Helen Ennis appointed Dobell Chair

11 April 2014

Professor Helen Ennis from the School of Art has been appointed to the Sir William Dobell Chair of Art History in recognition of her work and excellence as an art scholar, writer and curator.

Professor Ennis is only the third person appointed to the prestigious position, based at ANU, since the Dobell Chair was established in 1982. She is the first woman to be honoured with the position.

"Professor Helen Ennis is the foremost authority on Australian photography, with a longstanding international reputation," says Head of the School of Art, Associate Professor Denise Ferris.

"Her research collaborations with national cultural institutions have been enormously beneficial to the School of Art and to ANU by helping build our reputation for art history and creative curatorship."

The Sir William Dobell Foundation, which supports the Chair, was formed in memory of the Archibald prize-winning artist Sir William Dobell, who was known for his landscapes and portrait paintings.

The Chair was established in 1982, and has previously been held by Professor Michael Greenhalgh and Professor Sasha Grishin.

Professor Ennis is the foundation Director of the new Centre for Art History and Art Theory at the ANU School of Art. She is convenor of the School's program for graduate research, and an accomplished and widely respected art historian, curator, author and teacher.

Some of her significant publications and exhibitions include Reveries: Photography and Mortality, Margaret Michaelis: love, loss and photography, and Photography and Australia, the foremost publication on the subject.

"Over the past 30 years, the Sir William Dobell Chair of Art History has helped the College to support an outstanding teacher and researcher," says Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences Professor Toni Makkai, who announced the new Chair on Friday.

"I'm delighted to see Professor Ennis, an inspirational and outstanding member of staff appointed to this significant position.

"The Dobell Chair has played a major role in strengthening the University's position as a leader in art history and curatorial studies."

The announcement was made at a new exhibition at the Drill Hall Gallery, showcasing works from two decades of the Dobell Prize for Drawing.