13 January 2012

Curious new paintings at Pitt Rivers

Following the success of her previous exhibition on the Museum's Lower Gallery in early 2011, American artist Sue Johnson returns to the Pitt Rivers to show fifteen new works in The Curious Nature of Objects: Sue Johnson’s Paper Museum. The exhibition will open on Tuesday 24 January and will run until 10 June 2012 in the Museum’s Long Gallery.

‘Just occasionally, an artist comes to work with the collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum with such a sympathetic but different take that it changes everyone’s way of seeing. Such an artist is Sue Johnson.’ Jeremy Coote, Curator and Joint Head of Collections.

Johnson’s striking paintings have been inspired by images of familiar types of ethnographic and archaeological objects in the illustrated catalogue of General Pitt-Rivers’s ‘second’ collection. Working in gouache, watercolour, and pencil on paper, and drawing on her extensive knowledge of natural history illustration, museums, and archives, Johnson redisplays and reorders familiar objects in new contexts and new juxtapositions.

This illustrated catalogue has been one of the major focuses of ‘Rethinking Pitt-Rivers: Analysing the Activities of a Nineteenth-Century Collector’ (2009–2012), a three-year research project, of which Johnson is an honorary research associate, based at the Museum and funded by a grant from The Leverhulme Trust. More information about the project can be found at: http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/rpr/

A catalogue (£5.00) and postcards to accompany the exhibition will be available from the Museum shop and quality reproductions of a selection of the paintings can be ordered from www.prmprints.com

Reanimating Cultural Heritage in Sierra Leone exhibition, UCL

The exhibition is split across two sites at University College London. There is a video installation in the North Lodge (at the main entrance to UCL on Gower Street), whilst the main displays are set up in the North Cloisters in the Wilkins Building. The North Cloisters display provides a rare opportunity to see some iconic Sierra Leonean objects from the collections of the British Museum and Sierra Leone National Museum.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. The North Cloisters are open 7 days a week (9am-8pm), the North Lodge is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. The exhibition is open until 17 February.

An associated special event, 'Culture and Development in Sierra Leone' will be taking place on 2 February (5.30-8.00pm) in the Old Refectory, Wilkins Building, UCL. This will be the official launch of the www.sierraleoneheritage.org digital heritage resource. Speakers include:

H.E. Eddie Turay, Sierra Leone High Commissioner, UK
Foday Jalloh, Director of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Government of Sierra Leone
Ruth B. Phillips, Carleton University
Bill Hart, University of Ulster
Paul Basu, UCL

For more information see:

James Green Scholarship, Sussex

The James Henry Green PhD scholarship is available to
students wishing to pursue doctoral research within the Department of Art
History at the University of Sussex. The three-year scholarship covers
University tuition fees* and an annual book award of £1000.

Deadline 27 April 2012

The scholarship is offered by the James Henry Green Charitable Trust through the James Green Centre for World Art at Royal Pavilion & Museums (RP&M), Brighton & Hove. The purpose of the award is to build and share knowledge about RP&M’s rich holdings of material and visual culture from Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Americas. For this reason the main requirement of the award is that the proposed doctoral research project considers some aspect of the World Art collection. Other requirements include a yearly report and, at some point during the scholarship, a public outcome for staff and visitors to Brighton Museum & Art Gallery (for example a talk, display or web article about the research project). The scholarship-holder is also expected to make a presentation on the subject of their doctoral research to the Trustees of the James Henry Green Charitable Trust at one of their annual general meetings during their tenure of the scholarship.

The World Art collection

The World Art collection is a Designated** collection of over 12,000 objects and images from Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Americas. The collection encompasses objects in a wide range of media and represents many different geographies and time periods; from Peruvian archaeological textiles to late 20th-century barbers’ signboards from Kenya. Many items in the collection were sold or donated by people associated with Britain’s former colonies and so these areas are particularly well represented. West Africa and South and South East Asia, for example, are areas of strength but the collection also includes important and rare material from southern Africa, China, North America and the Pacific.

