Clare Harris

Prof Clare Harris FBA is Curator for Asia Collections and Professor of Visual Anthropology at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford. She is also a Fellow of Magdalen College. Prof Harris’s pioneering work on Tibetan art, visual culture, material culture, photography and museums has effectively created a new field of study for which she has received recognition in the form of book prizes, research awards and invitations to lecture at universities around the world. Clare’s work on Tibet and its diaspora has been informed by her wider interests in contemporary art and aesthetics, the politics of collecting and representation (especially in museums, the art world, and photography), and a critical approach to the impact and aftermath of British imperialism in India and Tibet. Her doctoral thesis was published as In the Image of Tibet (1999), the first study of modernist and contemporary Tibetan art. Later books, such as The Museum on the Roof of the World (2012) and Photography and Tibet (2016) break new ground with their interrogation of the modes in which Tibet has been represented museologically, visually and politically, both by outsiders and Tibetans themselves. This work is the product of many years of research in Tibetan communities, as well as in archival contexts in Europe and North America. Clare continues to combine these methods in her latest project on the history and after-lives of photographs created in the Indian Himalayas since the colonial period. Much of her research feeds into curatorial activities at the Pitt Rivers Museum, in art galleries in the UK and Asia, and in projects with contemporary artists. Clare is very much a public-facing academic and curator who has given many talks for audiences outside academia, and has appeared on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4.