ADFAS Canberra welcomes you.

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 where topics can be examined in more detail.

Regular newsletters provide information on lectures, speakers and other activities.


Lectures are held at the National Library of Australia, Parkes Place, Canberra.
Free parking is available in the National Library carpark after 5.30pm.

In 2023 lectures will be held on a Tuesday evening.
Lectures start at 6.00 pm. They last an hour and refreshments are served afterwards.

Find full details of the 2023 program here

Annual Membership Single – $225
Annual Membership Double / Couple – $445
The annual membership covers attendance and catering at all lectures.  Admission is by name badge.
Click here to join or email:

Please note:    Special Interest Mornings and other events attract a separate charge.

Guests welcome:
Guests and visitors are most welcome, at a charge of $35 per lecture.
We ask guests to please register beforehand with our Membership Secretary at

For all enquiries please email:
Postal Address: PO Box 8 Deakin West ACT 2600
ABN: 65 303 903 455

Committee 2023
Chair: Sue Healy
Vice Chair: Alex Hagan
Secretary: Janet Lynch
Public Officer: David Campbell
Treasurer / Membership Secretary: Myra Croke   Ph: 0419 433 170


Tuesday 14 March 2023
Breaking the Ice: Jackson Pollock and American Abstract Expressionism
Presented by Anna Moszynska
Venue & Time: National Library of Australia, 6pm.

What caused American painting to take off as it did in the mid-20th century?  The painter Willem de Kooning attributed its initial success to the work of his friend Jackson Pollock whom he credited with ‘breaking the ice’.  This talk looks at the career of the famous action painter and assesses how his contribution to painting (including his infamous drip technique) contributed to Abstract Expressionism becoming an artistic phenomenon worldwide.  Pollock’s path left a particularly significant legacy in terms of future developments.

Anna is a London-based lecturer and writer who oversaw the development of the first Master’s Degree in contemporary art at Sotheby’s Institute in the 1990s.  She taught at institutions including The City Lit, Royal Academy and Tate London, has lectured in cities ranging from Dubai to New York, currently teaches in London and Paris and runs her own courses.  Anna’s books include Abstract Art (1990, 2020) and Sculpture Now (2013).  She enjoys introducing art to audiences in a lively and approachable way to make modern and contemporary art both accessible and interesting.

Wednesday 12 April 2023
Special Interest Morning
Presented by Pamille BERG  AO
Venue and Time: Australian Parliament House, 10am

Ms Berg has worked in the field of public art master planning, coordination and delivery of public art programs, cultural planning, community consultation, and arts advocacy in the USA, Europe, Australia, and Asia for over forty years.

After completing postgraduate education in classics and ancient art history/archaeology, Ms Berg worked for Romaldo Giurgola AO FRAIA FAIA while in Rome in 1978/9, then at Mitchell/Giurgola Architects in Philadelphia from 1980.  After transferring to Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp Architects (MGT) in Australia in 1982, Ms Berg served as MGT’s Art/Craft Coordinator for the Australian Parliament House project from 1982 through 1989, working closely with Giurgola and leading the team responsible for the planning and execution of major works of art and craft commissioned for the building and landscape.  Ms Berg served as a partner in the MGT firm from 1988 – 2002, when she established Pamille Berg Consulting Pty Ltd.

The Commissioned Art Program in Australian Parliament House

In 1980, MGT’s architectural design for a new Parliament House was selected from the 329 submissions received from around the world.  The massive project, with 4,500 rooms and a final cost of $1.1 billion, included over $13 million at the time of construction for the provision of art for the building (some $45.8 million in today’s dollars).

Ms Berg will lecture on the commissioned art and craft in Parliament House, outlining the intent and outcomes of the involvement of over 200 Australian artists and craftspeople in the design and fabrication of site-specific works for both the public and private areas of the building.  She will also examine in detail one or more of the major commissioned works in the building and the unique processes by which artists and craftspeople, most of whom had never undertaken a public commission, were supported to do ground-breaking work closely integrated into the design and fabric of each space.  In conclusion, Ms Berg will examine the legacy of this commissioned art/craft program in Australia after nearly four decades.

