John Hughes

Artist Statement

John Hughes’ projects cross boundaries of film, television and media art practice with video, gallery installation and film work presented at the ICA London, ARC Art Museum Paris, Biennale of Sydney, Ewing Gallery, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland Art Museum and ACMI Melbourne. -------------- More on


John Hughes, born 1948, Coburg, Victoria. Lives and works Melbourne, Victoria.


On-line documentary (with Film Australia, ABC2, ABC On-Line) and feature documentary projects explore Australian film, Indigenous rights and political and cultural activism and histories. A writer-director of essay films for broadcast and festivals, his published work advocates for the creative documentary. Hughes was Commissioning Editor, Documentary with SBS Independent (1998–2001) and has taught at Monash University, VCA Melbourne University and elsewhere. His documentary practice is acknowledged with industry and critical awards: the Stanley Hawes Award (2006), Joan Long Award, achievement in film history (2006), NSW Premier’s History Prize (audio-visual 2007), Critics Circle Best Feature Documentary (2006) Australian Writer’s Guild Best Broadcast Documentary (2010). He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2016. Recent works for broadcast television include Love & Fury: Judith Wright and ‘Nugget’ Coombs (2013, 28 minutes), Indonesia Calling (2009, 90 minutes), The Archive Project (2006, 98 minutes) and, for cinema, Trespass 9:16 (Adelaide Film Festival 2015). In collaboration with writer-presenter Betty Churcher (1931–2015), Hughes produced and directed several series of TV ‘micro-docs’ (Take 5 and Hidden Treasures 2000–2008) and short films for SBS and ABC TV (The Art of War; 2005; An Unstoppable Force 2008). He published The Archive Project: Realist Film Unit in Cold War Australia (Metro, Melbourne 2013). John Hughes (PhD) is currently Adjunct Professor, School of Media and Communication, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University; Honorary Fellow, Faculty of the VCA & MCM University of Melbourne; Research Associate, Faculty of Art and Design, University of Canberra. The Films of John Hughes: a history of independent screen production in Australia (Cumming, 2014) is published by ATOM.

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