Event – Cultural Conversations: ‘A Genius About the Place’

Art & Heritage Collections in collaboration with Rare Books & Special Collections and the Theatre Guild at the University of Adelaide invite you to a Cultural Conversation

‘A Genius About the Place’:
Phoenix Magazine and Australian Modernism

4.30–6.30pm Thursday 23 May 2013
Rare Books & Special Collections, Level 1 Barr Smith Library
Free—all welcome

An amazing modernist enterprise was initiated within the University of Adelaide during the 1930s by a group of students and academics—Phoenix Magazine. A discussion by Dr Susan Sheridan, Samela Harris and Cheryl Hoskin will examine this significant development in the context of Australian modernism, and poetry readings by Dr Ben McCann, Senior Lecturer in French Studies and Chair of the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, will illustrate the magazine’s progressive art, culture and literature.

Published between 1935 and 1939, Phoenix Magazine was one of the first literary and artistic journals to promote modernism in Australia. Its demise, due to the denial of University Union funding, led to the founding of the Angry Penguins journal by Max Harris, Geoffrey Dutton, DB Kerr and Paul Pfeiffer. The Phoenix was remarkable not only for its creative content in the conservative Australian cultural environment of the time, but also for its role as the launch pad for Angry Penguins and subsequent progressive publications such as Australian Letters, not to mention the careers of Harris, Dutton and others.

Light refreshments will be served.

The Conversation is in conjunction with the Rare Books & Special Collections exhibition ‘A Genius About the Place’: Phoenix Magazine and Australian Modernism on display in the Rare Books & Special Collections Foyer, Level 1, Barr Smith Library from 1 May–15 June.

Both the exhibition and Cultural Conversation are events associated with About Time: SA History Festival 2013.

For more information and to register your attendance please call 8313 3086 or email

For more information about the Guild visit

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