Dr Amy Clarke | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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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
Dr Amy Clarke

Amy is the History Discipline Leader and Bachelor of Arts Program Coordinator at the University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC). She specialises in heritage (particularly architectural), national and regional identity politics and branding, popular material culture, and the modern/contemporary histories of Scotland, Britain (and the British Empire), and Australia.

Amy has undertaken research and/or consultancy in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Cambodia and Vanuatu in addition to Australia. This has included a prestigious Visiting Fellowship at Duke University in the U.S. (the Hartman Center FOARE Fellowship for Outdoor Advertising Research, 2018-2019), during which time she carried out research on North American ‘Big Things’ and open-air museums. Amy also lead a New Colombo Plan-funded teaching and research trip to Vanuatu in 2019, with USC students undertaking in-country research on Pacific and ni-Vanuatu heritage. Amy has also worked in the heritage policy/governance space, including as a Policy Researcher for the National Trust for Scotland (2008-2010).

Amy’s primary research interests are focused on the promotion of regional and national identity/ies via architecture, themed environments, and cultural heritage. This saw Amy become a leader in the emerging discourse of ‘heritage diplomacy’, and she published a comprehensive review of this concept in The Handbook of Cultural Security (2018). Related research outputs and ongoing investigations range across such topics as: the role of history/heritage in Scottish nationalism; the role of history/heritage in Australian diplomatic relations in South East Asia and the Pacific; and the communication of regional and national identities/brands through themed environments (restaurants, hotels, pubs, etc.) and roadside attractions. Amy is also interested in the notion of ‘authenticity’ in heritage and related spaces (theme parks, shopping malls, open-air museums, etc.).

Amy presently serves on the Board for Sunshine Coast Open House, the region’s largest public architecture and design festival. She was Deputy Editor for Australia ICOMOS’s journal Historic Environment (2019-2022), and an Editorial Board Member for the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) between 2015-2021. She is regularly featured on Australian radio and television as an expert commentator on history and heritage.

Professional Memberships 

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


  • 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

  • Heritage diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, and soft power – histories and contemporary applications
  • British (and/or Scottish, Welsh, Irish, English) nationalism – histories and contemporary manifestations, particularly via architecture, heritage, and popular historical narratives
  • Australian national and/or regional identities – histories and contemporary manifestations, particularly via popular culture, heritage, and popular historical narratives
  • Historical accuracy and/or ‘authenticity’ in architectural heritage, themed spaces/environments, and contemporary tourism

Research areas

  • Nationalism, regionalism, nation branding and place making (historical and contemporary patterns, particularly those demonstrated through historical narratives, heritage conservation and/or cultural diplomacy)
  • Applied heritage policy and theory (particularly in Australia, Britain, and the Pacific)
  • Popular material culture (particularly that regarded as ‘kitsch’ or ‘low-brow’); its conservation, and its contribution to understandings of local, regional and/or national identity/ies
  • Architectural history (particularly 19th century British/British colonial, as well as the intersection between discourses on architectural and urban histories with heritage theory and practice)

Current Honours and Higher Degree by Research Supervision

Amy is currently supervising USC research candidates across the following themes:

  • Comparative study of Australian and Pacific heritage policy/management
  • Early ‘contact’ histories of South East Queensland between European colonisers and First Nations peoples
  • The connections between family history research/understandings of personal histories and enhanced senses of wellbeing
  • The ‘Lost Cause’ Movement in American history and its connections to contemporary debates over monuments/statues
  • Journalistic bias and censorship in Australian reporting of World War I
  • Prosopography as a contemporary historical method
  • Sports history and sporting culture in Queensland
  • Theme park history and conservation

Teaching areas

  • HIS200 Heritage: Australian and Global Contexts
  • HIS201 The Uses and Abuses of History
  • HIS240 Nationalism and Identity in the 20th Century
  • HIS320 Research Project in History

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

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