Select Society

Postal Address:

ADFAS Canberra
PO Box 8
Deakin West, ACT 2600

ADFAS Canberra offers a yearly program of one hour illustrated lectures by overseas and Australian lecturers, chosen for their communication skills and expert knowledge. Occasional half-day sessions (Special Interest Mornings) are also held when topics can be examined in more detail.

Other events, including visits to galleries, exhibitions and places of artistic or heritage significance are arranged, primarily with a view to supporting community arts. Regular newsletters provide information on lectures, speakers and other activities.


Committee 2017

Lola Wilkins

Membership enquiries:

Programme for 2017

For venues see below under “Venues and Times of Lectures”

Monday, 6 March 2017
Sarah Deere-Jones
The History of the harp: from Mediterranean Antiquity to 20th Century Europe

The harp is one of the world’s most ancient and beloved instruments throughout history. We will follow its development and improvements from thousands of years BC, to its arrival in northern Europe, to the huge changes in the Renaissance and 19th centuries, and leading to the highly mechanised and beautiful instrument we see in orchestras and as solo instruments today. Sarah will demonstrate the development and evolving sound and repertoire of the harp by performing on her own reproduction and antique instruments.

Monday, 15 May 2017
Dominic Riley
Lost on the Titanic:  The making of the Great Omar binding Sangorski & Sutcliffe 

Sangorski & Sutcliffe is a famous book binding firm founded in London in 1901 which is especially known for its sumptuous bindings. Their most famous work was The Great Omar – an ornately jewelled copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. When it was completed in 1912, it was the most elaborate and opulent binding ever created. This is the story of how and why it was made, of the tragedy that befell it and of an attempt to recreate it by one young man.

Tuesday 16 May 2017 – Special Interest Morning
Dominic Riley
The Whole Art of the Book

The art of bookbinding is arguably the most complex of all handcrafts. This Special Interest Morning tells the fascinating story of everything that makes a traditional hand bound book,  including a demonstration of some book binding techniques , a ‘show and tell’ of some of Dominic’s interesting and unusual books, and a ‘clinic’ where you can bring books from home in order to learn about their bindings and how to care for them .

Monday, 19 June 2017
*Sasha Grishin
Constructing a History of Australian Art – a local or international perspective

Australian art has frequently been seen as exclusively a provincial echo of the art of Europe or America. Today we can abandon this perspective and see developments in Australian art from a viewpoint located in our part of the world and from this obtain a fresh insight into Australian art history.

Monday, 17 July 2017
Gerald Deslandes
Munch and the Nordic Imagination

Munch’s remote world of frustration and emotional extremes, along with the fantastical imagery of the Viking sagas, are features of this lecture, as well as the debate about associating geographical and climate factors with particular temperaments and cultures. Munch’s work will be viewed in the light of other Scandinavian artists such as Hans Frederik Gude, Eilif Peterssen, Harriet Backer, Aaasta Hansteen and Jo Nesbo.

Tuesday 18 July 2017 – Special Interest Morning
Gerald Deslandes
Rubens to Rembrandt: The art of Brabant, Flanders and the Dutch Republic

The art of Protestant Holland will be compared to the reassertion of Catholicism in the works of Rubens, Van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens, along with the artists of the Counter Reformation using drama, movement, light and colour to engage the emotions. In glorifying sovereigns such as Marie de Medici, they also combined religious motifs with secular imagery. As well as comparing the work of Rubens to earlier artists, Gerald will also trace the fantastical traditions of Flemish art from Hieronymous Bosch to Peter Breughel the Elder.

Monday, 14 August 2017
Andrew Spira
The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus was the most innovative and influential school of design in the 20th century, combining avant-garde ideas about abstract art with a thoroughly conscientious approach to social reform and domestic living. Employing some of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century (including Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee) the school combined an interest in nature with faith in industrial design, revolutionising art education and yielding a range of classic designs that still have an impact on the style of our everyday lives. The lecture will also explore the link between the Bauhaus and Australia: one influential Bauhaus teacher, Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack, emigrated to Australia in 1940 and taught art and design at Geelong Grammar School for 15 years.

