Professor Joanne Tompkins has been appointed Executive Director for Humanities and Creative Arts at the ARC
15 March 2017

A senior University of Queensland academic has been appointed Executive Director for Humanities and Creative Arts at the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Professor Joanne Tompkins will play an important role in providing strategic policy and operational advice, liaising with the higher education and research sector, and offering funding scheme and discipline expertise.

Professor Tompkins, who will leave her position as Associate Dean (Research) in the UQ Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences to take up the three-year role in April, said she was looking forward to the challenge.

“I hope to improve the visibility of humanities research which is vital to sustaining strong social communities and I am looking forward to interacting with colleagues in the humanities and creative arts across the country,” Professor Tompkins said.

Australian Research Council acting Chief Executive Officer Leanne Harvey said Professor Tompkins would join a team of executive directors who provided expert advice and guidance across the ARC’s core functions and discipline areas.

“Professor Tompkins is a distinguished researcher and university leader who will bring a wealth of experience to the ARC,” Ms Harvey said.

“Her research has assisted the development of cultural spaces for theatres, galleries and museums through 3D visualisation and modelling of theatre spaces.”

UQ Executive Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences Professor Tim Dunne congratulated Professor Tompkins on her appointment.

“It says everything about Joanne's qualities as a research leader that she has been elevated to this national role,” he said.

“In the three years that Joanne has been Associate Dean (Research), she has provided outstanding leadership across the faculty and helped to consolidate our excellent reputation for research quality and impact.

“As the humanities face new challenges in relation to funding, engagement and impact, Joanne has developed innovative policies and initiatives to align UQ with the changing external environment.

“Joanne has always led from the front as a researcher herself. We wish her every success in her new role.”

Professor Tompkins has developed an international reputation for her research spanning spatial theories and virtual reality; post-colonial, cross-cultural, intercultural and multicultural drama, literature, and theory; performance theories; and feminist performance.

Her research led to the development of Ortelia, a digital solutions company which provides interactive, educational, and innovative 3D services for galleries, museums and theatres.

Professor Tompkins was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Queen Mary University of London in 2015, when her research was described as ‘game changing for the discipline’.

The ARC advises the Government on research matters and administers the National Competitive Grants Program, a significant component of Australia's investment in research and development.

Through Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), the ARC is tasked with identifying excellence in research by comparing Australia's university research effort against international benchmarks, creating incentives to improve the quality of research and identifying emerging research areas and opportunities for further development.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj was the ARC’s Chief Executive Officer from 2004 to 2007, and UQ Provost Professor Aidan Byrne was CEO from 2012 to 2016.

Media: Professor Joanne Tompkins,, 0421 359 940