Coffs Coast

ArtsNational Coffs Coast welcomes you

ArtsNational Coffs Coast is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers, providing superbly illustrated, informative and entertaining arts talks inspired by the diverse cultures that Coffs Harbour embraces and celebrates.

ArtsNational Coffs Coast acknowledges the traditional custodians of the Coffs Coast region, the Gumbaynggirr peoples. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

ArtsNational Coffs Coast will feature lectures by a diversity of regional, national and international speakers in 2024.


Our lectures are held at the National Cartoon Gallery, 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour on City Hill off Racecourse roundabout.

We are planning to hold the lectures in the multi-purpose space in the new Yarilla Place Cultural and Civic Centre in Coffs Harbour when it is available.

Our lectures take place on a Monday evening from 6.00pm to 7.00pm with each lecture followed by an opportunity to talk with the lecturer and mix with friends with a light supper with wine, juice, sushi and sandwiches provided.

Find full details of the 2024 program here

Annual membership
$165 entitles the purchaser to free entry to all ten 2024 Arts Talks.
Please Note: Membership is NOT transferable.
Click here to join or email Richard Wiseman on

Guests are very welcome for $30 per lecture.

For all enquiries please email:
Postal Address: PO Box 414 Sawtell NSW 2452
ABN: 36 658 370 066

Chair: Libby Davis               Ph: 0412 841 389
Vice Chair: Annie Talvé
Secretary: Les Davis           Ph: 0438 153 753
Treasurer: Barb Shaw


ArtsNational Coffs Coast is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers, providing superbly illustrated, informative and entertaining lecture presentations on many diverse topics relating to the arts.  ArtsNational Coffs Coast was established in November 2022.


To learn more about the arts in a friendly welcoming environment of learning. To enjoy cultural and social opportunities and make new friends over a glass of wine and canapés. We look forward to seeing you there!


Recognised experts and passionate in their fields of interest. They can be international or local speakers drawn from a variety of professional backgrounds.

National Cartoon Gallery

  Multipurpose Space, Yarilla Place


Our societies support young people to engage in the arts. Some ArtsNational societies record the objects inside churches, or the histories of churches and Schools of the Arts buildings. ArtsNational also supports Young Conservators through the philanthropic fund, the Patricia Robertson Fund.

The Coffs Harbour region’s cultural activities are proudly supported by the new The Yarila Place Cultural and Civic Centre and the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery. Visitors and locals alike, will discover exciting programs of exhibitions, talks, and other events that will spark your imagination.


Monday 5 February 2024
Presented by Hilary Kay
Time & Venue: 6:00pm The National Cartoon Gallery, 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour

Hilary Kay looks at fakes and forgeries and introduces the audience to the most talented and ruthless rogues of the twentieth and twenty first centuries. Rogues whose ‘masterpieces’ fooled respected experts in galleries and international auction houses.

Hilary Kay is a British antiques expert, lecturer, broadcaster and author, best known for her many appearances on BBC TVs Antiques Roadshow program, which she joined in 1978 as one of the team of experts. As well as working as an expert on Antiques Roadshow, Hilary has taken part in numerous television programs including presenting a landmark series for BBC One: Brilliantly British, which explored the lives of Thomas Chippendale, Josiah Wedgwood and William Morris.

Monday 11 March 2024
Presented by David Worthington
Time & Venue: 6:00pm The National Cartoon Gallery, 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour

Public Art is a contentious subject. It is the most visible art form and therefore an easy target. But how do these works appear in our public spaces? This lecture tracks the development of public art over the last century and examines why some are loved and others loathed. It also explains the process of procurement from the initial commissioning to the production and installation. Using case studies, David takes the audience through this process and aims to show why we are all richer with the presence of art on the streets.

