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Criticism in the Digital Age


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A passionate panel of international and local arts critics will 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 will lead the discussion with guests Alice Rawsthorn (UK), Yun-Cheol Kim (Korea), Deborah Jones, Jane Howard and Dylan Rainforth.

Criticism Now

Between the rise of new media and the shrinking of the old, arts criticism finds itself at a crossroad – what does the future hold for critical discourse on the arts?

The landscape for arts criticism is changing fast. While blogs and online forums have opened the conversation to everyone, professional critics fiercely guard their status as informed arbiters of art. What is the role of the expert voice in the digital age? Is there still room for the beautifully crafted review?

The Wheeler Centre and Melbourne Festival get the discussion started with a fascinating series of events involving some of our nation’s finest writers, its renowned critics and you – the most important critics of all. Together we tackle the vexed state of contemporary criticism. Join us.

The venue for this event has changed: it will now be held at the Wheeler Centre, free of charge. Bookings are recommended.


Jane Howard

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 su... Read more

Alice Rawsthorn

Alice Rawsthorn is an internationally renowned design critic, whose columns for the International New York Times are syndicated worldwide. Her latest book, the critically acclaimed Hello World: Where Design Meets Life, published by Hamish Hamilton, explores design’s influence on our lives – past... Read more

Yun-Cheol Kim

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. As a freelance writer, he has been contributing theatre reviews and critical essays to all the major national daily newspapers, weeklies, a... Read more

Deborah Jones

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. Deborah has an honours degree in drama from the University of Newcastle, completed mainly part-time while she worke... Read more

Dylan Rainforth

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.

Katrina Sedgwick

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 ... Read more


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