Arvi Wattel

Started at UWA: 2012

Art historian, researcher and teacher

I always aim to translate my research into meaningful teaching and I am surprised to see how time and again my teaching forces me to review my research.Arvi Wattel

Arvi Wattel is an art historian at the UWA School of Design with an unstoppable drive to understand the visual world around him, past and present.

He is interested in questions of local identity in the ‘periphery’ of the court of Ferrara and how Renaissance artists and (patrician) patrons maintained a distinctly local identity in competition with models of cultural authority and vis-à-vis a dominant courtly culture.

He also studies the precious cargo of the Dutch East Indiaman Batavia, which was shipwrecked off the coast of Western Australia in 1629. The ancient cameos and Amsterdam silverware aboard the ship, intended to stop the drain of precious metals to Mughal India, illustrate Dutch misconceptions of the Mughals, their customs and rituals.

Arvi has worked around the world, in the Netherlands, Italy, the US and currently, Australia.

Research Repository




Shared Cultural Heritage Programme, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • ‘Visualising Batavia Silverware: Imaging and Analysing VOC’s Precious Metal Trade Objects for Mughal India’
    Arvi Wattel, Jeremy Green (WA Museum), Corioli Souter (WA Museum), Robert Erdmann (University of Amsterdam), Tamar Davidowitz (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), Lidwien Jansen (The National Archives of the Netherlands, The Hague)


Funding to Develop Grant Application on the History of Emotions, ARC Centre for the History of Emotions

  • ‘Entangled Histories of Emotions in the Mediterranean World'
    Arvi Wattel, Giovanni Tarantino (UWA), Nadia Al-Bagdadi (Central European University), Lisa Beaven (University of Melbourne), Randi Deguilhem (CNRS/MMSH/Aix-Marseille University), Susanne Meurer (UWA)


UWA Alumni Fund Grant

  • ‘Animated Art: Enhanced Learning Through Gamification’
    Arvi Wattel, Rene van Meeuwen, Susanne Meurer

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Visualising Batavia Silverware: Imaging and Analysing VOC’s Precious Metal Trade Objects for Mughal India

Arvi is the Lead Investigator for this project focusing on a unique but relatively unknown collection of seventeenth-century Amsterdam silver objects, currently held at the Western Australian Museum. These objects were recovered from the Dutch East Indiaman Batavia, which was shipwrecked on the Houtman Albrolhos in June 1629. This interdisciplinary project, a close collaboration between UWA, the WA Museum, the University of Amsterdam, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, with cooperation of the National Archives in the Hague, promises to advance the research of historical and technical aspects of the trade silverware carried on board the Batavia and aims to scan, visualise and analyse these silver objects.

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A silver ewer recovered from the Batavia shipwreck 

People in Motion (PIMO): Entangled Histories of Displacement across the Mediterranean

Arvi is an international observer in the PIMO project, which explores common forms of displacement and dispossession across the Mediterranean from the fifteenth century to the present. Charting similarities – and significant differences – in the experience and representation of human movement, this research seeks to understand the emotional drivers and significance of dislocation for individuals and communities during the period between the Spanish expulsion of Jews and the Lausanne treaty.

With a focus on people – and the ideas and objects that accompanied them – PIMO evaluates the ways and degree to which these historical events and experiences continue to shape contemporary representations of migration and displacement in the modern world.


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Research Repository

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