David has been drawn to abstract sculpture since seeing a Barbara Hepworth in a school book. He graduated in Philosophy and Theology from Oxford in 1984, then studied fine art in London, Barcelona and New York. A sculptor with many international commissions, he also curates and writes about art. He was shortlisted for the Jerwood Sculpture Prize in 2009. David is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Sculptors and was Vice President in 2010-13. 

Monday 15 April 2024
Presented by Claudia Chan Shaw
Time & Venue: 6:00pm The National Cartoon Gallery, 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour

No matter how many pairs you have, there’s always room for another pair of shoes. Throughout history shoes have been seen as symbols of power or status in society. High heels were worn by aristocrats and nobility. Thongs started out in Ancient Egypt and made their way to Bondi. Sometimes we suffer for the love of our shoes. They don’t call them “killer heels” for nothing. Join Claudia Chan Shaw for an intriguing look at our fascination with shoes and the stories behind them – from flats and stilettos, to trainers, Crocs and the catwalk. Just think of Cinderella or the Wizard of Oz – it’s all about the shoes in the end.

Claudia Chan Shaw has a multi-faceted career. She is co-host of television program, Antiques DownUnder and was co-host of ABC TV’s popular program, Collectors. Her book Collectomania navigates the curious world of collectors. Claudia presents Arts Friday, 89.7fm Eastside Radio and leads Art Deco tours around the world for the Art Gallery Society NSW. She is co-designer and director for acclaimed Australian fashion label, Vivian Chan Shaw.

Monday 20 May 2024
Presented by Andy McConnell
Time & Venue: 6:00pm The National Cartoon Gallery, 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour

Sweden played a major role in the historic development of modern glassmaking. This lecture examines the factors behind the emergence of Swedish glassmaking from a disparate group of strong-minded, egocentric individuals, and the varied designs that resulted from their work.

Andy has dealt in antiques since adolescence but served an apprenticeship in journalism. After working in music, film and television, he returned to writing in 2004 as the author of the acclaimed tome The Decanter, An Illustrated History of Glass From 1650. He followed this in 2006 with Miller’s’ 20th Century Glass. He writes regularly for journals as diverse as The Times and Glass Circle News and runs Britain’s largest antique and vintage glass gallery in Rye, Sussex. He is best known as the distinctly humorous glass specialist on BBC’s evergreen Antiques Roadshow.

Monday 17 June 2024
Presented by Dr Sally Gray
Time & Venue: 6:00pm The National Cartoon Gallery, 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour

Sally’s lecture focuses on a group of artists and designers, who came together in Sydney in the 1970s, becoming friends, influencing each others’ work and achieving fame in one way and another through the 1970s to the 1990s. Well travelled, sophisticated and ambitious, these young Australians made a mark on Australian art and fashion which continues to resonate.

Dr Sally Gray is an independent scholar in art, design and urban studies and an inter-disciplinary creative in the visual arts. She originates and executes diverse cultural projects under the umbrella of her Melbourne-based arts consultancy. Her PhD in Art History and Theory was awarded in 2006 at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Her scholarly writing appears in books, refereed journals and popular arts publications. Her 2017 book Friends, Fashion and Fabulousness: The Making of an Australian Style, written with the support of an ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship, was re-issued in a new edition in 2019.


Monday 22 July 2024
Presented by John Stevens
Time & Venue: 6:00pm The National Cartoon Gallery, 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour

Prior to the British rule, Indian was governed by the Mughal Emperors. The stunning buildings and gardens they constructed from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century have left an indelible stamp on India’s architectural and cultural landscape. Mughal architecture fused elements from Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian traditions, giving rise to some of the most beautiful, iconic buildings in the world. From the Jama Masjid in Delhi, to the Taj Mahal in Agra, to Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, this lecture will take you on a tour of some of India’s greatest buildings, examining their historical contexts and the colourful personalities involved in their construction.

Dr John Stevens is a Research Associate at SOAS, University of London. His PhD in History is from University College London. He teaches British Imperial history, Indian history and Bengali language, and is a regular visitor to India and Bangladesh.

