The University of Newcastle, Australia

The art of excellence

An art historian with a flair for teaching, Professor Jennifer Milam has a career that spans North America, Europe and Australia. She joined the University of Newcastle in February 2020 in the newly created role of Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Excellence).

Professor Jennifer Milam smiling, wearing black blouse, hair pulled back in front of white wall

Originating from the United States, Professor Milam completed her BA in Art History and Economics at Barnard College, an undergraduate college of Columbia University. With a desire to deepen her understanding the cultural significance of art, she gained her Master of Arts and PhD in Art History from the prestigious Princeton University in New Jersey. During her studies, she worked in curatorial and conservation departments at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The J. Paul Getty Museum in California.

Since arriving in Australia in 1996, Professor Milam has made an outstanding contribution to research and higher education. She has held highly regarded positions at several universities, including Head of School at the University of Melbourne and Pro Dean of Research and Associate Dean of Postgraduate Coursework at the University of Sydney. She has been a member of the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts and Research Evaluation Committee, and brings a keen eye in identifying research excellence and national innovation opportunities to the University.

Professor Milam is also an elected member of Council for the Australian Academy of the Humanities; and part of the Working Group for the think tank - A New Approach, where she is a champion in obtaining effective investment and return in Australian arts and culture. These activities build on her previous international board position with the College Art Association in the United States and her ARC-funded research into arts sponsorship globally.

A committed collaborator

She has been an active contributor to gender equity initiatives in higher education and is recognised for her excellence in teaching and passion for her field. Professor Milam has supervised ten PhD students to completion, and over 35 Honours and Masters students. Her previous students now hold positions in academic and art institutions in Australia, the U.S.A. and the U.K.

With an interest in eighteenth-century art, garden history and Enlightenment thought, Professor Milam maintains strong academic and industry-based networks, with research collaborations involving scholars and stakeholders around the world. She has served as President of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies for over six years.

Professor Milam has published articles in journals such as The Art Bulletin, Art History, Burlington Magazine, Eighteenth-Century Studies and Eighteenth-Century Fiction. She has also published four books which bring together women’s histories, art history, garden history, and eighteenth-century studies to present new theories of vision and reception of the work of art. She has held fellowships and grants from the Huntington Library, the American Council for Learned Studies, the University of Southampton, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Yale Center for British Art, Apple Australia, the Ian Potter Foundation, Columbia University’s Institution at Reid Hall, the École normale supérieur in Paris, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Australian Research Council. Between 2013 and 2017, she was an ARC Future Fellow.

Professor Milam will lead a high-performance team drawn from across the organisation, responsible for driving academic excellence at all levels. Her experience in developing national and international collaborations with partner universities and industry partners will help lead the University toward success.