Dr Amy Clarke - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

Dr Amy Clarke

Dr Amy Clarke

PhD Qld., MSc(Res) Edin., GCertTertT Curtin, BA(Hons 1) Qld., FSA (Scot), M.ICOMOS

  • Senior Lecturer in History
  • School of Law and Society
+61 7 5456 5269
Office location
Moreton Bay
Amy Clarke

Amy is the History Discipline Leader at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). She specialises in built heritage (architecture), popular culture, and identity politics. Her geographical and chronological focuses range from 19th century Scotland and the British Empire, to colonial and contemporary Australia, to colonial and post-colonial notions of cultural identity and heritage throughout South East Asia and the Pacific.

Amy is particularly interested in exploring these histories through heritage practice and theory, and her recent research has explored heritage policy, cultural diplomacy, identity politics and nationalism. Her PhD, entitled ‘Built heritage and National Identity: Constructing and Promoting Scottishness in the Twenty-First Century,’ was conferred in 2015 (University of Queensland), and investigated several contemporary issues in heritage politics and governance using Scottish (and Scottish diaspora) case studies.

Since 2015, Amy has been researching the broad theme of cultural/heritage diplomacy through specific programs and initiatives of the Australian Government. She has become a leader in the emerging field of ‘heritage diplomacy’ discourse, and published a comprehensive review of this concept in The Handbook of Cultural Security (2018). Amy is the Lead Investigator for the USC research project ‘Beyond Borders: Australian Heritage Diplomacy in South-East Asia and Pacific, 1992-present’, with colleagues Professor Patrick Nunn and Dr Harriot Beazley.

Amy is currently conducting research on a separate project relating to ‘Big Things’: super-sized kitsch or ‘low art’ structures typically built along roadsides in Australia and North America across the 20th century. This research has received international coverage through print, television and radio, and Amy is a regular invited public speaker on the topic. In 2018 she was awarded the prestigious Duke University (U.S.) Hartman Center FOARE Fellowship for Outdoor Advertising Research, to conduct further investigations of this subject in North America.

Amy has had work published in journals such as: Archaeologies, FabricationsFuture Anterior and Historic Environment. Her work has also appeared in proceedings by the Society for Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand, the digital cultural heritage: FUTURE VISIONS initiative, Transatlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage program, and the EUNAMUS project. She has also contributed to mainstream outlets such as The Conversation and Border Crossings magazine, and is a regular contributor on history, culture and heritage matters for ABC Radio Australia and Channel 7 News Queensland.

Amy is an elected Editorial Board Member of the Society of Architectural Historians of Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ), a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and a Full International Member of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

Prior to her PhD (University of Queensland), Amy completed a MSc at the Edinburgh College of Art (University of Edinburgh) in 19th Century Scottish Tudor Revival architecture. Amy has also completed a Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching (Curtin University), and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours 1) in History at the University of Queensland, for which she wrote her dissertation on Victorian-era perceptions of the Tudors in art, architecture and education.

In 2016 she was awarded an Advancing Quality Teaching award for excellence in teaching at the USC. She was awarded the International Council for Canadian Studies 2012 Graduate Student Grant for her work in eastern Canada, and the 2012 Guilford Bell Scholarship for her research on Culloden and Bannockburn Visitor Centres and the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

Professional Memberships 

  • Member, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
  • Member, Australian Historical Association (AHA)
  • Elected Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
  • Editorial Board Member, Society of Architectural Historians of Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ)


  • Duke University (U.S.) Hartman Center FOARE Fellowship for Outdoor Advertising Research, 2018
  • USC SoSS ECR Collaborative Research Grant, 2017
  • USC Advance Awards, 2016: AQT award for Advancing Quality Teaching. Awarded for teaching staff and teaching teams who engage students in a quality learning experience by applying rich and engaging teaching approaches that substantially improve students' learning experiences
  • Guilford Bell Scholarship, 2012, The University of Queensland
  • Graduate School International Travel Award, 2012, The University of Queensland
  • International Council of Canadian Studies Travel Grant, 2012, International Council of Canadian Studies
  • Australian Postgraduate Award (APA), 2011–2014, The University of Queensland

Professional Social Media

Research Grants

Grant/Project name  Investigators  Funding body  Year 


Big Things in North America: Kitsch, Commercial, Communal?

