Exhibitions program

Through the Exhibitions Program, UNSW Library collaborates with a diverse range of partners across the University and broader community. This program creates a space for discourse in the Library and provides a venue for the Library to showcase and support the kinds of research outputs that previously didn’t have an outlet within our collections. View the Featured collection to access past exhibition catalogues and posters.

The Library also presents exhibitions as digital experiences through our Online Exhibitions which showcase the Library's digital collections, cultural collections held in the University, and creative research outputs by UNSW academics.

If you are interested in organising an exhibition or an object-based learning workshop, please get in touch with the Library's Curator, Special Collections and Exhibitions.

If you would like to be notified about upcoming UNSW Library exhibitions, join our mailing list.

Current exhibitions

Exhibitions on view at Main and Law Library, Kensington Campus, and UNSW Art & Design Library, Paddington Campus.

Hearts, Hands, Minds: 75 years UNSW Art Collection

This exhibition celebrates UNSW's 75th anniversary in 2024 and traces the development of the collection.

Level 5 Main Library

Threads of The Mahābhārata

This exhibition displays beautifully handbound volumes of the epic Indian poem The Mahābhārata, held in the UNSW Library Special Collections.

Level 3 Main Library

Liberating History: 50 Years of Tharunka’s “Women’s Issue”

Drawing on materials from UNSW Archives, this exhibition explores shifting perspectives over the past 50 years on a range of socio-political and feminist topics.

UNSW Art & Design Paddington Library

Alumni murals

The UNSW Library Alumni mural program is a series of site-specific public artworks by UNSW alumni created for the lift foyers of the UNSW Main Library. This series is part of a broader strategy within UNSW Library to enrich the student experience by embedding art and culture throughout the Library.


Upcoming exhibitions

Living Water: 75 years of water research at UNSW

Presented across all three libraries, this exhibition reflects, celebrates and reaffirms UNSW's commitment to the stewardship of the planet's marine, freshwater and urban water ecosystems.

Exhibition on display from 8 July 2024.
Level 5 Main Library, Ground Level Law Library and UNSW Art & Design Paddington Library.

Find out more

Image: Operation Crayweed. Photographer: John Turnbull

Past exhibitions

  • Strange Tastes

    This rare book display featured a collection of weird and wonderful recipes dating back to the 17th century. 'Foie gras ice cream' and 'Turtle Fins on Toast' were among the curious delicacies found in the historic cookbooks held in the UNSW Library Special Collections.

    From 21 November 2023 to 15 March 2024

    Framework 2023 (and beyond)

    This display showcased two 2023 issues of ARC Creative's critical arts journal Framework, and documents its launch event 'Fatal Crush'. It featured a record of student writing as a call to get involved.

    From 20 October 2023 to 4 March 2024

    Care is a relationship

    Part exhibition, part interactive makerspace, Care is a relationship invited audiences to learn about and share all kinds of experiences - from caring for a loved one with dementia, caring for our own and others mental health, to caring for the environment in the face of climate collapse.

    From 4 September to 17 November 2023

    More-than-Human Wellbeing

    More-than-Human Wellbeing sought to attune visitors to their role in more-than-human ecologies and how their health and wellbeing and that of the planet is entangled.

    From 22 May to 18 August 2023

    Flesh & Bone

    Flesh & Bone: Illustrations of anatomy was a display of rare books from the UNSW Library Special Collections featuring anatomical illustrations from the 15th to 18th centuries.

    From 22 May to 18 August 2023


    Love. Respect. Pride

    Through their respective practices, the artists in Love. Respect. Pride. explored queer perspectives, aesthetics, and narratives around identity, sexuality and queer love.

    From 24 February to 26 May 2023

    Sonus Maris

    Sonus Maris featured audio-visual media reinterpreting data which charts the unique dynamics of intermittently closed and open lakes and lagoons (ICOLLs) along the NSW coastline.

    From 6 February to 7 May 2023

  • Ex Libris: 20th Century Australian Bookplates

    This selection of bookplates was sourced from the UNSW Library Special Collections. Displays explored the work of artists Adrian Feint and George David Perrottet, noted bookplate collector P. Neville Barnett, and Australian Ex Libris societies and clubs.

    From 5 December 2022 to 30 January 2023


    The UNSW Wicked Collective invited students, staff, and researchers across the ADA Faculty to submit creative responses and interventions to one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in relation to the wicked problem of Climate Change.

    From 12 September to 18 November 2022

    Trophy Dreams

    Trophy Dreams was a multi-artform interactive exhibition by artists from Studio A, Sydney's leading studio for artists living with intellectual disabilities. The exhibition included new works specially commissioned for UNSW.