Possible approaches

While research proposals which take a traditional object-based approach to the collection will be welcomed, work which situates the material in wider contexts is also encouraged. This might include researchwhich addresses:
  • the complex networks of dealers, salerooms and collectors, which, particularly in the late 19th century, enabledmuseums such as that at Brighton to accumulate collections of ‘non-western’ material
  • changing modes for the display and interpretation of ‘non-western’ material culture
  • the role of particular individuals in forming collections and displays
  • the role of historic collections in the context of contemporary cultural politics
  • how collections material functioned in its ‘original’ context(s), for example items made for courtly or religious use
  • issues of post-colonialism
  • issues around gender or class and collecting

Further information

The Keeper and Curator of World Art are happy to facilitate access to collections and collections information for those individuals looking to develop a research proposal. Selection of the scholarship-holder will be made by the Department of Art History at the University of Sussex so enquiries regarding application should be made there.

Helen Mears, Keeper of World Art

t: 01273 292863

History of Art University of Sussex contact

Fiona Allan, Research and Enterprise Coordinator
t: 01273 876612

Dr Geoff Quilley, Senior Lecturer in Art History

t: 01273 876627

* International students are welcome to apply for the
scholarship but we regret that we can only pay the equivalent of ‘home’ student
tuition fees.
** The Designation scheme was launched in 1997 by
Resource (then Museum, Libraries & Archives Council, now Arts Council
England) to identify and celebrate the pre-eminent collections of national and
international importance held in England's non-national museums.

Information about applying for the scholarship can be downloaded from here:

2 January 2012

Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman - A personal response

By Rhys Lewis, 
Undergraduate student in Visual Culture, University of Brighton

I felt great anticipation and excitement on my journey from Brighton to London to visit The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman. The concept of an artist such as Grayson Perry, renowned for his unmistakably flamboyant costumes and his often personal and humorous approach to the arts, working in collaboration with the British Museum, an institution renowned for its seriousness and commitment to its collection, conjures expectations of many tensions; tensions between museum policies and artistic freedom, cultural sensitivity and artistic appropriation, the opposing roles of artist and curator, not to mention the tensions between the historic artefacts from the museum’s stores, and the new artworks created by Perry, famed for commenting on contemporary social life and issues. 

In retrospect, just as the artist had intended, the journey to the exhibition really did feel like some sort of modern-day surreal pilgrimage, travelling to and through London to Bloomsbury, entering the famous British Museum with its impressive Greco-roman facade, through the great court and up the curving stairway to the temporary exhibition space, each section of the journey, seemingly more intense than the last, strengthening the anticipation as I travelled.

With anticipation comes expectation, but contrary to my expectations, the first thing I noticed when I entered the gallery was how traditional and “museum-like” the exhibition was; the objects were all placed in illuminated glass cases with individually allocated information panels, and large text panels on the wall for each section. The layout of the gallery dictated a definite route; through the exhibition and into the gift shop, with the gradually darkening colours on the gallery walls implying the idea of the journey or pilgrimage to the exhibition coming to an end. I suppose because Perry is considered such a ‘contemporary’ artist, and is known for working with such personal and socially relevant issues, such as his piece Dolls of Dungeness (2001) that directly responded to the events of 9/11, I expected a more interactive, innovative and free flowing exhibition technique.
Perry did explain his reasons for the exhibition layout in a lecture he gave at the British Museum called 'Grayson Perry: In His Own Words' - he said “I wanted the proper museum look, not the contemporary art look- it makes things look more meaningful.” I suppose what Perry is referring to here, is that by displaying objects in a traditionally “museum-like” way, they inherently assume a status of cultural importance or worth. I’m not sure which display technique makes things look more “meaningful”, but I am sure that his choice of exhibition layout made the visitors act in very particular ways. On all four occasions that I have visited the exhibition since its opening, people walked in a serious manner, with serious looks on their faces, speaking very quietly and trying hard not to break the accepted social code for gallery viewing. To me this seemed a strange way to act in an exhibition which is in many places very funny, very personal and tries hard to evoke real responses from its viewers.
Having spent the last year studying museums and representation as part of a visual culture degree at Brighton University, I entered the gallery with an arsenal of weaponry ready to denigrate and critique the exhibition, more than half expecting to find some blunders of culturally insensitive display or representation. To me, the idea of a western artist appropriating ethnographic and cultural artefacts, evokes the negative criticisms and reviews that similar attempts have attracted in the past, such as Primitivism in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern held at the MOMA in 1984, where ‘primitive’ works were displayed alongside modern artworks, in order to show how non-European cultures had been a source of inspiration for modern western artists. But I knew this exhibition would be different to those past attempts in many ways. More than a re-presentation of ethnographic and cultural artefacts alongside Perry’s own works, this exhibition is an artwork in its own right, as Perry states in the exhibition catalogue “I am an artist, and this is principally an art exhibition.” This is also emphasised on the first text panel of the exhibition which reads “do not look too hard for meaning here... I am not a historian, I am an artist. That is all you need to know.” To me, these statements expose a key issue surrounding the exhibition and its execution: does artistic licence justify an artist like Grayson Perry coming into the British Museum, selecting items from a vast range of world cultures, many of which are highly sensitive and significant cultural and religious objects, and using them towards his own ends? It is a very ambitious objective considering the highly critical world of ethnographic museology, and surely with the appropriate consideration and respect for the objects’ original contexts, such an undertaking could produce some very interesting outcomes and juxtapositions. 

