David Watson
Born 1957 Melbourne

I swim most mornings in Sydney Harbour with whiting, bream, leather jackets, mullet, garfish, and schools of tiny prawns. On land I savour the immersive joys of placing one foot after another. My words and images seek to distil the contemporary predicament of an ancient continent still settling. I am interested in 'progress' - in what is being lost, overwritten and erased - and how photography might resuscitate and remind. In recent years I have mounted five solo photomedia exhibitions in Sydney and participated in group shows at home and abroad. Since 2009 I have helped create socially-engaged exhibitions and publications with the Williams River Valley Artists' Project, an environmentally-alarmed artist collective currently opposing coal and CSG. In 2012 I completed Wild Ryde, a doctorate in photomedia at Sydney College of the Arts woven from the experience and memory of a meandering walk and return swim across suburban Sydney. Since mid-2016 I have worked to draw attention to the impending social, environmental and public health threats of WestConnex (the southern hemisphere’s largest urban infrastructure project) to our inner-west communities, to Sydney, and to the planet at a time of global climate crisis. With Denise Corrigan I continue to research, record and piece together a personally-inflected history of the Rozelle street in which we have lived and raised a family since 1991. 

PhD  Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) [Photomedia]
University of Sydney Postgraduate Award 2006-08
Dissertation Wild Ryde  http://bit.ly/1tPDL1m

Master of Visual Arts  SCA [Photomedia]
University of Sydney Postgraduate Award 2004
Dissertation  Precious Little: Traces of Australian Place and Belonging

Graduate Diploma Visual Arts  SCA [Photography]

Bachelor of Arts [Communications & Mass Media]  Macquarie University, Sydney


2019 Dear Gladys (solo intervention) Inner-west post-holding boxes, Sydney PISS OFF WESTCONNEX (collaborative intervention) Ex-Tigers’ site (Rozelle), Sydney

2018 Liquorland Gallery (collaborative intervention @ RMS-acquired premises) Ex-Liquorland site (Rozelle), Sydney

GreenWay Art Prize Art Est, Sydney Sensitive Receivers: Rejecting WestCONnex (group show)  Salon Callan, Sydney

The Sky is Falling… (group show) Bondi Pavilion, Sydney Transitional & the myth of progress (group show)  Pop In Space, Sydney
Fieldwork: artist encounters (group show)  Sydney College of the Arts
Made in Callan Street (group show)  Salon Callan, Sydney

SubLiminal (group show)  Leichhardt Town Hall, Sydney
The Motor Show 2015 (group show)  Articulate project space, Sydney
HarbourSculpture (group show)  Clarkes Point, Sydney - awarded stipend
Instruments of Democracy (group show)  Cementa15, Kandos - Williams River Valley Artists’ Project (WRVAP) performance + installation
The Night Parrot (group show)  Delmar Gallery, Sydney

The Walks (group show)  Australian National University School of Art, Canberra

Lost and Found (group show)  Articulate project space, Sydney
Leave It in the Ground (group show)  Articulate project space, Sydney - WRVAP anti-coal exhibition
HarbourSculpture (group show)  Deckhouse, Sydney
North Sydney Art Prize  Coal Loader, Sydney
Habitat (solo show)  Salon Callan, Sydney

Redlands Westpac Art Prize  National Art School, Sydney GreenWay Art Prize Art Est, Sydney - winner

Wild Ryde|swimming home (PhD show)  Sydney College of the Arts
Riparian Rites (group show)  Maitland Regional Art Gallery - WRVAP exhibition considering future of Williams River Valley after shelving of proposed Tillegra Dam 12/10

Cry Me a River (group show)  Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney - WRVAP exhibition protesting the proposed Tillegra Dam
Williams River Valley Artists’ Project  Tocal Homestead, Paterson - exhibition protesting the proposed Tillegra Dam

