Professor Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll PhD, MA, BA (hons)

Photograph of Professor Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll

Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Professorial Fellow
Chair of Global Art History

Contact details

Barber Institute of Fine Arts
University of Birmingham
B15 2TS

Professor Carroll specializes in global histories and contemporary art. Problems of restitution, indigenous heritage, and colonial museums from the sixteenth century to the present are her focus. Her research explores processes for decolonising institutional practice and Western notions of commemoration. Professor Carroll’s work has resulted in a number of research-led projects in collaboration with external partners that have drawn public attention to ongoing colonial legacies, whilst facilitating the repatriation of non-Western materials from the UK and Europe. Her recent project, Cooks New Clothes, involved an extensive programme of work and interventions within the National Maritime Museum Greenwich. This gave rise to changes in the display and narration of exhibitions, allowing the perception of non-western art in the Museum to shift from one of ‘distant,’ ‘native’ and ‘primitive,’ to one that is more critically engaged with British culture and its attendant colonial histories.


  • PhD Harvard University
  • MA Harvard University
  • BA (Hons) La Trobe University


Khadija has been Professor of Global Art History at the University of Birmingham since 2016. Prior to this she held a British Academy Newton International Fellowship at Cambridge University, based within the History of Science and Philosophy department and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. During this time she curated The Lost World (Part 2) by artist Julie Gough and undertook a number of artistic interventions in the Museum, such as Partial Proclamations (the Museum's permanent Tasmania display). Since 2015, she has also contributed to the ERC-funded project, ‘Subjectivity, Identity and Penal Power’, based within the Law Faculty at Oxford University. This project developed an Immigration Detention Archive, and subsequently led to a related solo exhibition of Khadija’s work at Stryx Gallery, Birmingham, in 2018. Khadija is also currently working on a forthcoming book with Sternberg Press that documents her work on the Immigration Detention Archive.

Khadija has curated several other international exhibitions including Botanical DriftKranich Museum, and The Vienna Zocolo, whilst her installations and texts have been exhibited in venues such as the Venice Biennale; Institute of Contemporary Art London; and Marrakech Biennale. Her first book, Art in the Time of Colony, inspired related exhibitions including: Ore Black Ore in the Allegory of the Cave Painting at Extracity Kunsthal Antwerp; Investigated & Dissident Domesticity at Savvy Contemporary Gallery Berlin; Artists in Residence at the Pitt Rivers Museum Oxfordand Embassy Embassy at Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin.

Khadija grew up between Austria and Australia and studied Fine Art at the Akademie der Bildenden Kuenste in Vienna and Liberal Arts at La Trobe, following which she wrote her MA and PhD in the department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard. Following the completion of her PhD, Khadija undertook two post-doctoral positions in Berlin (DAAD and AvH).


Khadija is convening a new BA third year module, ‘Contemporary Global Art,’ and the BA second year module ‘Political Art.’ She has also recently designed an upcoming ‘Art and Law’ module, and lectures on a number of the department’s core undergraduate modules and as part of the History of Art Masters programme.

Postgraduate supervision

Khadija welcomes enquiries from prospective postgraduate students wishing to research any subject that overlaps with her interests.

If you are a prospective student, a work sample and interview precedes the application. As Khadija is on research leave the head of PG studies should also be included in any preliminary enquiries about studying in the department.

Current PhD students include:
Azadeh Sarjooghian; ‘Identity and Gender Stereotypes: The Representation of Muslim Men’s and Women’s Bodies in Contemporary Middle Eastern Art’
This research attempts to further the analytical research on Middle Eastern art and gender by considering the impact of globalisation on local gender relations, and by taking masculinities into account so as to assess the interactions between the stereotypical representation of Muslim men’s and women’s gender practices. The project engages with various fields including Middle Eastern art criticism, the social aspects of contemporary curatorial practices, Muslim feminist theory, critical studies of men and masculinity, and postcolonial theory

Stacey Kennedy; ‘Women's agency in the African Contemporary Art World; exploring Afropolitan art networks’
This research addresses women’s agency in the African contemporary art world, through an exploration in real-time of the spaces in which the art world is made - for example art fairs, galleries, auction houses, exhibitions, museums. An investigation into the concept of ‘Afropolitanism’- cosmopolitanism with a connection to Africa- is crucial to this work, as I investigate how women negotiate and connect global art spaces. The project is interdisciplinary and uses Anthropology and Art History methodologies and research practices to contribute to the study of African Art History and debates around gender and feminism within Africa and its diasporas in the contemporary moment.

