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.


Postal Address:
ADFAS Canberra
PO Box 8
Deakin West, ACT 2600

Committee 2019
Lola Wilkins  Tel:  02 6239 7326

Marcel Dimo  
Tel:  0451 681 473

Membership Secretary
Sally Petherbridge
0420 536 409 (m) – please leave a message

Membership enquiries:

Programme for 2018

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

The Canal Age
Monday 5th February 2018
Paul Atterbury

During the Industrial Revolution some 2,000 miles of inland waterways were built to connect Britain’s towns and cities. Paul, a BBC Antiques Roadshow celebrity, explores their impact upon artists such as John Constable, the architects, engineers and designers who built them and manufacturers such as Josiah Wedgwood. He also celebrates the distinctive architecture they engendered and the decorative traditions associated with the boats of canal families.

Lee Miller: Witnessing Women at War
Monday 5th March 2018
Antony Penrose 

Through the work of his mother, American photographer Lee Miller, Antony Penrose shows us the role of women in Britain during the Second World War.  Miller also photographed refugees in Europe, girls accused of collaboration, women forced into slave labour or prostitution, and concentration camp victims. Her own life took her from being a fashion supermodel to a surrealist artist, a combat photographer and, finally, a gourmet cook.  Antony is the Co-Director of the Lee Miller Archives and The Penrose Collection.  He lectures widely and is known as a curator of photography, an artist, a film maker and an author in his own right.     

A symbol of heavenly power: tracing the history of an Hawaiian feather work helmet back to the 18th Century
Monday 16th April 2018
Crispin Howarth 

In 1971 the National Gallery of Australia purchased a Hawaiian feathered helmet. The helmet had no associated information, yet from a small note – one hand typed sentence – an intriguing circumstantial history involving early exploration of the Pacific will be considered. Crispin is the Curator of Pacific Arts at the National Gallery of Australia.

Mahiole (Helmet) NGA, Canberra

Jewel of the Crown: The Sainte Chapelle in Paris
Monday 21 May 2018  NOTE: *Both morning and evening lectures are at the Commonwealth Club*
Nicole Mezey

A gem of beauty and technical inspiration, the Sainte Chapelle was designed not only to celebrate France and its kings, but also as a reliquary for some of the most significant Christian remains, including the Crown of Thorns. Built in a mere five years, it captures the best of the arts at a precise moment in time. The lecture looks at the architecture, the sculpture and, above all, the exquisite stained glass. Nicole, now a freelance lecturer, has an extensive background in teaching art and leading study tours. 

Pomp and Circumstance: Henry VIII and Secular Splendour
Tuesday 22nd May 2018
Special Interest Morning
Nicole Mezey

For the young, handsome, athletic Henry VIII all was possible. His country was politically and financially secure and his ambition was to enhance his standing among European monarchs through an aura of classical magnificence and discernment. By the time of his death he was the possessor of 55 palaces, paintings including portraits by Holbein, terracotta, plate, nearly 2000 books and the largest-ever collection of tapestry. 

What did the Romans ever do for Art?
Monday 16th July 2018  NOTE: *Change of venue for tonight only.  To be held at the National Library*
Gillian Hovell

Roman culture, way of life and art changed the life of ancient Britons for ever as they adapted to Roman rule after the invasion in AD 43. As towns were established, art and skills flourished and became embedded in society. We are still a product of Ancient Rome and our homes and our art show evidence of the impact of Rome’s invasion. By looking into what archaeology can tell us, we can discover just how much we owe to the Romans. Gillian is a classical historian and prehistorian, archaeologist, author, educator, public speaker, tour lecturer and presenter.

The Vienna Secession: 1918 – 2018: Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele
Monday 20th August 2018
Anne Anderson 

Gustav Klimt led the Secession, a breakaway group that believed ‘To each age its Art, to Art its freedom’. Paintings by Klimt and Schiele shocked Vienna as pornographic, ugly, and bringing art into the gutter. Both tackled taboo subjects, Klimt celebrating the femme fatale, and Schiele the fragility of youthful innocence. The ‘fin de siecle’ saw several Viennese leaders of the Secession die, struck down by Spanish influenza, among them Klimt and Schiele.  Anne is currently a course director in the V&A Learning Academy delivering courses on the Arts and Crafts and 20th century design. She has published books on Roman pottery, Art Deco teapots and Edward Burne-Jones.

Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four
Tuesday 21st August 2018
Special Interest Morning
Anne Anderson

During the 1880s, Glasgow emerged as a major cultural centre rivalling Edinburgh. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, now credited with leading the way, was at that time a member of the group known as The Four. These included Mackintosh, his wife Margaret MacDonald, her sister Frances, and Herbert MacNair, a long time friend who married Frances. The group’s influence in Europe was profound, forging a new design ethos in Vienna. The sensuous lines of Art Nouveau were renounced in favour of clean geometric forms, now seen as the origins of European Modernism.

World Class Art at Tate Modern
Monday 17th September 2018
Ian Swankie

Tate Modern opened in 2000, quickly becoming the world’s most visited modern art museum. This talk looks at the building, a converted power station, with its mixture of industrial and sleek new architecture, and at its international modern art collection. Starting with Monet, Matisse and Picasso, it moves through twentieth century artists such as Bacon, Freud and Epstein, and then covers some of the truly international recent works. Some are easy to explain, some are quite challenging. Some are profound, some are witty, some are wacky, but they all have a place. Ian is an official guide at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Guildhall Art Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral, as well as a qualified and active freelance London guide.

¡Fiesta! Festivals in Modern Mexico
Monday 22nd October 2018
Chloe Sayer

Mexico has a vast range of cultures and a rich variety of colourful festivals. Most festivals are religious in inspiration and feature flamboyant processions, masked dances and elaborate costumes. Some relate to national events; others draw on the pre-Christian beliefs of the Aztecs and the Maya. Music, firework displays, incense, feasts and markets are among the fascinating aspects of these festivals. Discover what takes place at the Day of the Dead festival, Carnival, Holy Week, Corpus Christi, the saint day of the patron saint of Mexico – Our Lady of Guadalupe – and more. Chloë is an independent scholar, author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. 


*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

Both morning and evening lectures in May will be held at The Commonwealth Club, Forster Crescent, Yarralumla.  Note:  The evening lecture on 16 July will be held at the National Library.

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 free parking 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 two Special Interest Mornings (SIMS) on Tuesday 22 May and  Tuesday 21 August held at The Commonwealth Club, Yarralumla at 10.15 am.  Each of these sessions runs for about two and a half hours with a break for morning tea midway.  Attendance costs are $50 per member and $55 per guest. Those attending need to register in advance by completing the SIM form.


The annual subscription in 2018 is $210 per person ($420.00 double), with a $20 surcharge for those not choosing to receive messages by email. The subscription covers attendance and catering at all lectures (eight in 2018). Special Interest Mornings (SIMS) (two in 2018) and other events attract a separate charge announced at the time of the event. Admission is by name badge.


Visitors’ are most welcome.
The visitor fee is $30 per lecture with prior notice to the Membership Secretary.

Visitors are also welcome to SIMS (Special Interest Mornings) the fee for SIMS is $55 and includes morning tea at the Commonwealth Club. Please contact the membership secretary Sally Petherbridge: or 0420 536 409 (please leave a message)

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