Postal Address:

ADFAS Armidale
PO Box 1029
Armidale NSW 2350

ABN:  81 734 702 341

In 2021 ADFAS Armidale is providing for its members and guests a program of ten illustrated lectures, presented by overseas and Australian lecturers chosen for their communication skills and expert knowledge in their fields.

Committee 2021

Chairman: Stephen Gow
Mob: 0412 487 492

Vice Chairman: Julia Hardman
Mob: 0427 753 124

Secretary: Don Hardman
Mob: 0427 072 902


Treasurer: Tom O’Connor
Ph: (02) 6778 3684

Membership Secretary: Marcella O’Connor
Ph: (02) 6778 3684

Membership Enquiries:


ADFAS Armidale will offer online digital lectures until such time as it is safe and practical to resume face to face lectures, having regard to public health determinations in New South Wales, travelling constraints for lecturers and the availability of our local venue(s).  Please check with our society at, as circumstances are likely change through the year.

See also further advice following details of the 2021 Lecture Program, below.


15 February 2021
Thomas Hardy – Novelist and Poet
Susannah Fullerton B.A, OAM M.Sc. (Arts) (Australian Lecturer)
Digital Lecture or Venue TBD

Thomas Hardy trained as an architect, wrote novels for money, but his greatest love was poetry. His life was long and controversial, with two marriages, novels that shocked the public, and an amazing range of poems. In his work Hardy captured a vanishing pastoral life. But he also hoped for change and fought against the strict morality of his day. Hear the story of his rise from poverty, his controversial funeral, and discover the power and brilliance of his works.

Susannah Fullerton has been passionate about literature for as long as she can remember. She holds a post-graduate degree in Victorian literature from the University of Edinburgh. She teaches literature in Sydney and in 2017 was awarded an OAM for Services to Literature and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW. Susannah’s lecture about Jane Austen was very warmly received in 2020 and we are delighted she is returning as part of our 2021 program.

4 March 2021
The Classical Reinvented – the Brilliant Legacy of Sir Christopher Wren
Ian Swankie UK (Arts Society)
Digital Lecture

In this talk we wind the clock back to the seventeenth century and explore Wren’s magnificent legacy including City Churches, the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich and, of course, his greatest masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral. Wren was primarily a mathematician and astronomer and harnessed these disciplines in his work. We will also look at the origins of the classical orders of architecture and discover how Wren’s love of this ancient system is to be seen everywhere in his work.

Ian Swankie is a Londoner with a passion for art and architecture, An official guide at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Guildhall Art Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral, he is also a qualified and active freelance London guide and leads regular tours for various corporations and organisations. Since 2012 he has led a popular weekly art lecture group in his home town, Richmond, West London. He is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Art Scholars, a City livery company.

14 April 2021
Two women paint the French Revolution: Adélaïde Labille-Guiard & Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun
Professor Peter McPhee AM (Australian Lecturer)
Digital Lecture or Venue TBD

Two of the most prestigious and talented portraitists of the late-eighteenth century were Adélaïde Labille-Guiard and court painter Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun. While the latter was appalled by the French Revolution and fled Paris as early as October 1789, Labille-Guiard remained and painted the most prominent revolutionaries. She bought a country house twelve miles east of the capital in 1792 to escape the turmoil, but never disavowed the Revolution. This lecture outlines the lives and brilliant achievements of these two extraordinary women.

Peter McPhee recently retired as Provost of the University of Melbourne, with particular responsibilities for the quality of teaching, learning and the campus experience. He has published widely on France during the tumultuous years of the French Revolution. Professor McPhee is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.  He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012. Peter has lectured to ADFAS societies over many years.

13 May 2021
Jewel of the Crown – Sainte Chapelle
Nicole Mezey BA, MA, FHEA, FRSA, UK (Arts Society)
Digital Lecture

The Sainte Chapelle is a building of beauty and technical innovation in the heart of Paris, possibly the most perfect surviving medieval ensemble. It was designed not only to celebrate France and its kings, but as a shrine for significant Christian relics, including the Crown of Thorns. Built in just 5 years (1243-1248), this extraordinary church reflects all the resources available to a king. This lecture looks at its architecture and sculpture but, above all, its exquisite stained glass.

Nicole Mezey studied Art History at the Universities of Sussex, York and Paris. She was Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast until 2009, managing and teaching and conducting annual, international study tours. She also established the Department of Art History, the first in the north of Ireland. Nicole now lives in London and is a freelance lecturer, working for organisations including National Museums, the National Trust, Queen’s University and private cultural bodies. This will be Nicole’s third ADFAS lecture series.

