• The University of Western Australia (M433), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Emily Eastgate Brink received her PhD from Stanford University and is currently an Associate Professor in the History of Art at UWA.  Prior to joining the School of Design at UWA, Emily worked as a Visiting Fellow with the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan, a Mellon Fellow with the Stanford Humanities Center, and as Georges Lurcy Fellow with the Centre de Recherche sur les Civilisations de l’Asie Orientale in Paris.  In addition to her teaching and research in the History of Art, Emily has worked as an English instructor and potter’s apprentice in rural Japan, an experience that continues to inform her interest in material meaning, community, and craft.

Roles and responsibilities


• Deputy Head of Education, School of Design (2022-2024)

• University of Western Australia Academic Staff Association Committee Member (2020-2023)

• Academic Conduct Advisor, School of Design (2019-2024)

• Academic Board (2019-2020)

• Coordinator, History of Art Honours Program, UWA (2018-2019)

• Co-Founder, Eco-matters Research Group, UWA (2018-



• European and Asian exchange in the Modern Era (specifically France and Japan)

• Material Histories

• Histories of Photography

• Theories of Portraiture

• Visual Taxonomies

• Theories of Monstosity and Visual Aberration

• Visualisation of Science in the Late 19th Century



Broadly conceived, my research addresses systems of knowledge and their visual expression in the nineteenth century.  My work examines how the foreign comes to be known in the modern era, particularly through visual and material exchange. Engaging photography, painting, ceramics, and print, my research explores the European engagement with alterity in the later nineteenth century, with an emphasis on Asian ‘otherness,’ monstrosity, and, more recently, the invisible threat of disease. This work has broad applications to the visual study of science, the history of material economies, and the construction of identity in the modern period.  


Teaching philosophy

In an age of infinite sensory distraction, my units challenge students to stop and take a closer look.  I call this practice of intentional, uninterrupted looking: “the art of sustained attention;” it is a skill that remains crucial to the discipline of art history and a tool that can help students be more thoughtful, critical observers of their own world

In order to help students cultivate this skill, I use a variety of different methods that model and encourage the practice of slow, critical looking within the classroom.  Though I integrate various technologies and web-based platforms to enhance my teaching, I strive to show how a prolonged engagement with a singular object or image can generate a wealth of visual and cultural information.

As an art historian who is deeply invested in the study of materiality, I also emphasize the importance of primary visual material in all my units.  This technique reinforces the notion that paintings, prints, photography, and sculpture exist, not merely as projected images, but also as physical things; through engagement with materiality, students come to understand the importance of an object’s texture, facture, size, or weight. 

My units focus on visual and material studies in the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on identity, politics, and urban experience.  I supervise MA and PhD candidates and Honours students working on issues related to visual expression in nineteenth-century Europe and Asia.


Teaching overview


French: Reading, Writing, Speaking

Japanese: Reading, Speaking

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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