Artist: Kay Lawrence

The Special Interest Morning will run for approximately two and a half hours with a break for morning tea midway. Attendance costs are $65 for members and $70 for non-members.


Tuesday 18 April 2023
Ancient Pella in Jordan: An Archaeological Journey
Presented by Dr Peta Seaton AM
Venue & Time: National Library of Australia, 6pm.

Dr Seaton will speak about the ancient site of Pella, where the University of Sydney has been excavating for 40-plus years, giving us a glimpse of life on a dig, its volunteers and Jordanian colleagues.

Peta will take us on a journey from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic prehistoric cultures and the earliest agriculture, the first walled cities of the Early Bronze Age from around 3600 BCE, rich foreign relations and political interactions with Egypt and Syria until 1100 BCE, the Greek Hellenistic influences on the Levant under Alexander the Great, the Eastern Roman Empire, the Byzantine era and the advent of Islam.

Peta has an Honours degree and PhD in Middle Eastern archaeology from Sydney University. She has been involved in the Pella Archaeological Project in Jordan since 1979, is President of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation and an Honorary Associate of the University of Sydney. Peta worked with NSW Premier, was a member of the NSW Parliament from 1996 to 2007 and is an occasional guest lecturer and media commentator on policy issues. Peta is a Director of the NDIS, on the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Board.

Tuesday 16 May 2023
Golden Vienna
Presented by Ian Gledhill
Venue & Time: National Library of Australia, 6pm.

The Strauss family may have dominated musical life in 19th century Vienna, but other composers also wrote some beautiful waltzes and operettas.  We look at the golden age of Viennese music, featuring the works of Josef Lanner, Karl Millocker, Carl Michael Ziehrer and others.

Ian Gledhill has had a very varied career, from designing underground railways as an engineer for London Transport, to appearing in pantomime with Julian Clary.  In between he has worked in travel and tourism, music publishing, television, and especially the theatre, where he has been an actor, director, set designer, stage manager and opera translator.  His main interests include architecture, history, transport and classical music, especially opera and operetta, and these are reflected in the wide-ranging list of subjects for his lectures.  He began giving lectures in 1997, and now gives on average around 75 a year.

Tuesday 20 June 2023
The Printed Map as an Art Form
Presented by Dr Robert Clancy
Venue & Time: National Library of Australia, 6pm.

This talk is about the transition of the printed map, from a highly decorative production with little accuracy, to a more austere document of great accuracy.  It is illustrated, reflecting the milestones of history, and using “keystone” maps of interest and beauty: from the great Incunables of the 15th century, the travelogues of the mid-16th Century, the magnificent Dutch atlases of the 17th century, to the school atlas of mid-1850, and the specialist thematic and topographic maps thereafter.

Robert is a medical graduate and physician, with a PhD in auto immune disease and Foundation Professor of Pathology at the innovative medical school in Newcastle.  As a clinical immunologist he researched mucosal immunity and oral vaccines to manage chronic airways disease.

He collected maps of Terra Australis for 40 years, with special interest in Australia and Antarctica.  He sees maps as a way of illustrating and understanding the past, has written four books on historic cartography and lectures and writes widely on a variety of cartographic topics. Robert was awarded an AM for contributions to historic cartography and immunology and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW (FRSN).

Tuesday 18 July 2023
The Age of Jazz
Presented by Sandy Burnett
Venue & Time: National Library of Australia, 6pm.

Jazz is one of the twentieth century’s most important musical genres: a fascinating blend of rigorous structure, free-wheeling creativity, close-knit ensemble work and improvisation.  This lecture covers the early years of jazz from its very beginnings through to the start of the Second World War.  Drawing on his practical experience both as musicologist and gigging musician, Sandy is able to shed light on jazz from the inside.  His illustrations range from early pre-impressions by Maurice Ravel and others and the very earliest jazz recordings through to classics by Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and the dawn of the Swing Era.

