Research activity per year

Personal profile


I am a practicing artist. I also write theory of art, focusing on the role and value of art in society.

I spent 9 years working with anthropologists, and a few archaeologists at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge (2009-2018) and also at the Museum Volkenkunde (Leiden Netherlands).

My scholarly (meaning written, academic) work describes the discipline of art, the type of knowledge that art produces, the role of art in democracy, and also the ethics of inter- and multi-disciplinary work with artists.

In addition to writing scholarly books and articles, I write fiction as one of many approaches to making art. I also have done performances, made paintings, curated exhibitions, faciliated participatory interventions and made sound work.

Research interests

Art as a Knowledge-forming Discipline   |   History of Colonialism |   History and Theory of Modern & Contemporary Art   |   Philosophy-Aesthetics   |   Museums Practice and Curating   |   Ethnography- Anthropology   |   The impact of Neoliberalism on Art and Museums   |   Indigenous Representation and Politics   |   Ecology: both the science and the politics



The monograph I am currently working on is called 'Between Discipline and a Hard Place' (Bloomsbury), in which I argue that artists and artists alone should define art - not audiences, critics, historians, governments or the market.

I also argue that art produces knowledge akin to any other knowledge-forming discipline -  that art IS a discipline - and that art is not simply the equivalent of creativity. Because art is a discipline art practice requires education (albeit not necessarily a university education).


In addition to writing theory as an artist, I also conduct research through my art practice.
One area I investigated is the question of repatriation and belonging of both people and things.
Another is the colonial entanglements of West Papua, which is currently occupied - brutally - by Indonesia and formerly by the Dutch.
And the history Fiji, myths of cannibalism, and particularly the perpetuation of 'cannibal myths' through ethnographic artefacts, such as the Fijian 'cannibal fork'.

My PhD was in art as a democratic act, so I guess I should mention that here as well...


Education/Academic qualification

Fine Art and History of Art, PhD, Art as a Democratic Act: the interplay of content and context 2000-2006, Oxford Brookes University

1 Jun 200431 Jan 2008

Award Date: 30 Jan 2008

Gender, Society, Culture, MA, Birkbeck College

1 Sept 199230 Sept 1994

Award Date: 30 Sept 1994

Fine Art - Painting, BA, Victoria College, Prahran, Melbourne

1 Mar 198730 Jun 1990

Award Date: 30 Jun 1990

External positions

Senior Researcher, The University of Cambridge

1 May 201330 Nov 2017

AHRC Fellow in Creative Arts, The University of Cambridge

1 Apr 200931 Mar 2014

Artist-Educator, Tate Modern

1 Jan 200030 Apr 2005


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