in Australia and overseas. I shall be returning to Cill Rialaig, in Ireland in September 2014 to undertake another residency.

The single-most important issue in the world is...
Environmental and social degradation. Greater understanding about differences, compassion for others and social justice are fundamental to society.

The best thing I would recommend about Deakin is...
Its commitment to providing the best in undergraduate and postgraduate learning and research opportunities. The off-campus program is still considered to be among the finest in the world and it was a privilege to study in that way and also to be the first off-campus student to give the Occasional Address at my graduation in 1996.

My course helped my career...
In both education and arts practice by offering dynamic courses and great support from tutors and lecturers. Through Deakin, I found a new direction, and was inspired to explore inter-disciplinary aspects of the arts.

During my time at Deakin...
I received the prestigious Vice Chancellor's Prize on two occasions and an Australian Post Graduate Research Award. I was also involved in the Postgraduate Students Association, Faculty of Arts Board and was the student representative on a staff selection panel for the School of Literature. I am currently a member of the Deakin University Animal Welfare Ethics Committee and an active alumni member.

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