Sandy is one of the UK’s most versatile music commentators.  After studying at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and working as music director for the RSC, National Theatre and in London’s West End, Sandy Burnett spent a decade presenting on BBC Radio 3.  He devises and leads cultural holidays worldwide, wrote the Idler Guide to Classical Music, runs an online classical music appreciation Listening Club, is a highly sought after double bassist on the London jazz scene, and was appointed the Academy of Ancient Music’s Hogwood Fellow for 2018-19.

Wednesday 19 July 2023
Special Interest Morning
Presented by Sandy Burnett
Venue and Time: 25 Forster Crescent, Yarralumla at 10 am.


Ludwig Van Beethoven: Classical Music’s Greatest Revolutionary

Born in Bonn in December 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven became one of the greatest and most disruptive figures in the history of classical music.  This talk presents an overview of this brilliant, cantankerous, visionary and astonishingly original composer, someone who tore up the rule book of classical music.  Visual illustrations include a selection of contemporary portraits, while musical examples are drawn from his genre-busting piano sonatas, quartets and symphonies, and from the revolutionary opera Fidelio.  It reveals how Beethoven became a true Romantic artist, or as he preferred to describe himself, a “poet in sound.”


From Preludes to Passions: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Music and its Timeless Appeal

More than any other composer, Johann Sebastian Bach’s music has transcended the passage of time.  Sandy examines the enduring appeal of this astonishing composer’s work, traces the evolution of his life and career from his early days at Eisenach and Arnstadt through spells at Weimar, Cöthen and finally Leipzig, and looks at the shifting perception of Bach’s music over the years since his death in 1750.  Illustrations include a selection of musical highlights great and small, ranging from tiny keyboard preludes through to some of the earth-shattering moments from the mighty John and Matthew Passions.

The Special Interest Morning will run for approximately two and a half hours with a break for morning tea midway. Attendance costs are $60 for members and $65 for non-members.


Tuesday 22 August 2023
The Story of the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial
Presented by Mark Cottle
Venue & Time: National Library of Australia, 6pm.

In the early seventh century a great ship was dragged ashore from the River Deben in Suffolk.  It became the burial place of a powerful Anglo-Saxon warlord, buried with a mound of treasures from all over the known world.  Fine weaponry, gold coins and exquisitely crafted jewellery revealed levels of sophistication which were a revelation.  The aim of the lecture is to examine the finds in turn, partly to appreciate them in their own right and partly to explore what insights they offer and what questions they pose about their world.

Born on the Isles of Scilly and educated at Truro School, Cornwall, and Birmingham University, Mark’s career has been spent in education and training at home and abroad.  He has lectured at Exeter College on Medieval and Tudor history, St Mark’s & St John’s University College, Plymouth, and at Bath University on Anglo Saxon and medieval England.  Currently Mark runs two small companies providing training and study breaks.

Tuesday 19 September 2023
Dressed to Thrill: The Art of the Japanese Kimono
Presented by Marie Conte-Helm
Venue & Time: National Library of Australia, 6pm.

The kimono, literally meaning ‘wear’ (ki) and ‘thing’ (mono), is a traditional garment worn by both men and women in Japan.  But it is so much more.  Rich in symbolism and encapsulating the best in textile design and techniques through the ages, the kimono has a fascinating history that reflects wider aspects of Japanese life and culture.  From everyday kimono to wedding kimono to the elaborate dress of Japanese geisha, this lecture will trace the story of the kimono, its past and its present, and the place that it occupies in the world of contemporary fashion.

Professor Conte-Helm has a BA in History of Art, an MA in Asian Art and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  She served as Executive Director of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group, Visiting Professor at Northumbria University, a Member of the Board of Governors of the University for the Creative Arts, Director General of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation from 1999-2011 and held senior academic at various UK universities.  She is a Resident Historian with Viking Cruises, lecturing on many aspects of Asian Art and East-West Encounters.  She was awarded an OBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to UK-Japan educational and cultural relations, and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette by the Government of Japan in 2019.

Tuesday 17 October 2023
Beautiful Houses: Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s Greatest Architect
Presented by Anne Anderson FSA
Venue & Time: National Library of Australia, 6pm.

