Marilyn Monroe Symposium at ACMI

November 12th, 2016. Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Conveners: Dr Sue Gillett and Dr Kevin Brianton, La Trobe University.

This Symposium created a further outcome for the research undertaken by ten La Trobe University academics from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce in preparation for the subject Exhibiting Culture: Marilyn, which ran at the Art Galleries in Bendigo and Albury in May 2016.

Our interdisciplinary approach to the topic of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic status is unique. In this Symposium our intention was to go beyond nostalgia, to offer a genuinely contemporary perspective on performance, celebrity and artistic response, as well as to make Marilyn provocative for us in our times.

We were delighted to have secured, as our keynote speaker for this Symposium, the very distinguished teacher and writer, Professor Lois Banner.

Banner-1-by-Mark-Anderson-use-this-one.jpgAs one of the founders of the field of feminist teaching in the US, Banner spent thirty of her years in academia as a history and gender studies teacher at the University of Southern California (USC). Here she helped popularize and expand the gender studies program, mentoring innumerable students in feminist history.

Professor Banner is the author of the most scholarly, authoritative and popular biography of Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn:  The Passion and the Paradox (London and New York, Bloomsbury, 2012). This book received impressive reviews in the New York Times, Washington Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Boston Globe, and newspapers throughout the United States, Great Britain and Australia.  It featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education as well as on best seller lists for Los Angeles Times and London Times, where it was honored as one of the best books of 2012. Professor Banner has also written many journal and magazine articles on Marilyn Monroe and her previous book, MM Personal (Harry Abrams, January, 2011) was judged by the Western Association of Women Historians as the best illustrated collection of original documents.

Other speakers at the Symposium included Bendigo Art Gallery Curatorial Manager, Tansy Curtin, La Trobe University scholars and artists, Sofia Ahlberg, Kevin Brianton, Edgar Burns, Felicity Collins, Sue Gillett, Margaret Hickey, Terrie Waddell, Francine Rochford, Kristian Haggblom and fashion expert and author, Nicole Jenkins.