My research focuses on visual and material culture—including art, exhibitions, and cultural institutions. Current projects encompass a range of topics from contemporary video art and artists’ labour unions to the international circulation of exhibitions, curatorial networks, and cultural diplomacy.
Art and the Invention of North America
This book manuscript (under contract with University of British Columbia Press) takes on the task of revising the dominant perception that culture is absent from free trade histories. Art and the Invention of North America brings together a series of understudied exhibitions to argue that art was in fact used to promote the seeming inevitability of North American unity in the late twentieth century. The book also suggests the significance of contemporary art production in the period, revealing how contemporary artists engaged with, debated, and reflected on free trade in their work.
“A Living Culture, A Living Wage”: A Case Study of the Independent Artists’ Union
In collaboration with Greig de Peuter (Wilfrid Laurier University), I am engaged in oral history interviews and archival research to understand the trajectory and impact of the little-known Independent Artists’ Union (IAU). A significant case of collective organizing among artists in Canada, the IAU was a labour organization of artists that was active in Ontario in the 1980s.
Exhibiting International Values: The Cultural Diplomacy of UNESCO’s Museums Division
This study is funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2017-19) and examines the longstanding role of museums as cultural envoys in the global sphere, providing necessary context to the current cultural diplomatic role of museums in Canada and abroad. My research focuses on the work of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Museums Division, which since the end of the Second World War has played a central role in coordinating museum work internationally.