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

Ali received her MA from the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (2007) and her PhD from the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London. She has previously worked on a Getty Funded project (2007-2009) to document photographs from Oceania and the Americas at the British Museum, and an exhibition of contemporary Anishinaabe art at the October Gallery in London. 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), 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.

Her current research is focused on Micronesia and Australia where she is interested in the contemporary resonance of historic museum collections, and the revival of certain cultural practices. She has a particular focus on art and climate change in Oceania, and ethnobotanical collections found in anthropology museums.

Selected publications:

  • 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.
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