Photo of Gretchen Stolte

Gretchen Stolte

Dr, Berndt Foundation Research Fellow

  • The University of Western Australia (M257), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated using citation counts from Scopus for publications in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository
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Personal profile


Dr Stolte is a Nimi’ipuu (Nez Perce) American Indian and has degrees in art history and anthropology focusing on the material culture of First Nations peoples both in North America and Australia. Dr Stolte’s research areas focuses on the relationship between images and identity among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in urban and regional centres around Cairns, Queensland. The results of her research have led her to publish an ethnographic art history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in Queensland and is now available through Bloomsbury Academic Press as a monograph.

Dr Stolte is intrigued by the material culture traditions often overlooked by galleries and museums. She combines ethnographic and art historical methodologies in order to draw out new understandings of artworks and artefacts and the artists and craftspeople who make them. Dr Stolte co-curated Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists, a major exhibition on bark paintings from Arnhem Land at the National Museum of Australia. Aside from experience in curating, Old Masters gave Dr Stolte experience on researching cultural collection databases and how they can help facilitate richer ethnographic understandings between Indigenous communities and museums and galleries holding their material culture.

Most recently, Dr. Stolte was the sole curator at the University of Queensland’s Anthropology Museum exhibition Queensland Aboriginal Creations: Agency and Legacy. Agency and Legacy explores the often overlooked art traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artisans in Queensland and the governmental policies that shaped their production and marketing. The exhibition combined in-depth archival research with carefully selected objects from the Queensland Museum and private collections.

Dr Stolte has taught and supervised in both museum studies and Indigenous studies. She has taught material culture courses at the University of Canberra in their Cultural Heritage and Preservation department and has supervised honours students within that department. She has also taught Indigenous Studies at the University of Canberra and is well-published on the cultural copyright of First Nation material culture.

Dr Stolte is currently the Berndt Foundation Research Fellow at the Berndt Museum and the Anthropology and Sociology Department at the University of Western Australia. Through this project, she hopes to further explore the undervalued, the kitsch and the innovative in material culture studies.


Education/Academic qualification

Anthropology, Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University

1 Feb 200913 Dec 2013

Award Date: 13 Dec 2013

Anthropology, Masters of Anthropology, coursework, Australian National University

1 Feb 200813 Dec 2008

Award Date: 13 Dec 2008

Art History, Bachelor of Arts, with honours, University of Oregon

1 Sep 200217 Jun 2006

Award Date: 17 Jun 2006

Industry keywords

  • Creative Arts

Research expertise keywords

  • Material Culture
  • Anthropology
  • museums and heritage studies
  • beadwork
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research


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