Stephanie Misa; 'Of Bastard Tongues and Ghosts in the Archive' (University of the Arts Helsinki).

Find out more - our PhD History of Art  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Khadija is a leading international expert on contemporary and colonial art history. Recent research has focused on two main strands, firstly that of confinement, imprisonment, detention and surveillance, and the other focus is that of indigenous heritage, decolonization and repatriation.

Khadija’s research is embedded within a critically engaged art practice, with outputs spanning a range of formats, such as texts, exhibitions, videos, performances and lectures. Her research and practice grapple with a set of concerns regarding power and representation, and how these manifest themselves within artistic conventions and cultural institutions. Khadija’s work therefore not only seeks to rethink art history canons and the discourses surrounding these, but also attempts to develop routes and strategies for facilitating change at institutional level.

Other activities

  • leading the discovery of Tahitian navigator Tupaia's history received international media attention on outlets such as the BBC Saturday morning show, Frieze, ABC Radio, Art Monthly.
  • election as editor of Third Text journal that has allowed me to foster, shape and publish new scholarship, most recently in British Academy Writing Workshops in Hyderabad India.
  • publication of an acclaimed monograph that has led to related projects with reviews in the New York Times and exhibitions at the Venice Biennale and other prestigious locations with large audiences.
  • international reputation for innovative and transnational ideas for cultural heritage for which I have been invited onto institutional boards and given the exciting task of advising on and selecting works.
  • translation of my writing into other languages including German, French, Czech and Arabic, and invitations to read at The Hay, Marrakech, and other writer's festivals.
  • establishing the online Third Text Forum has enabled me to promote new and experimental forms of scholarly co-publishing and artistic collaboration with a growing international network.
  • award of several prestigious, international grants (Humboldt Foundation, Sackler-Caird, etc.) which have enabled large scale, international and collaborative research that has led to further outcomes such as the Smithsonian Channel and BBC documentary Marianne North: Victorian Plant Hunter (Blink Films 2017).
  • creation of a major partnership with the British Museum that will publish the proceedings of two important co-created conferences in 2018: Exhibiting Empire, following the Tate's Artist and Empire exhibition in a Third Text Forum; Royal Anthropological Institute's annual conference panel on Representing 'Modern' Global, Local and Imperial Histories in Object Centred Museums.
  • curated large exhibitions in prominent international galleries and museums.
  • produced a series over ten years of projects in which architectural heritage plays the central part, (i.e. Socialist Afterlives and the Global East) resulted in the heritage listing of the Australian embassy architecture in Pankow Berlin. The related exhibitions Embassy Embassy were covered in wide ranging daily and specialist news: Der Tagesspiegel, Berliner Morgenpost, t e x t u r magazine.
  • made my own films and exhibitions commissioned with generous support by leading arts organizations, thereby finding a way to merge research and artistic theories and practises. 

These have been accompanied by other indicators of my specialist expertise, such as my appointment to project advisory boards (UK, Singapore, Austria, Germany, USA, Australia), and as external doctoral examiner (UK, Finland, Norway, Germany, Australia). I have also contributed invited chapters to standard handbooks (most recently the Oxford Companion), specialized dictionaries, biographies and catalogues.

