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Dr. Heather Diack

Associate Professor

Heather Diack is an art historian, curator, and critic who works at the intersection of the history of photography, modern and contemporary art, visual culture, curatorial studies, and critical theory. Within these fields, Diack specializes in the history and theory of conceptual art, global contemporary art practices, and social conflict with an emphasis on art from the late 1960s to the present. She is the author of Documents of Doubt: The Photographic Conditions of Conceptual Art  (external link) (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) which was awarded an inaugural Photography Network Book Prize (2021) and a Wyeth Foundation for American art /College Art Association publication grant (2018). This book grapples with the relationships between art, the politics of protest, and mass media photography in the United States during the late 1960s.

Diack is also co-author of Global Photography: A Critical History (external link)  (London: Routledge, 2020), a book decentering dominant narratives of the history of photography in order to consider international contemporary photographic practices in relation to their historical pasts and to bring out important and often overlooked interconnections and convergences across time periods and geographic specificities.

Before joining TMU, Diack was Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Miami, FL (2012-2023). She holds a PhD and an MA from the University of Toronto, a BA from McGill University, and was a Helena Rubenstein Critical Studies Fellow in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. Previously the Terra Foundation for American Art Visiting Professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität in Berlin, Diack’s research has been recognized by many prestigious fellowships including the inaugural Nadir Mohamed Research Fellowship at the Image Centre, TMU, a post-doctoral fellowship in Contemporary Art at the University of British Columbia, an Ansel Adams Research Fellowship at the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, visiting research fellowships at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal and Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK, and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, SSHRC, and the DAAD/ Goethe Institute.

Diack’s writing has appeared in journals such as The History of Photography, Visual StudiesphotographiesPublic, and RACAR, as well as ArtforumThe Miami Rail, and The San Francisco Chronicle. Her publications include studies of civil rights photography, acts of feminist resistance in photography, war photography and activist art, the role of images in relation to the climate crisis, the radicality of humour and performance, the shifting status of documentary practices, and the politics of mobility. Her current book project, Imagined Meetings of the Horizon: Migratory Passages in Contemporary Art, interrogates the role of art and visual representation in relation to the humanitarian crisis of forced migration during the past two decades.