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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Claire Wintle is a historian of exhibitions, museums and collections, with a particular interest in curatorial practice, exhibition design and the politics of representation. Her work explores the relationship between museums and processes of nationalism, imperialism and decolonisation, often with a focus on South Asia.

Claire is Principal Lecturer in Museum Studies and Art and Design History. She is the Course Leader for the MA Curating Collections and Heritage, a collaborative masters programme developed between the University of Brighton and Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove. Her teaching focuses on the ethics of contemporary museum practice, with an emphasis on widening participation in and access to cultural heritage.

Claire’s early research focused on nineteenth and early twentieth-century colonial collecting and display in and of South Asia, with a particular focus on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal. She is currently working on two areas of research within a broader research agenda that examines the impact of exhibition and museum-making on imperialism and post-indpendence nation building during the middle years of the twentieth century.

The first project focuses on post-independence exhibitions of India in the UK and US (1947-1986), with an emphasis on shows generated by South Asian artists, designers and curators and that probed the limits of national identity for cultural practitioners. Secondly, she is working towards a monograph on curatorial practice in the UK between 1945 and 1980, using archival research and oral histories to consider how curators with responsibility for ‘ethnographic’ or ‘world cultures’ collections grappled with the professionalisation of their field, post-war recovery and the ‘end’ of empire. She is particularly interested in the lessons that can be learnt from historic examples of international networks, repatriation and exhibition making in our current ‘decolonising’ moment.

Supervisory Interests

Dr Wintle welcomes enquiries about projects on museums, exhibition design, collecting, cultural forms of imperialism, nationalism and decolonisation, especially in Britain, and the material and visual culture of South Asia.

Claire currently supervises five AHRC-funded PhD students, working on themes ranging from Australian textile design to diaspora engagement with museums. She works with colleagues at the British Museum to supervise Collaborative Doctoral Projects on the British Museum's relationships with anthropologists and museums in West Africa, 1945-80, and South Asian donors to the British Museum.


Scholarly biography

Claire read American Studies (BA Hons) and Art Gallery and Museum Studies (MA) at Manchester University before being awarded an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Studentship in the History of Art at the University of Sussex and the Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove. Her research has been supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, the AHRC, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, the University of Cambridge’s Crowther-Beynon Fund, the Henry James Green Trust and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She has published in journals including The American Historical Review, History Workshop Journal and the Journal of the History of Collections. Her monograph, Colonial Collecting and Display: Encounters with Material Culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (2013), is published by Berghahn. She was a Caird Research Fellow at London's National Maritime Museum in 2013 and a Mid-Career Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art in 2018. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Before coming to Brighton, Claire worked in collections, learning and public programmes at the Walker Art Gallery, World Museum Liverpool, Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, and Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove. She curated the exhibition Temple, Man and Tuson: Collecting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for Brighton Museum & Art Gallery and organized their international conference Objects, Images and Imaginings: Visual and Material Culture of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. She was the Secretary of the Museum Ethnographers Group between 2010 and 2014. She continues to work as a consultant to the museum sector and contributes to professional journals such as Museums Journal and the Journal of Museum Ethnography.

Education/Academic qualification

Master, University of Manchester

Bachelor, University of Manchester

PhD, University of Sussex

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Claire Wintle is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

museum Social Sciences
ethnography Social Sciences
decolonization Social Sciences
edition Social Sciences
diplomacy Social Sciences
India Arts & Humanities
Decolonization Arts & Humanities
school Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2006 2019

Open Access
Commonwealth Institute
Floor Plan

Displaying Independent India Abroad: Nationalism, Cultural Diplomacy and Collaboration at the Nehru Memorial Exhibition

Wintle, C., 1 Mar 2018, Heritage at the Interface: Interpretation and Identity. Hooper, G. (ed.). Gainesville: University Press of Florida

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

Cultural Diplomacy

Decolonising UK world art institutions, 1945-1980

Wintle, C., 1 Dec 2017, In : On Curating. 35, p. 106-112 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Diplomacy and the design school: The Ford Foundation and India’s National Institute of Design

Wintle, C., 28 Jun 2017, In : Design and Culture. 9, 2, p. 207-224 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
cold war

Displaying Time: The Many Temporalities of the Festival of India by Rebecca M. Brown

Wintle, C., 16 Oct 2017, In : Journal of Design History. 30, 4, p. 431-433

Research output: Contribution to journalBook Review

Activities 2005 2019

  • 10 Conference
  • 7 Membership of professional body
  • 1 Editorial work
  • 1 Personal board membership of professional/academic bodies

Association for Art History

Annebella Pollen (Member of programme committee), Lara Perry (Member of programme committee), Louise Purbrick (Member of programme committee), Claire Wintle (Member of programme committee), Naomi Salaman (Member of programme committee), Matthew Cornford (Member of programme committee), Jeremy Aynsley (Member of programme committee)
4 Apr 20196 Apr 2019

Activity: EventsConference

International Art Exhibitions of the 1980s: The Festivals of India

Claire Wintle (Organiser), Rebecca Brown (Organiser), Brij Tankha (Participant), Venugopal Maddipati (Participant), Darielle Mason (Participant), Stephen Huyler (Participant)
22 Feb 2018

Activity: EventsConference

Museum Histories for Museum Futures: Legacies of Museum Anthropology, 1945-1980

Claire Wintle (Organiser), Jacklyn Lacey (Organiser)

Activity: EventsConference

Journal of Museum Ethnography (Journal)

Claire Wintle (Member of editorial board)
2017 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work

Researching the Exhibition: Experience and Event

Claire Wintle (Organiser), Sarah Victoria Turner (Organiser), Saloni Mathur (Participant), Carmen Julia (Participant)

Activity: EventsConference