Deborah Beck

Deborah Beck

PHA NSW Accreditation

Professional Member



Deborah Beck is an author, artist and historian. She studied at the National Art School in the 1970s and received a Master of Arts (History) at the University of Sydney in 2010. She has taught in art schools in Sydney for over twenty years is currently a drawing lecturer, historian, collections manager and archivist at the National Art School. She has co-curated five major exhibitions in the NAS Gallery. She has worked as an oral historian for the Sydney City Council and the State Library of NSW, and has recently established the National Art School Oral History project.


Her first book Hope in Hell – a History of Darlinghurst Gaol and the National Art School, was published by Allen and Unwin in 2005. Her second book Set in Stone: the Cell Block Theatre was published by UNSW press in April 2011, and won a NSW Premier’s History award in 2012. Her third book, Rayner Hoff: the life of a sculptor was published in March 2017.




Area of Expertise

Australian Artist biographies

Art Education in NSW

Darlinghurst Gaol History

Australian Theatre History

Publications/Past Work


2017                Rayner Hoff: the life of a sculptor, Deborah Beck, NewSouth Publishing, March. Reviews: Dr Suzanne Rickard, Dictionary of Sydney, Troy Lennon, Daily Telegraph, Tracey Clement, Art Guide (extract from book); Kosmas Tsokhas, History Australia; Christopher Menz, Australian Book Review; Juliette Peers, Australian Journal of Biography and History


2014                Bailed Up: Bushrangers at Darlinghurst Gaol. Booklet published by the National Art School, October


2011                Set in Stone: the Cell Block Theatre, Deborah Beck, UNSW press, April


2011                Reviews for Set in Stone: Sydney Morning Herald, Bryce Hallet; SAM magazine, Diana Simmonds; LOOK magazine: Jill Sykes; The Australian: Bridget McCormack; Sydney Morning Herald: Bruce Elder; History magazine (RAHS): Gerrie Boeyen


2005                Hope in Hell: A History of Darlinghurst Gaol and the National Art School, Deborah Beck, Allen and Unwin, November


2005-06           Reviews for Hope in Hell: Australian Art Review, Stewart White; Sydney Morning Herald, Bruce Elder; LOOK magazine, Jill Sykes; Reflections Magazine, Jane Watters