News

Vale Emeritus Professor Sue Rowley

08 Sep 2016

Emeritus Professor Sue Rowley died peacefully on Saturday September 3 at Maroondah Hospital.

Rowley, a passionate advocate for creative and performing arts research, was a much admired and valued contributor to the Faculty. 

Among her many professional achievements, Professor Rowley was Foundation Professor of Contemporary Australian Arts History at the University of New South Wales, Executive Director for Humanities and Creative Arts at the Australian Research Council, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Technology Sydney, where she was honoured with the title of Emeritus Professor.

In addition to several prominent Board memberships, she also chaired the University of Wollongong’s Faculty of Creative Arts Advisory Committee and the Executive Council of the UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building.

In 2012, Professor Rowley contributed to the development of a Research Strategy Plan for the VCA, working closely with VCA Director Professor Su Baker, Associate Dean (Research) Professor Gary McPherson, and Research Manager Lucy O’Brien. The plan made an immediate impact on the VCA’s research agenda and focus, which have continued to grow and flourish since that time.

Rowley maintained a close relationship with the Faculty, including through grant mentoring, leading grant development workshops and grant reviewing, supporting academic development, and leadership coaching. Her generosity, wisdom and clear thinking supported many at the Faculty, from early-career researchers to those taking on senior leadership roles, all of whom benefited from her boundless energy and insight. 

Professor Rowley’s passion and advocacy for creative and performing arts research have fostered the growth of this sector nationally and will continue to support those disciplines in the academy, and the researchers within them, into the future.

Dean of the VCA & MCM Professor Barry Conyngham has composed a work for cello to be performed by the Faculty’s Dr Alvin Wong at a service on Friday for Professor Rowley.

The piece, titled For Sue, was composed “the day after I learnt of the death of my friend and colleague, Sue Rowley,” said Professor Conyngham. “Somehow the solo cello is the instrument with which I wished to say goodbye. Its richness, its breadth of expression, its feeling of strength and solidity, its range and subtlety all remind me of Sue.”

“Sue was one of my dearest long-term colleagues, someone who really made a difference while being a loving and much-loved person. In view of her achievements since we first worked together at the University of Wollongong, I have not-so-jokingly always referred to her as ‘my greatest academic achievement’. It was very apt that my wife, Deb, asked her to be one of the two speakers at my seventieth birthday.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to her partner of 47 years, Professor Jim Falk, and her family.”

A celebration of Professor Rowley’s life will be held on the Faculty of VCA & MCM’s Southbank campus this Friday from 10.30am in Federation Hall.