Heather Read

Image of Heather Read

Heather Read

Rebanks Postdoctoral Fellow in Canadian Decorative Arts

Area: World Cultures, Canada

Interests: Canadian folk culture, informal expressive culture, oral history and material culture, "making", craft, studio ceramics, intersections of place/land and cultural practices


Heather Read joined the ROM in January 2017 as the Rebanks Postdoctoral Fellow in Canadian Decorative Arts.

Before coming to the ROM, Heather was the Postdoctoral Fellow for the Landscapes of Injustice Project (www.landscapesofinjustice.com), a national SSHRC Partnership Project that explores the forced sale of Japanese Canadian property during the Second World War.  She worked with Dr. Pamela Sugiman in managing the Oral History cluster’s research activities, as well as exploring her own questions relating to material culture and meaning for families affected by these racist government policies.

Heather’s research interests lie in the intersections between material culture, place, and identity. One of her primary methodologies in the study of material culture is oral history: in that capacity, she has worked with ceramic artists, teachers, refugees and immigrants from various countries, urban youth and elderly individuals. Heather became captivated with heritage and culture work during her Folklore master’s degree. Since that time, she has worked and volunteered in culture and heritage across Canada, from Newfoundland and Labrador, to Yukon. Unabashedly passionate about the diversity and beauty of Canada, Heather’s research explores what it means to live and make things throughout this country. Her doctorate is in Adult Education and Community Development; she believes strongly in the powerful learning opportunities that exist in museums and through the study of culture.

At the ROM, she will be working to broaden the known stories about the Canadian Decorative Arts Collection, and explore ways in which Canadian diversity – both geographic and cultural – can be represented and understood through objects.

She has received grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the Canadian Federation for University Women and the Helen Creighton Folklore Society for her work.

Recent Publications

Year Publication
2017 Read, H.. "The Marvellous Glassmaking Life of Elmer John Hookway." Studio Magazine, Fall-Winter
2017 Read, H.. "Canada 150 Blog." Royal Ontario Museum ROM Blogs
2017 Read, H.. "Beauty and Utility: A Brief History of Preserving Jars in Canada." Fusion: A Magazine for Clay and Glass, 41, 2, Fall https://www.clayandglass.on.ca/page-730668
2015 Read, H.. "Making North: Scotland and Canada." Naked Craft: Canada/Scotland Exhibition Catalogue, eds. Sandra Alfoldy, Denis Longchamps, Juliette MacDonald, Emma Quin, Arno Verhoeven, 27-30.
2014 Read, H.. "Crafting Better Futures." Studio Magazine, Fall-Winter 2015, 16-18.
2013 Read, H.. "Strong Roots and Moving Shadows; Exploring the Impacts of Education and Economics in the Origins of Contemporary Ceramics in Newfoundland and Southern New Zealand." Cahiers métiers d'art:Craft Journal, 6, 1 (Hiver/Winter), 36-52.
2013 Read, H.. "Country Cups and City Saucers." Studio Magazine, Fall-Winter , 40-42.
2013 Read, H.. "A Tonne of Clay on Their Backs." Newfoundland Quarterly, 106, 3, 17-23.
2012 Bursey, T, Irvine, S., and Read, H.. "Artscape Youngplace History Wall/Website." Artscape Youngplace Blog Posts