See my website for news:

Exhibitions and screenings

  • Deframed, Institute of Contemporary Art London (2019)
  • Reflecting Relational Traces, Sharjah Biennale  (2019)
  • Palace of Ritual, Venice Biennale (2019)
  • Contingent Agencies, Research Pavillion, Venice (2019)
  • Cook's New Clothes, Brunei Gallery, SOAS London (2019)
  • Cook's New Clothes, University of Oslo (2019)
  • Immigrate into your Shadows, The House theatre, Plymouth (2018)
  • Kunst Macht Frei, Bonavero Oxford (2018)
  • New Work, Styrx Gallery Birmingham (2018)
  • Men in Waiting, Nottingham Contemporary (2018)
  • Art and Migration, Darwin Cambridge (2018)
  • The Gift, Fault Line, Australian Embassy Berlin (2018)
  • Silver Sehnsucht, Frieze (2017)
  • The Restitution of Complexity, Austrian Cultural Forum London (2017)
  • Art in the Time of Colony Hay Festival (2017)
  • Snail Eating Theatre, International Film and Video Art Festival Casablanca (2017)
  • Shadows Talk, Konzerthaus Theatre, Bern (2017)
  • Limbah Berbunyi, Contemporary Art Jogjakarta (2017)
  • Botanical Drift, Vegetal Mediations, Translocal Budapest (2017)
  • Imigrazie, Pesta Boneka Festival, Jogjakarta, Indonesia (2017)
  • Screening at LUX London, and Calvert22 Gallery London (2017)
  • Casablanca International Film and Video Festival, Morocco (2017)
  • Snail Eating Theatre and Dissident Domesticity SPACE Gallery, London (2015)
  • A Breathcrystal, Project Space Dublin & Irish Film Institute (2015)
  • Prison House, UrbanLab, London (2014)
  • Botanical Drift, Kew Gardens, London, co-curated with Petra Lange-Berndt (2014)
  • Ethnographic Conceptualism and the City, University College London (2014)
  • Allegory of Cave Painting, Extracity Kunsthal, Antwerpen (2014)
  • Wilkommen, Bitte Gehen Sie Weiter, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2014)
  • Investigated, Savvy Contemporary, Berlin, together with Jesse Shipley  (2014)
  • Skins Cloak, National Museum of Australia, Canberra (2013)
  • That Breathed, Chisenhale Gallery, London (2013)
  • The Lost World (Part 2), Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Cambridge & Contemporary Art Tasmania, Hobart. Curated solo exhibition of Julie Gough. (2013)
  • Partial Proclamations, permanent display, MAA Cambridge. (2012)
  • 40,000 Years of Modern Art, Institute of Contemporary Art London, On Language series. (2012)
  • The Rise and fall, performance installation, Marrakech Biennale, Morocco. (2012)
  • Vienna Zocalo, International Biennale Xalapa Mexico, Gallery Carlos Fuentes. (2011)
  • Kranich Museum, permanent exhibition, Hessenburg Germany, co-curated with Alex Schweder (2011)
  • Homebase V Berlin, cultural program, co-curated with Anat Litwin (2011)
  • The Architect and The Urn, Greg Lundgren, Seattle, together with Alex Schweder (2011)
  • Graffiti Monument, Venice Biennale, Memosphere, Rumanian Pavilion (2007)
  • Europe Lost and Found, Plausible Artworlds, Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art (2007)
  • Track Changes, Lost Highway Exhibition, Skuc Gallery Ljubljana (2007)
  • PARK[ing] day, Los Angeles, with Adobe Architects (2007)
  • Constructing Nature: Swiss Landscape Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design (2007)
  • Zones of Contact, Biennale of Sydney (Curatorial assistant to the public program)(2006)
  • 6: six artists from the MIT visual arts program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Centre for Advanced Visual Studies and Space Other Gallery Boston. (2006)
  • DADA, with Diller Scofidio Architects, Museum of Modern Art NYC. (2006)
  • PROJECT ZAGREB: Transition as Condition>Strategy>Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Design and Zagreb City Museum. (2005)
  • The Sign Painters, Platform Gallery, Melbourne; Gallerie Blumberg, Vienna; Gallery Espace, New Delhi. (2003)
  • Free Radicals, Melbourne Underground Film Festival, also curator of: “Low-fi Video, International Selection, Belgrade 1999-2002”, Loop. (2003)
  • Insert New Image Here, Soho in Otterkring Festival, Vienna. 2002)

Media appearances

  • Marianne North: Victorian Plant Hunter, Smithsonian Channel and BBC, Blink Films.