A good example of such a juxtaposition was a collection of medieval English pilgrim badges, and a collection of contemporary pin badges that are displayed in the ‘souvenirs of pilgrimage’ section of the exhibition. Describing the medieval badges, Perry writes “As well as conventional religious subjects, badges depicted satirical proverbs, erotic jokes and fantastic hybrid creatures. I enjoy badges for they bring home to us that for many, a pilgrimage was a holiday and involved a lot of fun as well as religious devotion” I felt that being able to see both collections simultaneously, allowed me to see the similarities between contemporary culture, and one that existed over six hundred years ago. I could see that, just as we do today, medieval cultures travelled far and wide to see a specific person or object, and wanted something not only to remind themselves of their experience, but as proof to others that they have completed such a venture. Moreover, they could be quite creative and humorous in how they decided to commemorate their pilgrimages; a far cry from the image of the serious medieval pilgrim that I presumed beforehand. 

An example of Grayson’s own work that I especially enjoyed was Hold Your Beliefs Lightly (2011), which is the artists own version of a West African Asafo flag. Traditionally used to distinguish between, but also insult rival military companies of the Gold Coast, Perry’s own version depicts his childhood teddy bear Alan Measles as a sort of saintly entity, embracing members of all religions into his arms, bearing the logo ‘hold your beliefs lightly’. The piece offers a facetious twist on the tradition of Asafo flags, by taking something usually associated with military segregation, and using it for the promotion of peace. However, there are a couple of items on display at the exhibition that I found quite problematic. 

One such example was the display of a Boli power figure from the Bamana community in Mali, included in the ‘Magick’ section of the exhibition. Boli are sacred figures created by members of men’s power associations amongst the Bamana of West Africa. Boli often represent bovine figures, and are believed to embody the spiritual powers of society. Made using organic matter, the construction and possession of the Boli ensures that the power association can maintain social control within their community.  Perry writes about the object; “As soon as I saw this object I knew I must include it in this show. For me it possesses a raw potency that seems to hark back to the very beginnings of art. It also seems quite modern in its pared down form. It seems to vibrate with a disturbing magical force put there by the people who made it. A modern artist can also be a bit of a witch doctor, having the ability to transform ordinary materials into something significant...” There is no doubt that this object is spiritually significant and may seem ‘mystical’ to many, but I think the way in which Perry has described the object using words such as ‘raw potency’, ‘disturbing magical force’ and ‘witch doctor’, and giving very little (if any) contextual information, further exoticizes and mystifies the object, continuing a legacy of misrepresentation and misunderstanding of non-western objects in western museums. Of course, Perry’s own artistic objectives are at play here, and I don’t expect a full object biography or elaborate essay explaining the complete context of the object concerned, but considering the role of the British Museum as a provider of knowledge to the public, and also the fact this is could be the first and only time that some of these objects are displayed in the museum, I would have welcomed brief, general description of the object’s uses and context. 