    From 30 May to 30 August 2022

    The Lawyers of the Uluru Statement

    The Lawyers of the Uluru Statement celebrated the extraordinary work involved in constitutional recognition of First Nations people, and the support provided by academics at the Indigenous Law Centre.

    From May 2022 to 27 November 2023

    Where are you from?

    Students and staff share personal stories of what it is like to experience the question 'Where are you from?' in a mostly white Australia.

    From 14 February to 12 May 2022

  • Peoples and Landscapes in Motion: from Silk Roads to Australia

    This exhibition presents artworks of four eminent Australian artists showcasing the diversity of humanity and geography along the ancient Silk Roads.

    Online exhibition

    About closed doors: isolation and art

    Curated by Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership students, this exhibition brought together artworks made by 11 UNSW students during the 2020 lockdown.

    From 21 May 2021 to 3 February 2022

    Mental Health and me

    This exhibition and art prize features digital art by UNSW students showcasing their unique mental health journeys.

    Online exhibition

    UNSW Library Unstacked

    UNSW Library Unstacked was a live data visualisation that displayed and interpreted usage of the UNSW Library collection in real-time, communicating the scale, breadth and depth of library research activity that is otherwise invisible.

    Online exhibition

  • Performing Sydney

    With story, data analysis and visualisation by Dr Jonathan Bollen (Senior Lecturer, School of Arts and Media), this exhibition maps the story of theatres in Sydney over the last hundred years.

    From 2 December 2020 to 14 May 2021

    Worlding With Oysters: Sarah Jane Moore

    Dr Sarah Jane Moore asks us to listen to the Bandangi - the Sydney Rock Oyster. This dialogue between art and science opens up a space to embrace Indigenous knowledge, understandings and wisdoms, where the revitalisation of cultural practices is a call to arms to care for Sea Country.

    From 14 October to 13 November 2020, Available online

    UNSW: 70 years

    UNSW Sydney celebrated its 70th year in 2019 and this exhibition, a collaboration between UNSW Library and UNSW Archives, featured archival material that captures the University's humble beginnings in 1949 to the expansive multidisciplinary institution we know it as today.

    From 13 November 2019 to 27 May 2021

    Strong and Powerful: Remembering the Age of AIDS

    This exhibition presented posters and ephemera from personal collections that captured the community-lead response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic during the 1980s and 90s in Australia.

    From 27 November to 13 December 2019

    Photography, Race and Slavery: African Sitters of Qajar Era Iran

    Curated by Dr Pedram Khosronejad, this exhibition traced the somewhat unexplored history of African slaves in Iran during the Qajar dynasty and looks at the unique role of the camera in Iranian royalty from the 1840s to the 1930s. The exhibition was presented as part of the Silk Roads @ UNSW Seminar Series.

    From 23 September to 14 November 2019

    Sea Country and Gangaagundi Guunuwaygan exhibitions

    These exhibitions were presented on the occasion of the 3rd Australia New Zealand Marine Biotechnology Society Conference at UNSW in 2019. They were a collaboration between The Global Water Institute, UNSW Library and the UNSW Art Collection.

    From 20 May to 02 August 2019

    In Response: Dialogues with RealTime

    This exhibition marks the closure of the RealTime art magazine and the launch of its archive. RealTime was Australia’s critical guide to national and international contemporary arts from 1994-2018.

    From 25 February to 25 April 2019

    Extended Reality

    This exhibition featured a suite of Virtual and Augmented Reality experiences, designed for the classroom, to provide students with opportunities to engage with their disciplines in innovative and inspiring ways through experience-based learning.

    From 11 to 15 February 2019

  • Luminocity

    This exhibition showcased models and designs produced by current UNSW students working across all Built Environment disciplines.

    From 8 to 25 October 2018

    Alun Leach-Jones: a language of his own

    Alun Leach-Jones was one of Australia's best known abstract artists. This memorial exhibition celebrates an artist who had a formative impact on a generation of artists and art lovers throughout Australia.

    From 13 August to 19 September 2018

    Max Dupain: the architecture of UNSW

    From 1959 to 1970, UNSW’s main photographer of record was Max Dupain - one of the leading figures in 20th century Australian photography. This exhibition draws from photographs collected by the University Archives from the roughly 140 jobs Dupain carried out for UNSW.

    From 23 April to 31 May 2018

    Tip of the iceberg: Works from the UNSW Art Collection

    This exhibition brought together more than thirty paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures by leading Australian artists, reflecting the strengths of the University’s holdings of Australian art from the 1980s and 1990s.

    From 15 December 2017 to 27 March 2018