Dr Christina Clarke

BA BA(Visual)Hons MAHCS(Advanced) PhD
Lecturer in Early Modern Art, Design and Material Culture
College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Art History 190102
  • Visual Arts And Crafts 1905
  • Design History And Theory 120301
  • European History (Excl. British, Classical Greek And Roman) 210307
  • Classical Greek And Roman History 210306

Research interests

Early modern art and material culture, history of metals, history of design, decorative arts.

Biography

Christina is an art historian with over two decades’ experience as a practicing metalsmith. Her research centres on historical and archaeological metal material culture, with a specific focus on the artisanal processes involved in the production of metal items from the dawn of metallurgy to the early twentieth century. Her research has covered such diverse topics as the production of metal vessels in Bronze Age Greece, metalworking in the Greco-Roman world and Pre-Columbian Peru, the production of medals and silver furniture for Louis XIV, metal industries in Enlightenment France, nineteenth-century Australian silverware, and Arts and Crafts jewellery and metalwork in Britain and Australia. Her research is methodologically interdisciplinary, incorporating artisanal practice, archaeological and archival materials, material culture approaches and digital humanities.

Education

Christina completed undergraduate degrees in Classical Studies (Latin, Greek and Ancient History) and in Visual Arts (gold-and silversmithing) at ANU, where she also completed a Masters in Art History and Curatorial Studies (Advanced) and a PhD. Her doctorate research was a practice-led archaeological study into the fabrication of metal vessels in Minoan Bronze Age Crete, which later became her first book, The Manufacture of Minoan Metal Vessels: Theory and Practice (Astrom Editions, 2013). Her Masters research into the chaîne opératoire of the production of silver furniture produced for Louis XIV between 1666 and 1689 is currently in press.

Career

Christina has worked across higher education and the GLAM sector (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums). Over several years at the National Gallery of Australia, she held roles as an Assistant Archivist working on the preservation and description of Australian artists’ archives and documentation, as a volunteer Curatorial Assistant in Australian and International Decorative Arts and Design, and as a volunteer Assistant Conservator of objects. She has also worked as a Metal Fabricator and has taught community education courses in making silver jewellery. She is the Project Administrator for the Australian Research Council Discovery Project Performing Transdisciplinarity and co-editor of the digital critical edition of Jean-Benjamin de Laborde’s eighteenth-century illustrated songbook Choix de chansons, which resulted from this project. She has been awarded with a number of research fellowships and awards, most recently as Endeavour Research Fellow at the Voltaire Foundation, University of Oxford, in 2018.

Christina is a recipient of the 2021 ANU Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence and the 2020 ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences Dean’s Commendation for Excellence in Teaching.

 

Researcher's projects

Material Knowledge and Material Culture: The Silver Furniture of Louis XIV (1666—1689)

How can we gain a true understanding of historical material culture which no longer exists? Is there a way to comprehend the materiality of objects once they are gone? This project aims to reconstruct the materiality of one such group of objects—the lost silver furniture of Louis XIV—by identifying the craft processes that were used to make them. This material reconstruction is achieved by gathering the scant data on these pieces which survives in accounts and inventories and analysing these with the implicit knowledge of metal—the material knowledge—gained from experience in the craft.

Performing Transdisciplinarity

This Australian Research Council Discovery Project is a cross-institutional collaboration between ANU (Robert Wellington and Christina Clarke), The University of Melbourne (Erin Helyard), The University of Sydney (Mark Ledbury), the Sorbonne (Glenn Roe) and Oxford University (Nicholas Cronk). It is the first study to specifically address the unique transdisciplinary nature of eighteenth-century print culture, the quintessential example of which is the illustrated songbook. In order to recreate the inherent performativity of these complex cultural objects, new models of cross-disciplinary collaboration and multimedia dissemination are required. This project provides one such model of methodological innovation: the team will explore the nexus of image, music, and text in an exemplary French songbook, reconceived as a multimedia digital interface for sharing and linking deep disciplinary knowledge and for the innovative recreation of the sounds, sensibilities, and social mores of late-eighteenth-century France.

Metalworkers and Metalworking in Diderot and d'Alembert's Encyclopédie

The Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, published by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert between 1751 and 1766 provides a tantalising snapshot of metalworking technology and knowledge in eighteenth-century Europe. This project will collate and annotate the 500+ articles and plates relating to metalworking in the Encyclopédie and provide translations into English to make this fascinating storehouse of knowledge available to English-speaking audiences for the first time.

Current student projects

Doctoral Candidates

 Bic Tieu, "The Production and Impact of Biographic Objects as Instruments for Traversing Personal Identity, Migration and Intercultural Spaces."

Tracy Pateman, "Objects that Distil the Experience of Home: A Participative Design Approach with People Living with Memory Loss."

Patricia Stone, "Gothic Revival to Gum Leaves: Changing Styles in Church Needlework in Australia in the Twentieth Century."

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Updated:  25 May 2022 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers