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Criticism in the Digital Age
A passionate panel of international and local arts critics debate the nature – and future – of arts criticism, right now.
While we find new ways to respond to the art around us, what’s happening to formal criticism? As the digital world sees traditional publications dwindle, and self-published opinions proliferate, arts criticism finds itself in a precarious position. The new landscape might be more democratic, but what does it mean for criticism as a profession? Has the critic become an endangered species?
Moderator Katrina Sedgwick leads the discussion with guests Alice Rawsthorn (UK), Yun-Cheol Kim (Korea), Deborah Jones, Jane Howard and Dylan Rainforth.
Dr Yun-Cheol Kim is a professor at School of Drama, Korean National University of the Arts. He is president of the International Association of Theatre Critics.
Alice Rawsthorn is an internationally renowned design critic, whose columns for the International New York Times are syndicated worldwide.
Dylan Rainforth is the editor of Art Guide Australia. He also writes a weekly visual art column for the Age newspaper and contributes to a range of Australian art magazines and journals.
Deborah Jones retired from the Australian newspaper last year after 25 years as a writer, critic and editor working primarily in the arts. She was also executive editor for five years.
Jane Howard is a contributing editor at Kill Your Darlings, and a freelance arts journalist, critic and researcher with a focus on performance. Her work has appeared in publications including ABC Arts Online, RealTime, Meanjin and Junkee, and her experimental criticism projects have been supported by organisations including the Lifted Brow and the Performance and Art Development Agency.
Katrina has been Director & CEO of ACMI since 2015. She has a particular interest in supporting cross-disciplinary practice and an extensive background as a commissioner, creative producer and festival director. Her previous roles include Head of Arts for the national broadcaster ABC TV as well as founding Director/CEO of Adelaide Film Festival. The Festival’s $1 million AUD AFF Investment Fund was recognised with a week-long celebration at MoMA in 2011. She is on a number of arts and advisory boards, and in 2020 was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to performing arts, screen industries and visual arts administration.
Between the rise of new media and the shrinking of the old, arts criticism is evolving fast.
While blogs and online forums have opened the conversation to anyone with a keyboard and an internet connection, professional critics fiercely guard their status as informed arbiters of art. What’s the difference between opinion and criticism? Does it really matter?