Elsewhere, an earring still attached to part of a human ear attracted my attention. The display of human remains in museums has always been a contentious subject, and this example is no exception. The earring is pinned up in a glass cabinet alongside other objects including a coffin containing the artist’s ponytail. The ear and earring are displayed just as any other object would be, with a basic information panel saying ‘Ear and Earring, origin and date unknown, gold and human remains, 4x8cm, British Museum.’ Inevitably, Perry can only work with the information provided by the museum, and having made his intentions as an artist evident from the outset, I would not expect him to take on the role of a researcher or historian. But no obvious distinction is made between this and the other objects in order to imply the potential sensitivity surrounding it, and no attempt has been made to draw attention to the fact that this is a part of a human being, that has potentially undergone great misfortune to lose both ear and earring.

Although I have found issue here with two items from the museum stores that are on display at the exhibition, I believe there is one particular piece of Grayson’s own work that is to be highly commended. Head of a Fallen Giant is a bronze sculpture of a human skull, measuring 40x50x35 cm, made by Perry in 2008. The grey-green colour of the sculpture gives an antique look, while the many imprints of objects such as tourist magnets, coins, seals and flags into the skull give it an almost futuristic or cyborg-like look, collectively creating a conflict between historic and contemporary aesthetic styles. The object is aesthetically interesting, but strikes me as especially important because of the issues surrounding colonialism and empire that the piece addresses. Amongst many other things imprinted into the skull one can see a crucifix, royal and imperial seals, stamps, pound symbols, the royal flag of England, the Union Jack, profiles of Elizabeth I, tourist art and magnets depicting things such as the Palace of Westminster, Tower Bridge and a London bus, most of which refer specifically to British culture and symbols of Britain as a colonial empire. Piercing the top of the skull are various types of screws and nails, on the ends of which are imprinted more signs and symbols. Alongside the sculpture Perry writes “there has been much debate about what exactly is Englishness. We struggle to define it. I wanted to make something that looked like an ethnographic artefact that was about England. At once mystical and banal, this is the skull of a decaying maritime superpower. Like a World War Two mine washed up on the beach encrusted with the boiled down essence of empire in the form of tourist tat.” By combining the symbols of empire with a skull, it is as if the artist is making a statement about the death or end of the British Empire as well as all the negative connotations that empire implies. To me, the “Giant” in the work’s title refers directly to the British Empire, and perhaps Perry is condemning here the skewed power relations that allowed culturally significant objects to be collected and brought to Britain during colonial times. In an exhibition that far transcends many of these items’ original contexts, this piece serves as an important reminder of the obscure and unjust circumstances under which many of the items in the British Museum were acquired. 

Although I found problems with issues such as the gallery layout, some object descriptions and the display of human remains, I highly commend this exhibition and believe that it is a very successful and creative enterprise. To create and curate such an ambitious exhibition is no easy feat, and takes great courage and determination. Through displaying items from the museum’s stores alongside his own works, Perry demands that we view these items with a new perspective. To me, this made the museum’s objects seem more significant, me to see affinities between my own culture as presented by Perry’s works, and the various other cultures displayed at the exhibition. Of course, I am not implying that these objects need a western curator in order to produce significance, nor am I suggesting that the significance derived from these objects whilst displayed in this exhibition is of greater importance than that of their original contexts. However, as a western viewer in the centre of London, looking at objects from cultures that are relatively unfamiliar to me, this exhibition was extremely successful in breaking down the social barriers between a western society, and those cultures whose objects are on display. I won’t deny that this approach to exhibiting ethnographic material can cause problems when it comes to obtaining accurate contextual information concerning the objects on display, indeed the idea of a single western man having the power and control over displaying such material is an inherently Eurocentric one, with all manner of negative connotations. But I believe it crucial that museums and artists develop new ways of presenting ethnographic material that is appealing to a modern day society, and I would recommend this exhibition to anyone that is seeking a collaboration that takes a brave step forward into a new age of ethnographic museum practice.

