Rachel Winter

Rachel Winter
Graduate Student


Areas of Concentration: Contemporary art from the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey; Museum History, Theory, and Display (US and Global); Global Contemporary art; Cultural Exchange; Biennials; the Art Market; Globalization; World's Fairs & Festivals
Faculty Advisor: Jenni Sorkin
Committee Members: Laurie Monahan, Heather Badamo, Sarah-Neel Smith (Art History, Maryland Institute College of Art)
Dissertation: "A Spectacle of Inclusion: The Rise of Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey in the United States and England, 1970-2020"
M.A. Thesis: "Out of the Periphery: Identity and Protest Art Amidst Alternative Revolutions" (Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Iowa, completed 2017)


Rachel Winter is a Ph.D. candidate, emerging curator, and museum educator. Rachel’s specialization is contemporary artists from Southwest Asia and North Africa, or the Middle East. Her dissertation examines the relatively unknown history of curating and collecting contemporary art from the Arab world, Iran, and Turkey before 9/11 in both the US and the UK, as well as how collecting and curatorial practices were informed by earlier fairs and festivals. She is also the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including the Graduate Student Internship Fellowship, as well as research/travel grants from the History of Art & Architecture department (UCSB), the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (UCSB), the Humanities & Social Sciences Research Grant (UCSB), and the Center for Craft.

An emerging museum professional, Rachel has held positions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the AD&A Museum at UCSB, and the Old Capitol Museum (Iowa City, IA). Her projects include designing educational materials on the Arab Spring, developing digital museum education activities, writing the exhibition catalogue for Marcus Doyle’s recent retrospective, curating Kurt Ullrich’s photography, and contributing to an exhibition on contemporary women artists from the Middle East and beyond.

Rachel received her M.A. from the University of Iowa in Interdisciplinary Studies: Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies under the mentorship of Dr. Ahmed Souaiaia in 2017. During her M.A., Rachel was named Outstanding Graduate Student in Islamic Studies. In 2015, Rachel obtained her B.A. with honors in Art History from the University of Iowa focusing on critical theory and conceptual art under the guidance of Dr. Craig Adcock.

An avid reader and writer, Rachel is a contributing writer and editor at Mainly Museums, and the co-managing editor of react/review: a responsive journal for art & architecture.

Rachel’s recent scholarship is available at https://ucsb.academia.edu/RachelWinterLink opens an external site.