Professor Peter McNeil’s immense contribution to academia has been recognised with his recent appointment as UTS Distinguished Professor. This honour is awarded by UTS to reward sustained academic excellence at the highest level.
McNeil is an international leader in the history and theory of design, art and fashion, and a pioneer in interdisciplinary research. He leads a team of researchers and PhD candidates in the UTS Imagining Fashion Futures: Design and Material Culture Lab.
“Peter is an exceptional example to academics at UTS across engagement, research, teaching and supervision,” said Professor Elizabeth Mossop, Dean of the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building.
“His focus on researchers as individuals with enormous potential to develop themselves, their careers and their fields is particularly notable: Peter sees the role of the supervisor as a life-long engagement founded on mutual respect and exchange,” said Mossop.
“The emphasis on the call was not how much you have done, but what it has meant,” says McNeil.
“Everyone thinks I am a fashion historian but I’m not, I am an interdisciplinary cultural historian very interested in the bits that often get away.”
“I have worked on topics as diverse as art deco in Japan, a history of shoes: from sandals to sneakers, and ‘extreme fashion’ for a major Swiss museum,” he said.
McNeil is currently completing a book for Yale University Press titled ‘Pretty Gentlemen: Macaroni Men and the 18th Century fashion world’.
Last year he collaborated on Reigning Men: the largest exhibit ever assembled on men’s fashion, for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition is currently travelling within the USA and will tour to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney in 2018.
A core responsibility for Distinguished Professors is that they work to enhance the academic profile and reputation of UTS, positively promoting a culture of excellence and collegiality within UTS. The Distinguished Professor scheme at UTS was inaugurated at the end of 2016. McNeil is the first academic from the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building to receive the honour.
In 2015 McNeil was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, one of the highest honours for achievement in the humanities in Australia. He is the incoming section head of The Arts, one of the 11 sections that make up the Academy.