Williams River Valley Artists’ Project  Muswellbrook Arts Centre - exhibition protesting the proposed Tillegra Dam
Document|a  King’s Lynn, England - works from Walking With Cars shown in international group show
Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture  Tweed River Art Gallery - finalist

Walking With Cars (solo show)  Brush Farm House, Eastwood

Current and Recent PhD Students from SCA  Nova Scotia School of Art & Design; York University, Toronto; Delmar Gallery, Sydney

Wulumay Close (MVA)  Sydney College of the Arts
The December Group  Gallery Barry Keldoulis [Waterloo], Sydney
Terror Australis (solo show)  Gallery Barry Keldoulis [Chippendale], Sydney

Sexdecim 2002 (group show)  Groundfloor Gallery, Sydney

New Work (group show)  Salon Callan, Sydney

New South Wonderland (solo show)  Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Sydney Sub-urb (group show)  Museum of Sydney

Sydney: Seven Years’ Stranger (Grad Dip show)  Sydney College of the Arts

Full House (group show)  Slide installation/back-projection, Glebe Festival, Sydney

Finale (group show)  EMR Gallery, Redfern

Edinburgh Festival, Scotland
Portfolio Gallery, London 

Nimrod Theatre, Sydney


Casual Lecturer [Photomedia], Sydney College of the Arts

Cinémathèque Consultant, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

Judge, TAFE Art & Design Prize

Consultant Curator (surf movies)  ScreenSound Australia

Consultant Curator (art/cinema/sport)  Cinemedia, Melbourne

Manager Communications and Cultural Development  NSW Film and Television Office, Sydney

Project Co-ordinator: Cinémathèque  Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Co-Curator: (with Denise Corrigan) TV TIMES: 35 Years of Watching Television in Australia (1991); (with Brian Doherty) Paul Winkler: Films 1964-94 (1994); (with Peter Callas) Phantasmagoria: Pre-Cinema to Virtuality (1996). Commissioning Editor: The Dawn of Cinema: 1894-1915 (Barrett Hodsdon 1996), Something Secret: Portraiture in Warhol’s Films (Callie Angell 1993). Editor: Australian Movie Map (1996)

Senior Researcher, Exhibit Co-ordinator, Photographer, Museum of the Moving Image, British Film Institute, London


Sensitive Receivers: Rejecting WestCONnex 80pp e-catalogue for anti-WCX exhibition at Salon Callan in Rozelle, June 2017 https://issuu.com/madeincallanstreet/docs/sensitive_receivers_catalogue

Rozelle Against WestConnex (RAW) Website for local resident action group (with Peter Hehir/Denise Corrigan/Gary Warner) http://rozelleagainstwestconnex.org/

Walking as Knowing Essay re artist Lesley Punton (see below) re-purposed for online magazine Visual-Bind Issue #1 2015

Swimming Home Illustrated article for NSW State Library's SL magazine (September 2014), 24-27

The Stuttering Frog #2 Co-edited, co-authored 20 pp newspaper/catalogue for Williams River Valley Artists’ Project’s Leave It in the Ground @ Articulate project space, Leichhardt (November 2013). Wrote ‘Power Walk With Me?’ (pp 18-19)

Power Walk With Me? Article for Artlink Magazine, Vol. 33, No. 4, 2013 online 

Walking as Knowing Essay for artist monograph Lesley Punton - mountains without end (London: ROOMBOOKS, 2013), 18-24

The Pace of Place: David Watson’s Wild Ryde 30-minute feature on ABC Radio National's Off Track, February 2013  

swimming home 2 pp invitation to morning tea with Callan Park Bushcare to mark completion of 14km swim down Parramatta River, April 2011. Salon Callan (March 2011) 

Wild Ryde Illustrated essay for Special Issue of SAGE Publications journal Memory Studies, Vol. 4, No.1, January 2011. Guest-edited by Swinburne University (Institute for Social Research)’s Maria Tumarkin (Los Angeles, London, Singapore, New Delhi, Washington DC: Sage Publications, 2011), 88-106. Extended from a paper presented at SCA Photomedia’s May 2009 symposium Field Trip: Conversations Around Landscape and Photography