Dr Amy Clarke

Duke University (U.S.) Hartman Center FOARE Fellowship for Outdoor Advertising Research


This research contributes to a broader project charting the phenomenological history of Big Things in Australia and North America, to be published in a single-author academic monograph 2019-2020. This research will closely examine the emergence of Big Things and related kitsch outdoor phenomena in North America from the late 19th century through to present day.

Beyond Borders: Australia's Heritage Diplomacy in the Asia–Pacific, 1992–Present

Dr Amy Clarke, Dr Harriot Beazley, Professor Patrick Nunn USC SoSS ECR Collaborative Research Fund (A$10,000)


Since the 1990s the Australian Government has increased its socio-cultural engagements in the Asia Pacific region as part of its broader diplomatic strategy. This is a ‘soft power’ approach (using the powers of attraction rather than force) that is utilised by many nations. This research will investigate Australian heritage initiatives in the wider region in order to (among other things) chart this history and locate this approach within discourses on heritage, international development and politics.

Considering Future Heritage as a Dimension of Social Sustainability

Professor Andrew Leach, Amy Clarke, Dr Stuart King and Dr Wouter van Acker CRN Collaboration Publication Program (A$5,000)


Considers the terms by which two local government authorities address the identification, documentation and (in some cases) preservation of buildings, sites and precincts not yet listed by local government or statutory heritage authorities as heritage, but which have nonetheless been identified through internal review processes as potential future listings

Potential Research Projects for HDR & Honours Students

  • Cultural and 'soft power' diplomacy: History and contemporary practice
  • Local, Queensland and Australian heritage policies, practices and debates
  • Australian national identity in the 21st century
  • What does 'authenticity' mean in architectural heritage and history? Copies, fakes, replicas and reconstructions

Research areas

  • nationalism and identity politics (historical and contemporary patterns)
  • heritage policy and theory (particularly in Australia,, South East Asia, and Pacific settings)
  • heritage diplomacy, cultural diplomacy and nation branding
  • ‘Big Things’ – kitsch supersized structures (history and management)
  • architectural history (particularly; investigating notions of authenticity via copies, reconstructions, digitisation)
  • Queensland and Sunshine Coast heritage - past, present and future

Teaching areas

  • Cultural Heritage
  • Nationalism and Political History
  • Australian History (18th-21st Centuries)

Program coordinator

  • Clarke, A., et. al. ‘Forum: Reflecting on the Politics of Patrimony.’ Fabrications 28 (2): 256-271.
  • Clarke, A. 2018. ‘Heritage Diplomacy.’ In Y. Watanabe (ed.) Handbook of Cultural Security (Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar): 417-436.
  • Clarke, A. & Paine, A. 2018. ‘The Rhetoric of Reproduction: Built Heritage in a Digital Age.’ In K. Greenop & C. Landorf (eds.) Proceedings of digital cultural heritage: FUTURE VISIONS (Brisbane: ATCH): 112-130.
  • Clarke, A. 2017. ‘Australia’s Big Dilemma: Regional/National Identities, Heritage Listing and Big Things.’ In J. Ting & G. Hartoonan (eds.) Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 34, Quotation (Canberra: SAHANZ): 46-56.
  • Clarke, A. 2017. ‘Heritage Beyond Borders: Australian Approaches to Extra-National Built Heritage.” Archaeologies 13 (1): 153-174.
  • Clarke, A. 2016. 'Heritage Diplomacy and the Scottish Ten Initiative.' Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Preservation, History, Theory & Criticism 13 (1): 51–64.

Dr Amy Clarke’s specialist areas of knowledge include Australian heritage policy and theory, Australian and British architectural history, and Australian nationalism and identity studies

More USC experts...