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Dr Ali Clark

Dr Ali Clark
Dr Ali Clark
Senior Curator, Oceania and the Americas
Responsible for: Collections from Oceania and the Americas.
Research interests: Collecting histories, climate change, ethnobotany, land rights, and contemporary Oceanic art.

Dr Ali Clark is senior curator, responsible for collections from Oceania and the Americas.

Ali received her MA (2007) from the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and her PhD (2013) from the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London. She has previously worked at the October Gallery, The British Museum and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. She is the editor for the Journal of Museum Ethnography.

Both her masters and PhD theses were on the Indigenous Australian collections at the British Museum. Her PhD, which was an AHRC collaborative doctoral award between King’s College London and the British Museum, compared two collections of Indigenous Australian material culture (Tiwi and Yirandali) housed in the British Museum, focusing on indigenous/settler relations, and indigenous relationships to land.

Following her PhD studies and prior to her appointment at National Museums Scotland she was a post-doctoral research associate on the ERC funded project, ‘Pacific Presences: Oceanic Art and European Museums’ (2013-2018) based at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), University of Cambridge. Her research focused on the contemporary salience of museum collections to I-Kiribati, Kiribati armour, and the world cultures collections of Victorian collector Lady Annie Brassey. This was followed by a 12 month Newton Trust Fellowship also based at the MAA during which time she completed her monograph on the history of HMS Royalist and its collecting practices in the Pacific 1890-1893, considering the contemporary resonance of this period of history for Pacific Islanders in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Kiribati. At MAA she curated exhibitions on contemporary Australian art, and Kiribati armour.

She is Principal Investigator on the AHRC funded project 'People and Plants' and partner investigator on the ARC funded project 'Entangled Knowledges: Kaartdijin, Science and History in the Robert Neill collection’ led by Deakin University. 

She is also primary supervisor for the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership with the Sainsbury Research Unit 'Imagining the Pacific in Scotland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries: Collectors, Collections, Museums and Universities'

Her current research is focused on Micronesia and Australia where she has a particular focus on art and climate change, and biocultural collections.

Clark, A. and A. McLaren (2019). ‘Captain Cook Upon Changing Seas: Indigenous Voices and Reimaging at the British Museum’. Journal of Pacific History. DOI: 10.1080/00223344.2019.1663390

Clark, A. (2019) Resonant Histories: Pacific Artefacts and the voyages of HMS Royalist  1890-1893. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Clark, A. and Erna Lilje. (2019) ‘Decolonizing Strategies: Doing Research in Ethnographic Museums’. Journal of Museum Ethnography, Vol.32, pp.32-45.

Clark, A., C. Harvey, L. Kenward and J. Porter. (2018) ‘More Than Souvenirs: Lady Annie Brassey’s Curated Collections’. Journeys: The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing. Vol.19 (2), pp.82-105.

Clark, A., C. Charteris, R. Howie, L. Leckie and K. Watson. (2018) ‘Many Hands, Many Voices: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Exhibiting Kiribati Armour’. Journal of the Institute of Conservation.

Carreau. L., A. Clark, A. Jelinek, E. Lilje and N. Thomas. (2018) Pacific Presences: Oceanic Art and European Museums Volume Two. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Carreau. L., A. Clark, A. Jelinek, E. Lilje and N. Thomas. (2018) Pacific Presences: Oceanic Art and European Museums Volume One. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Adams, J.,  P. Bence and A. Clark. (2018) Fighting Fibres: Kiribati Coconut Fibre Armour and Museum Collections. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Clark, A. and N. Thomas. (2017) Style and Meaning: Essays on the Anthropology of Art. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

For further publications see the National Museums Scotland Research Repository.

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