March 8, 2017

Newcastle Museum X Critical Animals – Museum Collection Intervention Opportunity for Artists and Writers

Interested in making new work for CA2017?
Engage with the Newcastle Museum Collection and present within this historic setting!

Critical Animals is thrilled to be able to announce that we will be presenting our contributing artists, researchers and writers the opportunity to create new works that respond to objects within the Newcastle Museum’s collection and to present their resulting work within the Museum throughout the TiNA weekend.

We are looking for proposals for new works to be created that respond to the Museum’s collection, some of which are available on display in the Museum, with a full catalogue available online here at the Museum’s collection catalogue. The resultant work will be performed, read, exhibited or screened as a program within the Museum, activating the Museum’s exhibition space.
The Newcastle Museum has an extensive collection encompasing a broad range of social history relating directly to Newcastle’s history and the broader Australian story. Iconic objects, artworks and extensive archives of photographs and ephemera from the Hunter region have been collected, researched and housed within the collection which is carefully curated into the insightful, educational and entertaining exhibitions held within the Museum

Successful applicants will work alongside the Critical Animals team and the Newcastle Museum to develop and present a response to the museum archive and architecture, to be presented as a public program within the Museum.

We interviewed David Hampton from the Newcastle Museum to give you an insight into the Museum.

Could you tell us a little about the Newcastle Museum?

Newcastle Museum was founded in 1988 as a major Bicentennial project. Originally housed in a former brewery in Newcastle’s west end, the museum moved to its current location in Honeysuckle in August 2011. The museum collects preserves and interprets objects and stories for and about Newcastle. Our collection of over 12,500 objects contains everything from Permian era fossils to personal computers. This means our small team of permanent and casual staff gets to share a massive and diverse range of stories with people.

What is currently on exhibition within the Museum?

We are full up at the moment! In addition to our permanent exhibitions which focus on aspects of life in Newcastle over the last millennium or so (not to mention our dedicated interactive science centre – Supernova), we have two temporary exhibitions on. A Ticket to Paradise? Is an exhibition from the Australian National Archives exploring the experience of migrants and refugees settling in Australia after the Second World War.Perseverance is from the Japanese American National Museum and celebrates the artistry of traditional Japanese tattoos along with its rich history and influence on modern tattoo practices.

What is your favourite item within the collection that is on display at the museum? Can you tell us a little about its story and why it is so interesting to you?

This is always a tough one for me. I work across lots of disciplines and my favourites change with my focus. Some personal favourites include our set of Witches Shoes (If you haven’t heard of concealed ritual objects It’s well worth doing a quick google search), Dave Sand’s boxing shorts (Dave was an Indigenous boxer who trained locally, and is recognised as one of the greatest boxers to never win a world title) and our 1877 steam locomotive called the Buck (steam engines are a long term personal obsession – and fantastic beasts).

How has Newcastle Musuem been involved with TiNA in the past?

In the past we have given writers access to museum collection objects and stories so they can respond in prose.  We have hosted podcast making workshops on board our original Newcastle  electric tram. We’ve hosted Science talks/dance parties in our science centre and hosted theatre performances in our BHP and coal mining gallery.

Can you give us any ideas as to how you can envisage an artist working with the collections and how that might be presented throughout the TiNA weekend?

I’m always really excited to work with people on new ways to activate collection objects and stories. Our exhibition schedule is planned years in advance so exhibitions are largely off the table. However,   we have the space and the stories for prose, performance and poetry. We have objects for artists, photographers and designers to respond to. I would love to see illustrators and comic book writers respond to our collection. Most of all, I like the museum to be a place capable of surprising people with new ideas and perspectives. Which I think means that TiNA and the museum can get along just fine.

Download the Call for Proposal Info Pack.
Submit your proposal via our Proposal Form.
Send your questions to

You can find out more about the Newcatle Museum here.
You can find the Newcastle Museum’s cultural collection’s database here