Monday, 18 September 2017
Peter Warwick
The Golden Age of the Royal Navy

The period 1756-1815 witnessed the rise of Britain’s global naval supremacy through the Seven Years War, the War of American Independence and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, laying the foundations for the nineteenth century British Empire. Contemporary paintings, illustrations and caricatures capture the essence of this turbulent age.

Tuesday 19 September 2017 – Special Interest Morning
Peter Warwick
Nelson and Napoleon – Trafalgar and Waterloo

These two extraordinary men were personal rivals, one the whale the other the elephant. Who is the whale or the elephant and why? We shall look at how artists interpreted the events and influenced our understanding of what actually happened at Trafalgar and Waterloo.

Monday, 23 October 2017
Lucia Gahlin
The Mythologising of a Pharaoh: Akhenaten, deformed or divine?

Akhenaten (c1352 – c1336 BC) is probably the most controversial of all the Egyptian pharaohs. He made extraordinary changes to religion and art, all the more striking when we consider how conventional the ancient Egyptians tended to be in these respects. He replaced the traditional polytheistic religion with the worship of one solar deity and the art is unlike that of any other pharaoh’s reign. He chose to be represented in a most singular fashion. Did he really look like this? Or was his representation determined by ideology? Lucia will explore these questions and consider the mythologising of a most unusual pharaoh – a mythologising that began soon after his death and has continued through to the present day.

Tuesday 24 October 2017 – Special Interest Morning
Lucia Gahlin
The Art of Two of Ancient Egypt’s most Extraordinary Queens: Nefertiti and Hatshepsut.

The SIM will explore the art of two of Ancient Egypt’s most fascinating royal women. Nefertiti (14th Century BC) is arguably the most famous queen of pharaonic Egypt. Her bust displayed in Berlin is iconic. Wife of Akhenaten, probably the most controversial of all the Egyptian pharaohs. Hatshepsut (15 century BC) is a rare example of a female pharaoh, who was sometimes represented as a woman, and at other times as a strong, bare-chested male ruler. The art and architecture of her reign will shed light on her extraordinary achievements.

Monday, 20 November 2017
*Helen Ennis
On the Art of Photography

From its inception photography has been changing the ways we think about the world, the visual arts more generally and their role in society. In this lecture Helen Ennis will focus on some of the revolutionary changes that occurred during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her lecture will be generously illustrated with photographic works produced in Australia and overseas by a great diversity of photographers.

Monday 4 December 2017
ADFAS Canberra AGM and Christmas Party
#At The Commonwealth Club, Forster Crescent, Yarralumla, commencing at 5.45pm


*Australian lecturer. We are very pleased to include excellent Australian lecturers; join us to hear these speakers who are at the forefront of their respective subjects

Venues and Times of Lectures – PLEASE NOTE

Morning lectures will be held at the The Commonwealth Club, Forster Crescent, Yarralumla.

Evening lectures are held at the Shine Dome, Mc Coy Circuit, Acton.

Morning lectures start at 10.00 am and evening lectures start at 6.00 pm. They last an hour and refreshments are served afterwards.

For lectures at the Shine Dome, paid parking is available at the Nishi building and in areas around the Shine Dome and the National Film and Sound Archive. Free parking is available at the Commonwealth Club for lectures and SIMs held there.

The cost of attending 8 lectures is included in the membership subscription and admission is by name badge.

In addition to the 8 lectures, there are four Special Interest Mornings on Tuesday 16 May, Tuesday 18 July, Tuesday 19 September and Tuesday 24 October held at The Commonwealth Club, Yarralumla at 10.15 am.  Each of these sessions runs for about two and half hours with a break for morning tea midway.  Attendance costs are $45 per member and $50 per guest. Those attending need to register in advance.


The annual subscription in 2017 is $190 per person, with a $10 surcharge for those choosing not to receive messages by email. The subscription covers attendance and catering at all lectures (eight in 2017). Special Interest Mornings (four in 2017) and other events attract a separate charge. Admission is by name badge.


Visitors’ are most welcome.
The visitor fee is $25 per lecture with prior notice to the Membership Secretary.

Visitors are also welcome to SIMS (Special Interest Mornings) the fee for SIMS is $50 and includes morning tea at the Commonwealth Club. Please contact the membership secretary Terry O’Brien: or 0427 799 544

Canberra Newsletters