Lucy Partman

Ph.D., 2021


Ph.D., Princeton University, 2021

Lucy Partman is a strategic thinker and thought partner with experience in a range of sectors, including higher education, cultural institutions, and business. For over a decade, she has worked closely with leadership in nonprofit and for-profit organizations to design and implement creative and innovative strategies, initiatives, experiences, and communications. To tackle complex challenges, she draws on the rich tapestry of her experiences. She has trained as a visual artist, curator, and art historian and has operated in environments ranging from artist studios, museums, galleries, and auction houses to classrooms, retail stores, laboratories, and the rainforest.

Partman explores both what art is and what art does. She studies how technologies from visual art and clothing to microscopes and digital platforms impact how humans feel, behave, and think. She sees the arts as practical and potent tools that help us navigate the vast complexity of being human, look at ourselves and the world in new ways, question assumptions, and cultivate new ideas and connections.

The skills of connecting, looking from multiple perspectives, and systems thinking are at the heart of art history, an inherently interdisciplinary discipline. Partman focuses on teaching these critical skills, which are needed to make use of specialized knowledge and tackle complex challenges.

Partman’s courses, such as “The Looking Lab,” bring together individuals, research, and methods from a wide range of domains in highly collaborative, inclusive, and engaging environments to incubate innovative thinking, practices, and tools rooted in a deep understanding of human experiences, values, and systems.

During her graduate studies at Princeton, Partman specialized in American art and visual culture, with a particular focus on the intersections of culture, education, science, and philosophy. Her dissertation centered on nineteenth-century artist, doctor, and educator Dr. William Rimmer and how his art and teaching created experiences for questioning, self-reflection, and active learning.

Prior to Princeton, Partman worked closely with chief curator Norman Kleeblatt at the Jewish Museum in New York. She contributed extensive research to From the Margins: Lee Krasner | Norman Lewis, 1945–1952 (2014) and co-curated the exhibit John Singer Sargent’s Mrs. Carl Meyer and Her Children (2016).

Partman graduated from Yale University in 2014 with honors in the History of Art and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Her thesis focused on the intersection of art and science in Charles Willson Peale’s museum in Independence Hall. While at Yale, she worked in paintings conservation and conducted research at the Yale Center for British Art.


Selected Publications

Author, “Sharing Our Stories” (aka “Why you should share the dissertation-writing process”) in Inside Higher Ed (5 October 2021)  

Author, “Norman Lewis: A Complex Conversation” in Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art (November 2020)

Lead Product Manager, “The Ecology of an Exhibition: Behind the Scenes of Nature’s Nation” web component of Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment (Princeton University Art Museum, October 13, 2018–January 6, 2019)

Co-author with Norman L. Kleeblatt, “The Edge of Abstraction: Norman Lewis and the Joyner/Giuffrida Collection” in Four Generations: The Joyner Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art (New York: Gregory R. Miller & Co., 2016) edited by Courtney J. Martin