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Claire Roberts

Associate Professor - Art History And Curatorship
Primary interest
biography & autobiography
ian fairweather
australian art
art, chinese
Claire Roberts's Profile Picture

Claire Roberts

Primary Interest
Cultural flows between Australia and China
Claire Roberts's Profile Picture

Claire Roberts


Research interests
Modern and contemporary Chinese art; the historiography of Chinese art; the history of photography in China; creative flows between China and the world, and between Australia and China

Claire Roberts is an art historian specialising in modern and contemporary Chinese art. She is Associate Professor, Art History, in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne.

Claire has published widely on Asian art and visual and material culture, and curated numerous exhibitions. Her ARC Future Fellowship research project "Reconfiguring the World: China. Art. Agency 1900s to Now" (2015-19) focuses on the international context of modern and contemporary Chinese art.

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 Decorative Arts and Design at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney (1988-2010). Claire's PhD undertaken in the Research School of Pacific and Asian History at ANU (2006), examined 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).

Claire's book publications include:
Ian Fairweather: A Life in Letters (Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2019) [Co-edited with John Thompson]
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) [Editor]
Friendship in Art: Fou Lei and Huang Binhong (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010).
Other Histories: Guan Wei's Fable for a Contemporary World. Documentation of an Exhibition (Sydney: Wild Peony, 2008) [Editor]
The Great Wall of China (Sydney: Powerhouse Publishing, 2006) [Co-edited with Geremie R Barme].

Claire's exhibitions include:
Xiao Lu: Impossible Dialogue (4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, 2019), with Mikala Tai and Xu Hong
Yang Zhichao: Chinese Bible (Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney, 2015)
Go Figure! Contemporary Chinese Portraiture (National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 2012)
The Great Wall of China, a collaborative project with the National Museum of China, Beijing (Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 2006)
Earth, Spirit, Fire: Korean Masterpieces of the Choson Dynasty, a collaborative project with the National Museum of Korea (Powerhouse Museum,Sydney, 2000)
Evolution & Revolution: Chinese Dress 1700s to Now (Powerhouse Museum,Sydney, 1997)
Post Mao Product: New Art From China (Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1992).
She was curatorial adviser for Chinese art for the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (1996, 1999).

Scholarly Works

Displaying the 79 most recent scholarly works by Claire Roberts.

Honours, Awards and Fellowships


Wyselaskie Scholarship in Modern Languages

The University of Melbourne


Dwight Final Examination Prize for Combined Honours

The University of Melbourne


R. G. Wilson Scholarship in Chinese, Final Examination

The University of Melbourne


FAHA - Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities





Associate Professor - Art History And Curatorship

Culture And Communication

Supplemenatry Committee Member, Australia

Comite International d’Histoire de L’Art (CIHA), Australia


PhD in Chinese history

The Australian National University

Master of Arts in the Department of Fine Arts and East Asian Studies

University of Melbourne

Bachelor of Arts (Hons)

University of Melbourne

Certificate of Chinese Painting

Central Academy of Fine Art