Brad Buckley spent his childhood years in Sydney. His father, Jim Buckley, owned the Newcastle Hotel in Lower George Street. The Newcastle was one of the Push pubs and Buckley Senior presided over this place which was frequented by artists, poets, underworld figures and philosophers for almost twenty years. Buckley was deeply influenced by this early exposure to the possibilities of a libertine life.
During the 1970s, Buckley travelled widely throughout North America and Europe. He attended St Martin’s School of Art in London and between 1980 and 1982 the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, USA, where he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts. His work has been exhibited widely in Australia, Europe and North America, including at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; Franklin Furnace, New York, and Artspace Visual Arts Centre, Sydney. His recent exhibitions have been at the Visual Arts Gallery, at the University of Alabama, Birmingham; the Anna Leonowens Gallery, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax, and La Chambre Blanche, Quebec.
Buckley is the recipient of various grants and scholarships, and in 1990 he was awarded the PS 1/MoMA Institute for Contemporary Art Fellowship from the Australia Council. He has been a Visiting Professor at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Buckley is an artist, urbanist and Professor of Contemporary Art and Culture, and is currently the Associate Dean (Research) at Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney.
During 1999, Brad Buckley convened with John Conomos a series of forums at Artspace Visual Arts Centre in Sydney titled ‘The Republics of Ideas’. These forums explored the rhetorical, political and cultural implications of an Australian republic. In March, 2001, Pluto Press published an anthology The Republics of Ideas edited by Buckley and Conomos. Buckley has also developed and chaired with Conomos a number of conference sessions for the College Art Association in the US, including ‘America: the Divine Empire’ (Atlanta 2005) and ‘The Contemporary Collaborator in an Interdisciplinary World’ (Dallas 2008).
Buckley with Su Baker, the Head of the School of Art, Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Melbourne, received in 2008 a $100,000 Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) grant to undertake research into the PhD in creative arts in Australian universities.
His most recent installation was shown in October 2008 at the Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown (I.C.A.N.) in Sydney. Buckley with Blair French curated Reading and Writing Rooms, a major survey of the New Zealand born, Canadian based artist, Bruce Barber at Artspace Visual Arts Centre, Sydney in November 2008.
In 2009, NSCAD University Press published an anthology Rethinking the Contemporary Art School: the Artist, the PhD, and the Academy edited by Buckley and John Conomos. During October and November 2009 Buckley was a Visiting Scholar at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. He also convened with senior faculty a conference on higher degrees and research in the art and design school context at The New School in October 2010.