Head of Humanities Humanities
Professor John Carty is the Head of Humanities at the South Australian Museum, and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Adelaide. He is also a Board Member on the Australian National Commission for UNESCO.
He has worked extensively with Aboriginal artists and custodians throughout Australia on books, exhibitions and community development programs. His core research has involved working with Aboriginal artists to bridge the divide between anthropology and art history. In recent years, John’s work – through research with the British Museum – has grown to focus on the cultural and cross-cultural history encompassed in objects in museum collections.
John’s pursuits through the South Australian Museum explore new methodologies and models for bringing Aboriginal voices and values further into mainstream narratives of Australian history, Australian art history, and contemporary Australian culture.
Current research projects
Aboriginal Art History: new approaches to Western Desert Art (2016 -2022)
This ARC-funded project seeks to fill a major gap in Australian scholarship and art history by working in collaboration with Aboriginal artists to document their understandings of recent developments in Aboriginal art.
Past research projects
Engaging objects: Indigenous communities, museum collections and the representation of Indigenous histories (2011-2015)
Patrick Tjungurrayi: Beyond Borders, 2014-2015
Desert Lake. Art, Science and Stories from Paruku, 2011-2013
New art from the Ngaanyatjarra lands, 2009-2012
- BA (Hons), University of Melbourne (2001)
- PhD Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra (2012)
Current teaching responsibilities
Lecturer, Aboriginal Art History, University of Adelaide
Museums; Aboriginal art; Australian history; Aboriginal art history; community engagement.
- Sculthorpe, G., Carty, J., Morphy, H., Nugent, M., Coates, I., Bolton, L., Jones, J. (2015) Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation. The British Museum Press, London.
- Carty J. (2015) Patrick Tjungurrayi: Beyond Borders. University of Western Australia Publishing, Perth.
- Carty, J., Mahood, K. Martin, M. Morton, S. (2013) [eds] Desert Lake: Art, Science and Stories from Paruku. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.
- Carty J. and Acker T. (2012) Ngaanyatjarra: Art of the Lands. University of Western Australian Press, Perth.
- Carty, J. and La Fontaine, M. [eds] (2011). Ngurra Kuju Walyja: the Canning Stock Route Project. Palgrave Macmillan, Melbourne 2011.
- Carty J. and La Fontaine, M. [eds] (2010) Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route. National Museum of Australia Press, Canberra.
- Carty, J. (2010) Pretty One: the art of Billy Atkins. Martumili Artists, Newman.
Papers and other publications
- Carty, J. (2016) Carlene West and the end of exploring, in Henry Skerritt (ed) Marking the Infinite: contemporary women artists from Aboriginal Australia, 2016.
- Carty, J. (2016) Roy Underwood: Performance Artist, Raft Art Space, 2016
- Carty, J. (2015) Yiwarra Kuju: Turning space into place at the National Museum of Australia, in Laurent Jérôme (ed.) Anthropologie et Sociétés (special edition): Vues de l’Autre, images de Soi en muséographie : Matérialiser l’immatériel dans les musées, 38-3, 2014.
- Carty, J. (2015) Portraits of Water: the art of Boxer Milner, in No Boundaries: Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Abstraction from the Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno.
- Carty, J. & Taylor, N. (2014) You Don’t go out in Country by Yourself: collaborative Creativity in Martu Art, in Martu Art from the Far Western Desert, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
- Carty, J. (2013) The Limits of Criticism, Artlink, Vol 33, #2, 2013.
- Carty, J. (2013) The Shape of the Lake, in Carty et al (eds), 2013, Desert Lake. Art, Science and Stories from Paruku, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne: pp 202-213
- Carty, J. and Mahood, K. (2013) A Lake in Time: histories of Paruku, in Carty et al (eds), Desert Lake. Art, Science and Stories from Paruku, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne pp: 56-67
- Carty, J. (2012) Purnu, Tjanpi, Canvas: Art history in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, in Art Monthly, #256 Summer 2012/13, pp 64-68.
- Carty, J. (2012) Rethinking Western Desert Abstraction, in 'Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art at the Hood Museum of Art', University Press of New England, Hanover and London.
- Carty, J. (2012) Seeing the desert for the trees: the gift of Spinifex Art, in Spinifex: People of the Sun and Shadow, John Curtin Gallery, Perth.
- Carty, J. (2012) Purnu, Tjanpi, Canvas: a Ngaanyatjarra Art History, in Ngaanyatjarra: Art of the Lands, University of Western Australia Press, Perth.
- Carty, J. and French, A. (2011) Art in Central Australia: Refigured ground, in The Cambridge Companion to Australian Art, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.
- Carty, J. (2011) West Side Story: Aboriginal art history in the Canning Stock Route Country, in Ngurra Kuju Walyja: the Canning Stock Route Project, Palgrave Macmillan, Melbourne.
- Carty J. (2010) Drawing a line in the sand: The Canning Stock Route and contemporary art, in Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route, National Museum of Australia Press, Canberra.
- Carty, J. (2010) Living Deadly: haunted surfaces in contemporary art, in Art Monthly, #235 November 2010, pp 9-11.
- Carty, J. and Musharbash, Y. (eds). (2008). You’ve got to be Joking: Anthropological perspectives on humour and laughter. Anthropological Forum Special Issue, Volume 18, issue 3, University of Western Australia Press, Perth.
- Carty, J. and Musharbash, Y. (2008). You’ve got to be Joking: Asserting the analytical value of laughter and humour in contemporary anthropology. In Anthropological Forum Special Issue, Volume 18, issue 3, University of Western Australia Press, Perth.