International conferences convened

  • "Art History in Settler States: Cultural Studies of the Colonies", Barber Institute, University of Birmingham. (2017)
  • The Clark Art Institute, Massachusetts, colloquium co-convenor, “Challenging Art History in Settler Colonial Societies”. (2016)
  • Oxford University, Ruskin School of Art, “Border Control: The carceral aesthetics of artists in immigration detention”, May 23. (2016)
  • University College London, conference co-convenor, “Economic Botany: Walking Kew Gardens”. (2014)
  • Cambridge University, conference co-convenor, “Beyond the White Cube”. (2013)

Selection of international invited talks

  • University of Oslo, Global Traces: art-ethnography-heritage conference keynote. (2019)
  • The Darwin College Lecture, Cambridge, "Art and Migration", major public keynote. (2018)
  • The British Museum, Exhibiting Empire, "We have never been pre-Empire, keynote. (2018)
  • University of Birmingham, Art on Move conference keynote. (2018)
  • LASALLE Singapore, seminar paper and workshop on art-research (2018)
  • University of Cologne. Keynote Lecture at Making and Breaking Chains of Value conference. (2017)
  • The Royal Society, London, "The Sartorial Science of Sir Joseph Banks", conference paper. (2017)
  • Institute of Historical Research, Kings College London, "After Empire", paper. (2017)
  • University of the Arts Helsinki, "contingent agencies", conference keynote. (2017)
  • Central European University, "Vegetal Mediations: Plant Agency in Contemporary Art and Environmental Humanities". conference paper. (2017)
  • European Congress on World and Global History, invited keynote. (2017)
  • IFA Gallerie Berlin, "Traces, Legacies, and Futures: (De)colonial Temporalities", invited lecture. (2017)
  • Kings College London, Menzies Center, "Global Art History" Bernard Smith book launch. invited lecture. (2017)
  • LaSalle and National Museum of Singapore, artist talk and Third Text Forum host. (2017)
  • Hay Festival, invited reading, book launch and discussion (2017)
  • State Theatre of Switzerland, Bern, invited talk after premier of play 'Shadows Talk' (2017)
  • Senate House London, History Seminar Series, invited lecture. (2017)
  • Williams College, Massachusetts, “Indigeneity, Racialization, Nationalism, Historiographies and Settler Subjectivities”, with Damian Skinner, Anne Whitelaw, Kristina Huneault, Lize van Robbroeck, Bill Anthes, Clark Colloquium “Challenging Art History in Settler Colonial Societies” papers. (2016)
  • University of Queensland, Daphne Mayo named lecture. (2016)
  • Institute of Contemporary Art Brisbane, invited talk and screening. (2016)
  • University of Queensland Museum, invited lecture. (2016)
  • Gallery Kalahan, Indonesia, invited lecture. (2016)
  • Goldsmiths, Anthropology Research Seminar, “Repatriation and Disalienation: Art-research on the return of cultural property” invited lecture. (2016)
  • Central St Martins and LUX London, “Immigration Detention and Other Fictions of Security”, invited lecture. (2016)
  • UCL and Calvert22 Gallery, London, “Appropriating Universal Centrality: Containing the World in Berlin’s new Humboldt Forum” with Jonas Tinius, conference paper. (2016)
  • Monash University, Melbourne, “Impacts of Border Control”, Leverhulme Network Conference paper. (2016)
  • Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Visual Arts lecture series (2016)
  • Holocaust and Genocide Centre Johannesburg, South Africa. (2016)
  • Bonn University, Germany, “What is Nazi Loot to Postcolonial Repatriation Claims?” Table talk at “Whose Heritage?” conference (2016)
  • University College London, “Passionate Politics”, workshop contribution. (2015)
  • Australian Institute of Art History, “Restoration: The scientific and the affective dimensions of repatriation”, invited lecture. (2015)
  • University of Sydney, “Art in the Time of Colony”, Power Institute for Art & Visual Culture, guest lecture and book launch. (2015)
  • British Museum, “Who Owns Culture?”, Podium discussion as part of This Way Up Festival. (2015)
  • Australian National University, “The Importance of Being Anachronistic”, Museums and Heritage lecture series (2015)
  • Queen Mary University, Centre for Studies of Home, Senate House London, “Dissident domesticity: an ethnographic conceptualist approach to house arrest”, lecture series. (2015)
  • Cambridge University, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, “The Politics of Framing and Staging”, conference keynote. (2014)
  • Manchester University, “Cloakroom: Textiles as a postcolonial strategy in contemporary art” Whitworth Art Gallery “Tuesday Talks” Artists’ lecture series. (2014)
  • Weltmuseum, Vienna, “Wo liegt die Zukunft für Ethnographische Museen?” Podium discussion (2014)
  • University of Toronto, “Colony and the Curatorial”, Launch of Art in the Time of Colony, by Wanda Nanibush and Charles Stankievich (2014)
