The Place Between: an intergenerational practice-led approach to the geographies of seafaring

Ms Clare McCracken1

1Rmit Univeristy, Melbourne, Australia


On the 21st of July 2018, I boarded the ANL Wahroonga containership and steamed from Australia to China – dwelling in motion for 13 days.  The route roughly mirrored that of my great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Amy Cathcart Payne, who travelled from Australia to Asia by ship in 1874.

This paper interrogates a series of artworks that grew directly from the experience of being at sea, as well as from the pages of Amy’s diary – a well thumbed handwritten notebook about her voyage which has been passed down through generations of my family.  In doing so, it reflects on the place between Australia and the rest of the world, the social and political nature of international shipping, and the mobility of women in the 19th and 21st century.


Clare McCracken is a Melbourne-based, socially engaged artist and PhD candidate at RMIT University. She is the recipient of the prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship. Clare’s research sits at the intersection of art, cultural geography and urban theory.  She works site-specifically to create large-scale immersive installations, fine art objects and contemporary performance works that encourage a local dialogue about issues including planning, urban futures, connection to place, ecologies and gender equality. Her practice is characterised by strong and often textural visuals, innovation, performance, participation, story telling, humour and fiction.

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