Professor Melissa Miles

Professor Melissa Miles

Professor Melissa Miles

Professor, Art History and Theory Program

Department of Fine Art

Monash University Research Portal

Graduate research supervisor

Melissa Miles is the Academic Director (Research Culture) in the portfolio of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) and a Professor in the Art History and Theory program.

Her research explores the interdisciplinary qualities of photography and its movement across the domains of art, law, politics, and history. A key focus of Melissa’s research is the role of photographs in cross-cultural relations.

This focus formed the foundation for the significant study Melissa completed in partnership with Robin Gerster, which examined photography in the Australia-Japan relationship from the 1890s to the present. Their resulting book, Pacific Exposures: Photography and the Australia-Japan Relationship (ANU Press, 2018), contained remarkable insights about Australia’s relationship with Japan and how Australians see their place in Asia-Pacific.

Melissa’s Future Fellowship project  analysed  the important role of photographs in the public sphere. The book outcome of that project Photography, Truth and Reconciliation, shows how artists and photographers have used their practices to help understand processes of transitional justice. The book was shortlisted for the 2020 Kraszna-Krausz Book Award.

One of her current projects, ‘Envisaging Citizenship’ with Jane Lydon, Amanda Nettelbeck and Fay Anderson, looks at the role of visual culture in creating and questioning the meanings and values of citizenship.

Melissa is also contributing to a significant multi-national partnership project, ‘Past Wrongs, Future Choices’, led by Jordan Stanger-Ross (University of Victoria) and Audrey Kobayash (Queens University). Communities, cultural practitioners and researchers from over 40 organisations in five countries are  questioning how we might foster social and political accountability. The project is also exploring what we owe to one another, especially in times of crisis.

Her research can be found in a wide range of journals, including Journal of Visual Culture, Law Culture and the Humanities, Japanese Studies, and History of Photography. In addition, Melissa  has published five books examining the role of photography in shaping identities and public culture.

For a complete overview of Melissa's publications and contributions, please refer to her research profile:

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Recognising Success: 2022 Dean's Research Awards

Monash Art, Design and Architecture (MADA) researchers work together to undertake vibrant, innovative, creative research that addresses the social, economic and human issues facing Australia and the world.


Pacific Exposures

Australian and Japanese photographic connections since the late nineteenth century.

Future Healthcare

This Monash-led interdisciplinary initiative is at the intersection of university, healthcare, community, government and industry.

Envisaging Citizenship: Australian Histories and Global Connections

Investigating how visual images have defined, contested and advanced ideas of Australian citizenship and rights from European settlement to the present.