Grayson Perry's 'The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman' is on display at the British Museum until 19 February 2012

The new Egyptian gallery at the Ashmolean Museum - A personal view

By Alice Stevenson,
Pitt Rivers Museum
The Ashmolean’s new gallery of Dynastic Egypt and Nubia with the Shrine and the Ram of Taharqa © Richard Bryant / arcaid.co.uk

In 1894 the British Museum somewhat disdainfully declined W.M.F. Petrie’s offer of some early Egyptian statues that he had found while conducting excavations at Coptos in Egypt. It was the Ashmolean who accepted them. Amongst their number were two life-sized figures of the ithyphallic fertility god Min and it is these unique, monumental effigies that, over a century later, assertively welcome visitors to the newly refurbished Egypt and Sudan galleries at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. They represent the earliest substantial pieces of monumental art to have survived from the prehistoric Nile Valley and they form just one of several distinctive pieces on show.

This latest £5 million renovation of the Ashmolean’s, world-class, 40,000 strong, Egyptian and Nubian (Sudanese) collection opened at the end of November. Redeveloping such a resource is no mean feat given the competing agendas and expectations of a university museum.  The needs of primary and higher education, the academic community, tourists and a multi-faceted public all had to be given consideration. Impressively, the result is a well-balanced and striking range of displays, an accomplishment that is all the more remarkable given that these were constructed in less than a year.

The narrative thread – which weaves along a roughly circular route through six galleries and encompassing some 2,000 objects – is a chronological one. Each of these six rooms is characterized by a broad theme that provides the space within which the strengths of the Ashmolean’s collections are articulated: Egypt at its Origins; Dynastic Egypt and Nubia;  Life After Death in Ancient Egypt; the Amarna Revolution; Egypt in the Age of Empires; and Egypt Meets Greece and Rome.

Walking clockwise, the first exhibits, which include the Coptos colossi, are set within the Neo-Classical Ruskin Gallery. Assembled here is the richest collection of Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egyptian objects outside of Egypt. Many of these 5000-year old objects are on view for the first time, including the recently conserved and fragile Hierakonpolis ivories. These small figurines are beautifully lit in a top-of the range case to ensure their preservation. Throughout this gallery, and the others, the associated captions are concise and informative, including reference to up-to-date research.

The trail leads on through to the Dynastic Egypt and Nubia gallery, the centre-piece of which is the stone shrine of King Taharqa, once part of a temple at Kawa  (Sudan) around 680 BC. Today it houses a statue of Taharqa himself, one of several objects lent to the Ashmolean to complement the new exhibits. There are also interactive elements within this gallery, and these are just enough to engage visitors without trivializing or jarring with the wider exhibition experience. For example, a case of bronze statuettes is situated in the shadows so that, using buttons, visitors can illuminate different objects in order make the connection between the god represented and the Egyptian sites with which they are associated. 

Coffin lid of Djeddjehutyiuefankh
Painted wood, from Deir el-Bahri, Western Thebes, 25th Dynasty, 770-712 BC. AN1895.153/5/6 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Most popular with visitors will undoubtedly be the gallery themed around ‘Life After Death’. One of the most novel, yet culturally appropriate features, is the invitation to visitors to recite the ancient Egyptian offering formula on behalf of one of the mummies, once a singer in the cult of Amun. The stelae, which were once spread floor to ceiling in the old galleries forming a bewildering mosaic of images, are now neatly arranged on the wall and it is much easier to make the linkages between text and object. The rationalisation of objects in this way provides for a much more engaging experience. The displays are also far more vibrant, especially in the Amarna gallery. In this room the objects have been presented to convey a sense of the colourful world of ancient Egypt, often lost in shadowy displays that attempt to invoke an unnecessary aura of mystery. As visitors move to the final gallery, where Egypt meets Greece and Rome, they come face-to-face with newly restored mummy portraits. The most startling piece is a very different sort of portraiture. It consists of the mummy of a small child set beside an installation by contemporary artist Angelica Palmer. On 111 sheets of glass she has captured the ghostly, three-dimensional image of the infant’s mummified corpse as revealed through recent cat-scans of the body.