Monday 19 August 2024
Presented by Vivienne Lawes
Time & Venue: 6:00pm The National Cartoon Gallery, 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour

This lecture explores how the East India Company developed its methods of trade and facilitated the increasingly sophisticated and profound exchange of ideas between East and West. It focuses on textile design as the vehicle for this analysis, but also includes other materials, such as wallpaper, porcelain and furniture, as well as the vast commercial trade in spices and tea Concentrating at first on the 17th century textile trade with India, the lecture then turns to the 18th century and the trade with Imperial China. The distinction is drawn between export trade and evolving Western culture.

An art historian, art market analyst and curator/ writer, Viv Lawes combines a hands-on career in the art business with research and teaching in Higher Education at several London-based universities. Her courses include The Art Market, History of Western Art and Design 1350-1970, and Asian Art. Viv has curated numerous exhibitions of Southeast Asian contemporary art in London and Singapore.  She writes for many publications and private clients, for both academic and general readership. 

Monday 23 September 2024
Presented by Rosalind Whyte
Time & Venue: 6:00pm The National Cartoon Gallery, 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour

Contemporary sculptor and installation artist Cornelia Parker is known for her large-scale installations such as her (literally!) explosive work Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991), in which Parker took the archetypal British garden shed and had it blown up by the Army! The debris was then installed around a light bulb, freezing the dramatic explosion in time. Intrigued with ‘cartoon deaths’, where things are squashed, stretched, dropped from a height or detonated, she transforms everyday objects to investigate their nature and value. However, such destruction can also result in work of extraordinary beauty, an intriguing and unique creative process.

Rosalind holds a BA and MA from Goldsmith’s College, and an MA (distinction) from Birkbeck College.  She is an experienced guide at Tate Britain, the Tate Modern, the Royal Academy and The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. She lectures at the Tate, to independent art societies and on cruises. 

Monday 28 October 2024
Presented by Paul Chapman
Time & Venue: 6:00pm The National Cartoon Gallery, 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour

Although the term Pop Art is usually associated with artists based in New York and Los Angles in the 1960s, the movement actually found its earliest voice in Britain a decade earlier. From the early work of the ‘Independent Group’ in the 1950s, Pop emerged to become the dominant style throughout the 1960s. Artists drew inspiration from their own lives or things they saw around them every day, such as Hollywood movies, advertising, product packaging, pop music and comic books. Many were horrified by such ‘low’ subject matter, but Pop Art can be seen as an early manifestation of postmodernism.

Paul is an Art Historian and a National Gallery trained guide with considerable experience in education. Paul delivers courses and lectures for educational organisations as well as tours for art associations/societies in Museums and Galleries in the UK and Europe. He is a guide at Longford Castle art collection In Wiltshire and is a visiting tutor at Marlborough College. Paul has published a book on cultural crossovers and appropriations in 20th century painting.  

Monday 18 November 2024
Presented by Susannah Fullerton
Time & Venue: 6:00pm The National Cartoon Gallery, 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour

Literature has always had the power to change – just think of the impact of the King James Bible, Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Dr Johnson’s Dictionary, Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, Marx’s The Communist Manifesto and Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. And yet fiction too has the power to change – to evoke sympathy, to make us take on different opinions, and even to bring about political and legal change. This talk examines ten novels which altered our world, when it came to race relations, charity, the shape of literature, and the plight of the poor and the different. Discover which novels have had universal impact and be encouraged to think about which books you would select as having in some way brought about enormous change.

Susannah brings to life the lives and writings of great writers in her fascinating lectures. Having built a stellar career as a lecturer, giving talks about famous writers. Immensely entertaining, yet truly informative, you’ll love listening to her talk about her favourite writers. Susannah is President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, Patron of the Kipling Society of Australia and Lady Patroness of the International Heyer Society.


ArtsNational Coffs Coast acknowledges the support of: