DR Claire Roberts

DR Claire Roberts


  • Cultural history of China
  • Modern and contemporary Chinese art
  • Photography and China



  • Research interests
    Modern and contemporary Chinese art; the history of photography in China; creative flows between China and the world.

    Dr Claire Roberts is an historian of Chinese art and a curator. She is Associate Professor, Art History and ARC Future Fellow in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. She has published widely on Chinese art and visual and material culture, and curated numerous exhibitions.

    Claire is fluent in Mandarin and began her studies in Chinese at secondary school in Melbourne. She later studied at Beijing Languages Institute (1978-79) and the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (1979-81). She has a Bachelor of Arts, Combined Hons. (1983) and a Master of Arts (1987) from the University of Melbourne. She was Curator at the Museum of Chinese-Australian History, Melbourne (1986-88) and Senior Curator of Asian Arts at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney (1988-2010). Claire's PhD undertaken in the Research School of Pacific and Asian History at ANU (2006), focussed on the work of scholar and brush-and-ink painter Huang Binhong (1865-1955). After completing her PhD she was a Post-doctoral Fellow with Geremie R Barmé's ARC Federation Fellowship (2007-9); Research Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University (2009-10); Coordinate Program Fellow, Harvard-Yenching Institute (2011); Senior Lecturer in Art History, University of Adelaide (2012-2014). Her current ARC Future Fellowship project focuses on the international context of modern and contemporary Chinese art.

    Claire's book publications include:
    Yang Zhichao: Chinese Bible (Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales & Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, 2015) Editor
    Photography and China (London: Reaktion Books, 2013)
    Go Figure! Contemporary Chinese Portraiture (Canberra: National Portrait Gallery, 2012)   


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • Claire Roberts was Visiting Scholar, Fairbank Institute for Chinese Studies, Harvard University (2009-2010); History of Art Fellow, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.(2003); Curatorial Fellow, Bunkacho (Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs) Fellow, Crafts Gallery, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (1996); Curatorial Fellow, Shanghai Museum, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Arts Administrators' Exchange (1989-90).   


Education and training

  • PhD, The Australian National University 2006
  • MA, University of Melbourne 1987
  • BA (Combined Honours), University of Melbourne 1984
  • Cert. Chin Ptg, Central Academy of Fine Art 1981

Awards and honors

  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2015
  • Dwight Final Examination Prize for Combined Honours, The University of Melbourne, 1984
  • Wyselaskie Scholarship in Modern Languages, The University of Melbourne, 1984
  • R. G. Wilson Scholarship in Chinese, Final Examination, The University of Melbourne, 1983



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • PhD scholarship related to the ARC Future Fellow research project 'Reconfiguring the World: China. Art. Agency 1900s to Now'.