Researcher biography

I am a social and cultural anthropologist specialising in material, visual and digital cultures including the anthropology of art. I have a continuing research interest and publication track record in the materiality of colours.

I have an undergraduate degree in Architecture, a Masters degree in Anthropology of Art from University College London and a PhD in Social Anthropology from University College London where I was part of the Material Culture group in the Department of Anthropology. My doctoral research was on the role of colours and the senses among Anangu Pitjanjatjara Yankunytjatjara in central Australia. I won an ESRC Post Doctoral Fellowship and a Post Doctoral fellowship at ANU before becoming the Anthropology Museum Director at UQ for 8 years. I am currently Director of the Museum Studies Masters Program at UQ.

My research interests include the anthropology of art and consumption practices, landscape and ecology, clothing, film and photography, historical anthropology, design anthropology. In museum studies my interest is broad and includes photographing collections for digital purposes, exhibition design, research through exhibition curation as public anthropology, the process of decolonizing museums, and in re-inventing ethnographic museums for the 21st century. I welcome students for higher degree research supervision in any of these subject areas.

My ARC Discovery (2013-2016) A desire for things concerns the relationship of money, art markets, consumption practices and art making among Indigenous artists working in central Australia.

I have curated 18 exhibitions where I sought to promote the work of women. These exhibitions include Art on a String, Threaded objects from Central Australia and Arnhem Land with Louise Hamby for Object, the Australian Centre of Craft and Design (Visions funded tour of Australia 2001-2006), a Retropsective of Nyukana Baker's work at the JamFactory (2009). My curatorial work for the UQ Anthropology Museum including exhibtions; In the Red-on the Vibrancy of things; Written on the Body curated with Judy Watson; Solomon Islands Re-enchantment and the Colonial Shadow with a curatorium. I commissioned the exhibitions, Gapuwiyak Calling- Phone made media from Arnhem Land developed with Miyarrka Media, Wild Australia-Meston's Wild Australia show 1892-1893 from Michael Aird, Manada Mapara and Paul Memmott, and Musical Landscapes of Lihir from Kirsty Gillespie and the Lihir development corporation, Papua New Guinea.

I am the first woman to direct the UQ Anthropology Museum where I sought to promote the work of women and to feminize the collection structure and content. The museum aquired more than 80 named works by women during my time as director. I created a new research infra structure for the museum that includes a dedicated 240m square gallery and a new global best practice collection store. I led the creation of a new online digital catalogue for the museum with innovative object imaging. More than 60,000 people visited the UQAM's new teaching, research and engagement facilities, and raised more than AUS$1.1 million for the museum. I initiated a gallery program to show the museum's collection that included collaborative exhibitions derived from research in the museum's collection. I am expert at successfully profiling academic research for public engagement. These projects aim for inclusivity and an inter-cultural understanding that promote ever widening networks which assist in the continuing process of decolonising the museum.