The Stuttering Frog #1 Co-edited, co-authored 16 pp newspaper/catalogue for Williams River Valley Artists’ Project’s Cry Me A River at Tin Sheds Gallery, The University of Sydney (September 2010). Wrote ‘Who Cares Wins’ (pp 14-15) 

David Watson: Walking With Cars 12 pp exhibition catalogue with essay by Anne Ferran: ‘Walking to Water’, Salon Callan/City of Ryde (November 2008) 

Terror Australis 4 pp exhibition catalogue with essay by Richard Dunn: ‘David Watson’s Terror Australis’, Gallery Barry Keldoulis (March 2004) 


Harbour Sculpture 2013 stipend for swimming home (2011) 

GreenWay Art Prize 2012 for Floor Waste (2010) 

Venour V Nathan Postgraduate Prize 2011, The University of Sydney, for ‘Wild Ryde’ (awarded for an essay re Australian or Imperial history)  


'Wild Ryde|swimming home – a suburban odyssey' Sydney Harbour: Intersections of the arts, sciences and humanities Workshop, Sydney Environment Institute, The University of Sydney (April 2017)

'Wild Ryde|swimming home' Talking the Walk/Walking the Talk symposium, Australian National University School of Art (May 2014) 

‘Wild Ryde: swimming home – a suburban odyssey’ Scholarly Musing, State Library of New South Wales (April 2013) 

‘Wild Ryde|swimming home’ Sydney College of the Arts Graduate School Conference. Critical Thinking: Research + Art + Culture, Sydney College of the Arts (May 2011)  

‘Walking Home’ Field Trip: Conversations Around Landscape and Photography symposium, Sydney College of the Arts (May 2009) 

‘Walking With Cars' Emerging Scholars Workshop: Memory, Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne (May 2008) 

‘Are We Here Yet?’ Re-Thinking the Past: Experimental Histories in the Arts conference, University of Technology, Sydney (July 2006)


‘Piss off WestConnex’, Mark Titmarsh, Art + Australia, Issue Five (55.2): Brutalism, May 2019, pp 146-149.

‘Sign Shines Light on Environmental Fights’, Inner West Courier, 5 July 2016

'Innovative, Agile, Disruptive', Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) Community Show, Radio 3CR, 28 September 2015

'Solar-powered Abbott-Proof Fence: Art Shines Light on Climate', Inner West Courier, 11 August 2015 

'Building the Abbott-Proof Fence', The Daily, Radio 2SER, 6 August 2015

'Don't Sit On Fence: Artist's Protest Against Abbott', Northern District Times, 5 August 2015

'Artist David Watson’s Abbott-Proof fence sculpture pokes fun at the Prime Minister’s stand on climate change', The Daily Telegraph, 5 August 2015

'David Watson talking walking', Talking Walking with Andrew Stuck (London, December 2014), podcast May 2015

Jill Bennett and Saskia Beudel (eds), Curating Sydney: Imagining the city's future (Sydney: NewSouth Publishing, 2014), 222-227.

‘Only a step away from what we’ve lost’, Louise Schwartzkoff, The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 November 2008   

‘Critic’s Picks’, Dominique Angeloro, The Sydney Morning Herald [Metro], 8 April 2004.

Barry Keldoulis and David Watson re Terror Australis, [www.artshub] April 2004.

‘Colour and Memory’, Kathryn Millard, Art Monthly (April 2001), pp 27-29.


Private collections in Sydney, Melbourne, Munich, Edinburgh, London

Centre for Continuing Education, Sydney University [2005]


Inner West Council Local History Grant: Made in Callan Street enhanced e-book [2016-19]

Leichhardt Council Local History Grant: ‘Callan Street – Now and Then’ [2007-16]