9 June 2021
War and Peace: Ben Quilty and George Gittoes
Gavin Fry, MA MPhil (Australian Lecturer)
Digital Lecture or Venue TBD

Since the end of the Vietnam War over forty years ago, Australians have served as peacekeepers in many parts of the world. While the title might sound benign, their experiences can be as dramatic and dangerous as in any world war. Ben Quilty and George Gittoes both worked as war artists within these small expeditionary forces, bringing home a truly human stories, filled with high emotion and drama befitting artists of deep feeling and conscience.

Gavin Fry is a writer, artist and museum professional with fifty years’ experience in curatorial and management positions in Australian museums, galleries and educational institutions. He is the author of 25 books on Australian art and history and a large number of catalogue and journal essays. In retirement Gavin exhibits as a painter in Newcastle and Melbourne. He also designs and publishes books on behalf of other writers and artists.

8 July 2021
Charles Rennie Mackintosh: More Than Just A Tea Room
Stella Lyons MA, UK (Arts Society)
Digital Lecture – delivered live from the UK (not recorded)

Did you know that when Charles Rennie Mackintosh died, his entire estate was valued at just £88? Glaswegian-born Mackintosh, a designer, architect and artist, was the foremost Celtic exponent of Art Nouveau, and had a considerable influence on European art. But he is an even more enigmatic figure today than when he was alive. Both Mackintosh’s, and his wife Margaret Macdonald’s work have a distinctive character, one that captured the transition between the Victorian era and the Modern age.

Stella Grace Lyons gained her BA from the University of Bristol, and her MA at the University of Warwick, both in the History of Art. She studied Venetian art in Venice, Renaissance art at the British Institute of Florence, also attending drawing classes at the prestigious Charles H. Cecil studios there. Stella runs her own art history courses and lectures regularly in the UK and Europe. She also works as an artist’s model for the renowned figurative artist, Harry Holland.

12 August 2021
John Peter Russell: Australian artist and friend of the Impressionists
Lucrezia Walker UK (Arts Society)
Digital Lecture

Impressionist painter Claude Monet rated Russell’s work highly, and Matisse claimed Russell taught him everything he knew about colour. Sculptor Rodin believed that in the future Russell would be as famous as himself, Monet and Renoir. This did not turn out to be the case. However, during their lifetimes Russell was more successful than Van Gogh. What reversed this situation? How do artists become famous? Russell’s extraordinary story, rarely told, is of a life devoted to adventure, love and art.

Lucrezia Walker lectured and taught for the National Gallery and is a regular speaker at the Royal Academy, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. She studied, lived and worked in Italy, and has 20 years’ experience leading European cultural tours. Lucrezia teaches London Art History at the University of North Carolina, was Lay Canon (Visual Arts) at St Paul’s Cathedral, and continues to serve on its Visual Arts Committee. She has authored several books on 19th-20th century artists and art movements.

9 September 2021
The Aztec Legacy:  Continuity and Change
Chloë Sayer UK (Arts Society)
Digital Lecture or venue TBD

The Aztecs of central Mexico have been described as warlike and bloodthirsty, yet their creative achievements were breathtaking. They flourished between 1325-1521, and as a late civilisation benefitted from advances made by earlier societies.  Despite the Spanish Conquest, many native arts and beliefs have survived to the present day. Náhuatl, the official language of the Aztec empire, is spoken by approximately two million people. Textile and ceramic traditions, mask-carving, dances, festivals, and cultural celebrations all have their roots in the past.

Chloë Sayer is a scholar, author and curator specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. A fluent Spanish-speaker, she spent many years researching ancient traditions and contemporary craft skills. In 2016 the Mexican Government awarded her the prestigious Ohtli medal for her long-standing commitment to Mexican culture.  She has worked in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum and published widely in her field.  Chloe also leads cultural tours and has worked on television documentaries about Mexico and Peru. 

14 October 2021
Pompeii: Digging Deeper with the Muddy Archaeologist
Gillian Hovell BA (Hons) UK (Arts Society)
Digital Lecture or venue TBD

The many kinds of art found in Pompeii reveal a thoroughly modern world, in which craftsmanship and artistry were prevalent in citizens’ everyday lives.  We explore how the Roman Empire provided the materials and opportunity for this artistic wealth.  Pompeii’s burial captured a moment in time when the Empire was a multicultural, vibrant and growing power, colouring the lives of rich and poor alike. 
Its triumph and tragedy still speak to us across the millennia.

Gillian Hovell, ‘The Muddy Archaeologist’, is an award-winning freelance writer, public speaker and archaeologist with extensive experience lecturing and leading tours to the ancient world.  After graduating from Exeter University, Gillian worked for BBC TV, specialising in archaeology and ancient history. She now lectures at the British Museum and York University and delivers courses in the UK and abroad. She maintains ‘history and archaeology are not just about the past, they’re everywhere, and add colour, depth and meaning to our lives today.’