Frank Lloyd Wright is best known for his Prairie houses, designed to blend with the flat terrain around Chicago — the Robbie House of 1907–08 is exemplary.  Wright conceived his houses as ‘total artworks’ or ‘gesamtkunstwerk’ where the architect controlled the design of all fixtures and fittings including furniture and lights.  Beautifully designed and superbly made, Wright’s work falls under the heading of American Arts and Crafts.  Many of his designs reflected the growing interest in Native American arts and crafts.  His colours are ‘earthy’ brown and oranges with bold tribal decorative motifs.  Wright’s designs evolved in the Modernist/Art Deco era between the two world wars.  His new style drew on Mayan culture, seen at its best in the Hollyhock House in LA.  Reinventing his style again, Wright created Fallingwater in 1935, securing his reputation as ‘America’s greatest architect’.

Anne was a senior lecturer in art and design history at Southampton Solent University for 14 years.  She has curated four national exhibitions, including Ancient Landscape, Pastoral Visions: Samuel Palmer to the Ruralists (2008); The Truth About Faeries (2009–11); Under the Greenwood: Picturing the British Tree (2013); and Beyond the Brotherhood: The Pre‑Raphaelite Legacy (2019–20), as well as publishing over a hundred academic papers.  She has held prestigious fellowships including Fellow of the Huntington Library in California (2008–09 and 2018–19) and Fellow of the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Library and Museum (2009–10).  Currently a guide and lecturer, Anne specialises in Arts and Crafts art tours and undertook her fourth lecture tour for ADFAS in 2018.

Wednesday 18 October 2023
Special Interest Morning
Presented by Anne Anderson
Venue and Time: 25 Forster Crescent, Yarralumla at 10 am.

NORDIC VISION: Scandinavian Art and Design c.  1880–1960


Following in the footsteps of the French avant-garde, Danish, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian painters embraced Realism, Naturalism, and Impressionism, then later Symbolism.  The internationally renowned Swedish portraitist Anders Zorn built Zorngården, a studio-house in Mora and painted rural life.  Carl Larsson, acclaimed as the father of Swedish style, sought the ‘good life’ at Lilla Hyttnäs, Sundborn; his charming illustrations of family life have captured our imagination.  Axel Gallen-Kallela returned from his travels to build a studio-house just outside Helsinki.  Like Gallen-Kallela, Norway’s Harald Sohlberg captured the snowy wastes and silence of the northern wilderness.  Naturalists vied with Symbolists who sought to capture the spirit of a place rather than just produce an accurate rendering.  No one captured the angst of the era more effectively than Edvard Munch (1863-1944); imitated, copied and parodied, his iconic Scream (1893) is as famed as Leonardo’s Mona Lisa.

HOW WE GOT IKEA! Scandinavian Design 1880–1960

At the beginning of the 20th century the Scandinavian countries emerged as leaders of progressive design and looked to the British Arts and Crafts movement for design reform.  Carl Larsson created a rural retreat that exemplifies the ‘good life’ and hand-crafted much of his furniture.  Georg Jensen, Denmark’s premier silversmith, drew heavily on the Arts and Crafts ethos.  Finland developed its own variant of Art Nouveau, its Jugendstil buildings decorated with motifs taken from local myths and folklore: bears and trolls peer down at you as you stroll along Helsinki’s streets! Swedish and Danish glass and ceramics — Orrefors, Rorstrand and Royal Copenhagen —were equally inspired by Art Nouveau and Art Deco. 

The impact on Scandinavian designers of the Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernism will be appraised up to the 1950s when it can be said Scandinavian design came of age.  Founded on principles of economy and self-reliance, do-it-yourself IKEA has globalised Scandi-Modern with many embracing its founder’s ethos as it suits our busy lifestyles. 

The Special Interest Morning will run for approximately two and a half hours with a break for morning tea midway. Attendance costs are $60 for members and $65 for non-members.

Monday 4th December 2023
AGM and Christmas Party
Venue and Time: 25 Forster Crescent, Yarralumla at 5.45pm

Details will be available in November 2023.


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