Marie-Claire Bakker

MPhil. (Oxon) Ethnology & Museum Ethnography

MA Arabic Language & Literature


Marie-Claire is an ethnographer with special interest in the material culture of the Middle East.

She received her Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Ethnology & Museum Ethnography from the University of Oxford. She also has an MA in Arabic Language and Literature from Edinburgh University.  She consults as an area specialist in Material Culture of the region and has also worked in the fields of cross-cultural communication and maternal health counseling. Her academic research interests focus on tracing the dynamics of social change through dress and jewellery of the Arabian Peninsula. Marie-Claire is collaborating with culture sector stakeholders on course development and a pedagogical model in a pilot project aimed at introducing traditional Emirati craft skills as a core element in the art and design curriculum. Developing culturally responsive pedagogical models and decolonizing content and methodologies to increase engagement are at the core of her teaching practice. She is participating in several interdisciplinary research projects collaborating with artists, designers, psychologists and educators in combination with culture sector stakeholders.

Her focus is currently on exploring the potential future of human-centered education, as well as building a strong strategic community outreach network for the college. She held the position of Assistant Dean of Student Affairs in the College from Jan 2019-July 2023 where she was responsible for the Pastoral Care and administration for 600+ students on the Abu Dhabi campus. She has served on multiple university and college level committees and involved in institutional and college strategic planning and reaccreditation.


Abu Dhabi - Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi


+971 2 599 3273

Teaching Areas

Art History; Curatorial Studies; Material Culture; Research Methods

Research and Professional Activities

Oral history and material culture documentation; material culture and design innovation; institutional oral history; comparative ethnography in the Arabian Gulf; engagement and cross-cultural pedagogy in creative sector higher education in the UAE and wider Gulf region; Higher Education administration.

Recent Publications

Bakker, M. & McKeown, K. (2020) “From Cradle to Grave: A Life Story in Jewelry”, In I. Baird & H. Yağcıoğlu (Eds.), All Things Arabia: Arabian Identity and Material Culture, (pp 193-212). Brill

Bakker, M. & Al Hammadi, M.  (2018). Liminality: Narratives of identity on Abu Dhabi's desert Islands. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies Volume 48:13–22

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