10 November 2021
Khayamiya: A History of the Egyptian Tentmakers
Sam Bowker (Australian Lecturer)
Digital Lecture or venue TBD

With needles, scissors and thimbles, the Tentmakers of Cairo sew spectacular walls of colour. These ‘Khayamiya’ appliques are used to transform public spaces into vibrant ceremonial pavilions. They inspired the paper cut-outs of Henri Matisse, were collected as souvenirs by the ANZACs, and are now an endangered art form in Egypt. This presentation features unpublished archival photographs and actual textiles to showcase the transformations in Khayamiya over the past 150 years.

[NB: Jenny Bowker (Sam’s mother) presented a similar topic for ADFAS almost ten years ago. She focused on the living tentmakers, whilst Sam considers their history, especially the Khedival period from 1867 to 1914.]

Dr Sam Bowker is the Senior Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture at Charles Sturt University. Beyond developing Australia’s leading ‘Islamic art and design’ subject for university students, he has curated diverse international exhibitions and published widely on the history of Khayamiya.

The 2021 AGM of ADFAS Armidale Inc. will be held at 5.30pm, prior to this Lecture.


Our lectures are normally held at 6pm at The Michael Hoskins Centre at The Armidale School (TAS), followed by a light supper; or occasionally at the Arts Theatre at the University of New England.  Members will be advised as soon as arrangements can be made for the resumption of live lectures in 2021, and this web page updated.

The Armidale School provides ADFAS Armidale the use of the TAS Michael Hoskins Centre or the TAS Memorial Hall as a venue for lectures, with related technical support.  ADFAS Armidale is indebted to the School for its ongoing support to our Society.

 The University of New England has provided ADFAS Armidale with the use of the UNE Arts Theatre from time to time at a discounted fee to support community arts initiatives.



Links to online video lectures, where provided in place of a live lecture, will be provided to all members by email shortly prior to the advertised dates in this program.  These are generally produced on YouTube© or a similar online platform, which can be enjoyed on a Smart TV or other television by casting the broadcast from your digital device.

Pending the resumption of live lectures when Covid-19 protocols allow, ADFAS Armidale encourages its members to consider gathering in small groups, to responsibly enjoy lectures in each others’ company.

To respect the intellectual property rights of lecturers, we ask that digital content is not forwarded to third parties/non-members.


Our annual membership subscription is $140 per person for the year’s season of ten lectures.
A discount of $50 will be provided 2021, in recognition of the disruption to the 2020 program arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gift Vouchers are available for membership subscriptions.


Membership Secretary:  Marcella O’Connor
Ph: (02) 6778-3684

VISITORS – LIVE LECTURES (Check Try Booking for details once known)

Once we are able to resume unrestricted use of our venue, guests will be welcome – a $25 fee applies per lecture.
Full Time Students (over 18 years of age) guest fee $5 per lecture.
Secondary Students (in uniform) Free

There is no fee for visiting ADFAS members.
Gift Vouchers can be provided for Guest Tickets.

ADFAS Armidale and the Rotary Club of Armidale Central are pleased to announce the continuation of their partnership in 2021.

Grants are available for individual young people and not for profit organisations with members up to 26 years of age to support their involvement in the arts.

Applications are now open.

Funding of $32,000 has supported grants and scholarships across a wide range of the Arts for young people in the New England Region.

In 2020 grants were awarded to the New England Conservatorium of Music [NECOM] supporting “New England Sings!” More than seven hundred students and staff come together for a weekend in October in Armidale as a mass choir, accompanied by young musicians and dancers. It is a truly inclusive event with two public performances at the University of New England. The program was suspended in 2020 and the grant remains available for 2021.

At Walcha Central School musical instruments which have been unused for many years have been serviced and a new instrument has been purchased. The school has started a band and adults from the local community are now setting up a Community Band.

Kanaya Moran, through Backtrack, applied for a grant to help with the creation of a mural in the Armidale CBD called “Coming Home”.

Each year grants also support Tertiary Music Scholarships. In 2020 these were awarded to Disa Smart and Elinor Warwick. Disa is now enrolled in a Bachelor of Music (Performance) at Melbourne University and Elinor is enrolled in a Bachelor of Music (Classical Performance) at the University of Adelaide. Applications are dealt with separately.

Guidelines and Application Forms are also attached. For any enquiries please email or telephone Graeme Fordham on 0402 598 107.

Thank you for your time.

With warm regards,
Graeme Fordham AM
Young Arts Grants Coordinator
ADFAS Armidale and the Rotary Club of Armidale Central