  • Concordia University Montreal, “Settler Colonial Art History”, panel discussion (2014)
  • Haverford College, USA, “(Ir)reverence”, conference presentation (2014)
  • Kings College London, “Art in the Time of Colony”, book launch with Richard Drayton (2014)
  • Potsdam University, Berlin, Postcolonial Justice, “Other Hostages: Postcolonial justice and the politics of repatriation”, Conference paper and publication (2014)
  • Savvy Contemporary Berlin, Giving Contours to Shadows, “Fleshing the Archive: Performance/Orality/Embodiment of History”, Conference paper. (2014)
  • Royal Academy of Art and Sketch London, “Exhibition Histories”, Guest Lecture. (2013)
  • PAN - Perspektiven auf Natur, Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung, “Perspektiven auf Natur in Wilhelm von Blandowskis Australien in 142 photographischen Abbildungen von 1862”, Conference Paper. (2013)
  • 1001 Leichhardts, International Conference, Potsdam University, “Re-enacting Leichhardt”, paper and performance. (2013)
  • The Institute of Historical Research, Senate House London, “Anachronism: Classification and Display in Nineteenth Century Colonial Collecting and Contemporary Museum Practice”, Invited lecture in the seminar series at the University of London on Collection and Display. (2013)
  • Australian National University and National Museum, Selling Yarns: Weaving the Nations Story, “The Making of Skins Cloak”, with Vicki Couzens and Lee Darroch, Conference Paper. (2013)
  • Marrakech Biennale Literature Festival, Morocco, Can We Ever Be Modern?, Paper and Panel discussion chaired by Pankaj Mishra (2012)
  • Cambridge University, Witnessing War, “If you fight the dragon long, the dragon you become: Comments on Monuments in the Balkan”, Conference Paper and film screening. (2012)
  • Henry Moore Foundation, Launch of Sculpture in the Museum book and reading. (2012)
  • British Museum London, John Sloane Project, invited speaker. (2012)
  • Monash University, Italy, “Indigenous Networks and ‘Transnational’ Cultures”, Conference paper. (2012)
  • Deutsches Museum Munich, Anthropocene Project, “From Research to Exhibition Making”, Lecture. (2012)
  • Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities Cambridge, Charting Vanishing Voices: A Collaborative Workshop to Map Endangered Oral Cultures, “No-No and Permissions to Map”, Conference Paper. (2012)
  • Corpus Cristi College Cambridge, Poets Meeting, “Selection of recent poems”, reading and screening. (2012)
  • The History and Philosophy of Science Department, University of Cambridge, “Colonial Classification”, Senior Seminar paper. (2012)
  • The Courtauld Institute of Art, “Living Monuments”, guest lecture. (2012)
  • World Textile Association Biennale Conference, Xalapa Mexico, “The Vienna Zocalo”, Conference paper. (2011)
  • Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra, “Visual and Verbal Taxonomy”, Seminar and Workshop. (2011)
  • Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, “Who is Performing Art? Performing Viewers 1960-2010”, This Sentence is Already Being Performed, Symposium. (2010)
  • Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Monica Bonvicini master class lecture series, “Meta-artists‘ Talk”. (2010)
  • Berlin Biennale, Watchtower Schlesischer Busch, Panel: "Phantasmagorias of History", moderated by Svetlana Boym, Harvard University. (2010)
  • The Glassell School of Art, Houston, Guest Lecture: "Colonial Conceptualists: How Museums shift from Objects to Projects through Global Contemporary Arts". (2009)
  • Marfa Book Co. & The Chinati Foundation, Texas, Poetry Reading: "The Museum in a Book". (2009)
  • American University, Katzen Center for the Arts, Washington DC, Lecture Series: "Along with the Whale: Histories of Art Trade from Australia to the US". (2009)
  • University of East Anglia, UK, Sainsbury Research Center for World Art, Guest Lecture: “Under-drawing: A History of Drawing across Cultures”. (2008)
  • Kluge-Ruhe Museum Aboriginal Art Collection, University of Virginia, Guest Lecture: “A History of Telling in Silhouette: Race, Euphemism and Empire”. (2008)
  • University of California Los Angeles, Department of Art History, Guest Lecture: “Internationalism & Exhibiting”. (2007)
  • Harvard University, Conference: “Conflicts and Entanglements,” Lecture: “Space to Wonder at Incommensurable Curiosities: The Colonial Phenomenology of Recombinant Hybridity”. (2007)
  • Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs, Conference: “Europe Lost and Found,” Lecture: “The Lost Highway from Greece to Sarajevo via Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro”. (2006)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Conference: “Archives and the Lost Highway Expedition,” Lecture: “Artists as Criminals against Essentialism: mapping ‘Nationhood’ in the Western Balkan”. (2006)
  • Otago University, New Zealand, Conference “On Space”, Lecture: “Language and Imaginary Space in the Performance of Ekphrasis”. (2005)



