Simon Sheikh

Ilaria Vanni Sydney

Lives in Sydney and works in the area of Italian Studies at the Institute for International Studies (IIS) at the University of Technology, Sydney. Her research interests are broadly in the fields of material and visual culture in relation to social change. In 2004 she has been awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery grant for a project on the traffic between political theory, visual culture, activism and media in Italy in the last decade. Other current research includes the IIS collaborative project "Contesting Eurovisions", exploring the possibility to open a space for reflection on European cultural identity beyond the official discourse on 'shared values' promoted by the European Union, and to consider analytically the social and cultural impact of alternative visions of Europe.
Ilaria’s research often generates exhibitions and installations. In Australia she produced "Stitches: Fare il Punto", at the Australian Maritime Museum in 2001. The show explored the role of domestic craft in the lives of Italian Australian women through the work of 8 artists. In 2003 Ilaria curated Museum of Sydney's "Italiani di Sydney", the first exhibition of its kind to question and celebrate the diversity of Italian culture in Sydney. In 2003 she also co-produced with Jonathan Jones and Panos Couros the sound/text/object installation "Sound of Missing Objects", at the Performance Space in Sydney. The installation based on her PhD research explored the politics of museums in relation to Aboriginal objects exhibited and traded in 19th century World’s Fairs. Ilaria has also worked at the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Federal Government arts funding and advisory body, in the area of multicultural arts policy. She sits on the management board of the cultural organisation Information and Cultural Exchange in Sydney.