Professor Claire Smith is a faculty member of the Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. She has been awarded research fellowships from the Australian Research Council and the Fulbright Commission, the latter hosted by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum for Natural History and American University, Washington, D.C. Dr Smith has held visiting teaching or research appointments at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and at Columbia University, New York.
Dr. Smith's main field of research is Indigenous archaeology. While she has conducted fieldwork with Indigenous groups in Asia and North America, her primary research interest lies with the archaeology of art and of modern material practices, explored through fieldwork with Aboriginal people from the Barunga region of the Northern Territory, Australia. She conducts research into the reshaping and relocation of Indigenous knowledge, explored in collaboration with Ngadjuri people from South Australia.
Dr Smith has broad international experience. She has been a visiting scholar at several institutions in the US and in South Africa, and has given lectures in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, England, France, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, South Africa, the USA and Wales.
As the twice-elected President of the World Archaeological Congress (2003–2008 and 2008–2014), Dr Smith has been in a position to develop a close understanding of the strengths and limitations of archaeological theory and practice in different parts of the world. She found that cutting-edge archaeological theory is being progressed by Spanish and Portuguese-speaking scholars in South America; that world-leading conservation techniques are developed in Japan and Italy; and that Russian and Arabic scholars have deep knowledge of their own cultural heritage, but their work is rarely published in English. This understanding became Dr Smith’s inspiration for an encyclopedia that is truly global in content.