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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Claire Wintle is Senior 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.

Claire 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 large-scale processes of nationalism, imperialism and decolonisation.

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 a broader research agenda that examines the impact of exhibition and museum-making on political and economic change during the middle years of the twentieth century at a moment when independence movements dramatically affected constitutional and cultural landscapes across the world.

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 probe 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

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.

She welcomes enquiries from students keen to work on her areas of expertise:

  • Museums and collecting
  • Exhibition design
  • Empire and decolonisation
  • Disciplinary histories of world art and anthropology
  • Victorian popular culture and imperialism
  • The material culture of South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean
  • Cultures of modelling and miniaturization
  • Material culture and nationalism

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

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Research Output 2006 2018

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

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

Cultural Diplomacy
Nationalism
Memorial
India
Nehru

Decolonising UK world art institutions, 1945-1980

Wintle, C., 1 Dec 2017, 35, p. 106-112 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
File
Art
Decolonization
Neocolonialism
Anthropology
Africa

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

Wintle, C., 28 Jun 2017, 9, 2, p. 207-224 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
File
diplomacy
school
hegemony
cold war
nationalism

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

Wintle, C., 16 Oct 2017, 30, 4, p. 431-433

Research output: Contribution to journalBook ReviewResearch

India on Display: Nationalism, Transnationalism and Collaboration, 1964-86

Wintle, C., 1 Nov 2017, 31

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Nationalism
India
Transnationalism
Creator
Personal Relationships

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

Journal of Museum Ethnography (Journal)

Claire Wintle (Member of editorial board)
2017 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work

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

Claire Wintle (Organiser), Jacklyn Lacey (Organiser)
2017

Activity: EventsConference

Royal Historical Society (External organisation)

Claire Wintle (Fellow)
2016 → …

Activity: External boards and professional/academic bodiesMembership of professional body