Researcher biography

I am a socio-cultural anthropologist and curator specialising in the materiality, visuality and digital aspects of cultures and societies.

My research interests include the anthropology of colours, anthropology of art - both contemporary and historical, cloth and clothing, cars, design anthropology, consumption, value creation, museum studies and museum management theory, digital data resources, architecture, landscape and ecology, public anthropology and research through exhibtion curation, and historical anthropology. I have expertise in researching Australian Indigenous and Pacific cultural production. Other published research is on re-inventing ethnographic museums for the 21st century, Indigenous Australian local art histories, culutral brokers, anthropology of the senses, place creation and images. 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 am expert at successfully profiling academic research for public engagement. I am currently the Director of the Museum Masters Program at UQ. Prior to this I was the Director of the UQ Anthropology Museum during two contracts between 2009-2017. I was trained as an architect and worked in the UK construction industry for a decade before my education in anthropology at University College London. I have worked with Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara since 1997 at Pukatja/ Ernabella and with other Aboriginal people in central Australia.

I was recruited to revive the museum's fortunes following post-doctoral fellowships at University College London and the Australian National University. I am the first woman to direct the UQ Anthropology museum. From their launch in September 2012, until August 2017. more than 60,000 people visited the UQAM's new teaching, research and engagement facilities of which I led the creation. I created a new era for the museum, with a new 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. I promoted a successful acquisition policy of purchasing works by named women makers to assist in the rebalancing the gender equity of the collection, and raised more than AUS$1.1 million for the museum. I initiated an original and innovative gallery program to show the museum's collection that included collaborative exhibitions derived from research in the museum's collection. These projects aim for inclusivity and an inter-cultural understanding that promote ever widening networks that assist in the on-going process of decolonising the museum.