BC Institute

Established in 2007, BC Institute is a platform for performative and collaborative contemporary art practice led by four Directors – Frances Barrett, Kate Blackmore, Kelly Doley and Diana Smith.


About BC Institute

BC Institute’s projects are informed by queer and feminist methodologies, taking the form of artistic, curatorial, publishing and educational projects. BC Institute honours the work of Barbara Cleveland, a pioneering feminist performance artist working in Sydney during the 1970s until her untimely death in 1981. Despite her significant body of work, her performances remain relatively unknown in the history of Australian art. Barbara is a speculative and imagined figure: BC Institute is the axis that her truth and fiction circulate.  BC Institute’s recent projects have been presented by Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), Artspace (Sydney), The Physics Room (Christchurch), Australian Experimental Art Foundation (Adelaide), Performance Space (Sydney), National Museum of Contemporary Art (Seoul) and Monash University Museum of Art (Melbourne). In 2016 BC Institute will be developing two new projects for the 20th Biennale of Sydney and the Art Gallery of NSW that pivot around the figure of Cleveland to examine how feminist methodologies and alternative historiographical approaches can be used to reimagine past acts and events in the here-and-now.

Upcoming Projects

The Artspace studio will be a central site where the research, curatorial and artistic practices of the individual members of BC Institute converge. Collaboratively, they be working towards two major projects for the 20th Biennale of Sydney and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Frances Barrett will develop her curatorial rationale for FM[X]: What Does a Feminist Methodology Sound Like? an experimental sound project to be presented by Liquid Architecture in late 2016. Working across writing and radio projects, she will embark on a research period into Queer Practice in the Asia-Pacific region.

Kate Blackmore will use the studio to work on a major new video project that she will initiate in India at the end of 2015 as part of an Asialink residency. She will also conduct regular meetings in the space with David Capra to develop the 2nd Motion Pictures, a biennial festival of ‘new cinema’.

Kelly Doley will develop the research project Assembly/ies for Alternative Futures that engages members in intensive performance events for thinking differently about the future. This forms part of her PhD research at UNSW Art and Design.

Diana Smith will be finishing her PhD on feminist performance art and re-enactment, editing a journal about performance lectures and undertaking a new research project about the interdisciplinary practice of the Australian artist and dancer Philippa Cullen.

Together, Smith and Doley will be developing a number of projects that investigate feminist thinking and alternative models of knowledge production as part of their feminist pedagogical project Sunday School.

BC Institute, 'Performance Fee', 2012, live Performance, Dur: 2 hrs, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. Photo: M. Isherwood

Established in 2007, BC Institute is a platform for performative and collaborative contemporary art practice led by four Directors – Frances BarrettKate BlackmoreKelly Doley and Diana Smith.


Frances Barrett is an artist and curator whose ongoing research enquiry are queer notions of futurity, temporality, and space.  In 2016 Frances will be working with Liquid Architecture as co-curator of FM[X]: What would a Feminist Methodology Sound Like? and presenting work at Art Central (Hong Kong) with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. She is currently Curator of Contemporary Performance at Campbelltown Arts Centre.



Kate Blackmore is an artist-filmmaker who creates 'performative documentaries' that highlight the performed nature of daily life. In 2016 Kate undertook an Asialink residency in India to work on a film with the Red Brigade, an advocacy group campaigning against sexual violence in Lucknow, and has been commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art to create a major new video project for the 2016 c3west initiative in Fairfield.



Kelly Doley is an artist/researcher based in Sydney. She is the founder of the Assembly/ies for Alternative Futures that forms her PhD research in Creative Practice, UNSW Art and Design. Through participatory performance events she is researching how to create alternative futures that are non-patriarchal, alter-capitalist, and equal. In 2016-17 she will be Research Scholar at the Social Practice Research Centre, UC Santa Cruz USA and University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Kelly works with Diana Smith on the pedagogical project Sunday School.



Diana Smith takes an interdisciplinary approach to practice, exploring modes of performance and collaboration across artistic, curatorial, publishing and pedagogical projects. Her research is focused on experimental methodologies for historicising performance and feminist art practices. Diana is a leading artist on the pedagogical project Sunday School, works as a lecturer at UTS and is completing her PhD at the University of NSW.


BC Institute, 'Remembering Barbara Cleveland', 2011, live performance and installation, Artspace, Sydney. Photo: Alex Davies

BC Institute, 'Performance Art', 2014, 3-channel HD video installation, Bella Room, Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Alex Davies

BC Institute, 'This is Barbara Cleveland', 2013, single channel HD video, duration: 16 minutes 42 seconds

BC Institute, 'This is Barbara Cleveland', 2013, single channel HD video, duration: 16 minutes 42 seconds