Recent publications


Carroll, K 2017, Botanical Drift: Protagonists of the invasive herbarium. Sternberg Press, Berlin.

Carroll, K 2016, The Importance of Being Anachronistic: Contemporary Aboriginal Art and Museum Reparations.

Carroll, K 2014, Art in the time of colony. Empires and the Making of the Modern World, 1650-2000, Routledge, Farnham. <>


Carroll, K 2019, 'Museopiracy: redressing the commemoration of the Endeavour’s voyage to the Pacific in processions for Tupaia', Third Text, vol. 33, no. 4-5, pp. 541-558.

Carroll, K 2018, 'NonWest by North: Marianne North and William Colenso’s responses to plantlife and the classification of economic botany ', Third Text, vol. 32, no. 2-3, pp. 290-310.

Carroll, K, Murawski, M & shipley, J 2017, 'The Art of Dissident Domesticity: Julian Assange, King Prempeh, and Ethnographic Conceptualism in the Prison House ', Social Text, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 113-152.

Carroll, K 2017, 'The Senses, Presences, and Beliefs in Indigenous Art History: Towards a Recognition of Non-Western Historiography and Methodology', Kunstlicht, pp. 73-79.


Carroll, K 2020, Cross-redressing the Political in Oceanian Textile Cultures: Collectivity, syncretism and globalization. in Oxford Companion to Textile Arts.

Carroll, K 2016, Sartre's Boomerang: The Archive as Choreographed Readymade. in The Importance of Being Anachronistic: Contemporary Aboriginal Art and Museum Reparations.

View all publications in research portal


Repatriation of cultural heritage, decolonizing commemoration, colonial history, gender and religious representation in art, detention and surveillance in art, the ethics of diversity and representation in institutions and exhibitions.