Catherine De Lorenzo

Assoc Professor

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Australian photographic history
Australian art historiography
cross-cultural issues in Australian art history

1991 …2022

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I am an art historian whose research connects the histories and historiographies of Australian art, photography and exhibitions, ethnophotography (my PhD area), Australian and European photographic exchange, contemporary public art and architectural photography. Unusually for art historians in Australia, my work can be found in leading national and international journals on Australian and Aboriginal studies, literature, visual anthropology, urban and visual studies, histories of photography, architecture and landscape architecture, as well as art history and art historiography. These recurrent interdisciplinary and cross-cultural themes inform my art historical practice; their integration into my research and teaching led to my being awarded the RAIA (now Australian Institute of Architects) Marion Mahony Griffin Prize for 2009. Linking this seemingly diverse range of fields is the legacy of my PhD, which drew on art and photo histories, visual anthropology, Indigenous studies, visual archives and theories of representation. 

In 2018 I co-authored Australian Art Exhibitions: Opening our eyes (T&H), which investigates changing perceptions of Australian culture through art exhibitions.

I have conducted extensive research on French photographic collections, exhibitions and installations about Australia and its peoples at key moments from the mid nineteenth century to today, including the protagonists and policies that shaped them, and the architectures that housed them. These visual archives, positioned outside a strictly colonial framework, enable an anamorphic critique of national, colonial and post-colonial photo histories – as examined in numerous articles.

My current project takes this research in a new direction in order to cover carefully-selected exhibitions of Australian art in Europe 1937–2007. In collaboration with curator and writer Djon Mundine, we examine exhibition archives over 70 years to evaluate changing perceptions of Australian art and culture, and their impact on European contemporary art museums. Interviews with key curators will capture personal reflections and insights on institutional transformations. Each case study includes cross-cultural, trans-national and cross-disciplinary elements that bring new perspectives to art and exhibition histories. 

I have served on the editorial boards of History of Photography, Design and Art Australia Online and Visual Studies, and am currently on the Editorial Advisory Board ofthe Journal of Art Historiography. From January-March 2020 I was Visiting Research Fellow at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger

Education/Academic qualification

Art history, PhD, Ethnophotography: Photographic Images of Aboriginal Australian, University of Sydney

Award Date: 6 Mar 1995

External positions

Visiting Research Fellow, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (New South Wales)

14 Jan 2020Mar 2020

Research area keywords

  • Art History
  • photo history
  • Australian art
  • public art
  • cross-cultural studies
  • cross disciplinary studies
  • art exhibition history
  • art historiography

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or