As visitors leave the this area they once again pass the entrance to the ‘Egypt at its Origins’ section. It is an effective juxtaposition, reinforcing the sense that this was dynamic society, one which witnessed a continuous transformation over three millennia. This is a refreshing departure from some other recently arranged displays, in which Egypt is presented as a monolithic entity devoid of temporal depth.

Yet there is something still absent from the ‘crossing cultures, crossing times’ strategy which has informed the development of these galleries: it does not cut across our own time or culture in any effective way, and modern-day Egypt and Sudan is largely missing. As the oldest museum in Britain, the Ashmolean has not only acquired  superb collections, but it has also inherited a rich history of collecting practices and biographical intrigue. Entangled with these objects are centuries’ worth of alternative conceptualizations of Egypt and its place within Western imagination – not least of which is the Coptos colossi. There are a few glimpses of such narratives within the text panels, principally of the Egyptologists associated with Oxford, such as Petrie’s innovative development of seriation and F.L. Griffith’s legacy to the University of Oxford. These are uncomplicated, traditional accounts that present knowledge construction as progressive and ultimately colonial. Yet a university museum is one which should be able to frame challenges to conventional understandings of the past and to the politics of the past in the present.

Nevertheless, overall this redisplay is a great accomplishment, both for the architect Rick Mather, who has created an elegant space, and for the Assistant Keeper of Egypt and Sudan, Liam McNamara, who has spearheaded a refreshing and dynamic series of encounters with the ancient Egyptian and Nubian world. 

Ames Prize Winner: Blackfoot Shirts Project

The Council for Museum Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association has jointly awarded the 2011 Michael M. Ames Prize for Innovative Museum Anthropology to Dr. Laura Peers (Curator of the Americas, Pitt Rivers Museum and Reader in Material Anthropology, University of Oxford), Dr. Alison K. Brown (Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen), and Ms. Heather Richardson (Head of Conservation, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford), for their collaborative ‘Blackfoot Shirts Project’ which brings together historic collections in the United Kingdom with Blackfoot people in Canada and the United States.

Building on relationships developed first by Brown during her doctoral research in the late 1990s and then during a photographic history project with the Kainai First Nation, Peers, Brown and Richardson developed a project to lend five historic hairlock shirts, from the Pitt Rivers Museum collection, to the Glenbow Museum in Calgary and the Galt Museum and Archives in Lethbridge, Alberta, both of which are located in traditional Blackfoot territory.

The five shirts are nearly 200 years old. They were collected in 1841 by Sir George Simpson, the governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and given to his secretary, Edward Hopkins. They have been in the Pitt Rivers Museum since 1893 but prior to the project only a handful of Blackfoot people had seen them. As most surviving Blackfoot clothing from this period is now in museums in Europe, Blackfoot people are keen to access these materials so they can learn about the skills and techniques used by their ancestors.

The shirts are made from elk and deer hide and are adorned with porcupine quill embroidery, hide fringe, and strands of horse and human hair. The quillwork designs are related to sacred stories of the Blackfoot people and one shirt has also been painted with the war deeds of its owner.

Museum Training Fellowships: University of East Anglia

The School of World Art Studies and Museology at UEA is pleased to announce 4 Museum Training Fellowships, for study on our MA Museum Studies degree from September 2012. The fellowships cover fees (at the home student rate) and a bursary.

The closing date for applications is 1 March 2012.

Interviews for the Fellowships will be held in the last week of March. Fellows become members of a department in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA), where they contribute to the team’s day-to-day work. One Fellowship is available in each of the following areas, assigned as part of the interview and selection process:

•            Curatorial

•            Collections Management

•            Education

•            Marketing/Public Services

The School of World Art Studies and Museology runs one of the longest-established programmes in Museum Studies in the UK – and the only one based inside an art gallery, the Norman Foster-designed Sainsbury Centre, which is home to a modernist collection of ethnographic, ancient, and 20th century European art. The School and University are consistently ranked in the top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction, and in the latest RAE, the School was rated first for internationally-recognised work, and joint third overall. A maximum limit of 10 students per year means that the MA in Museum Studies is student-centred and offers intensive preparation for a career in the museum profession or for a higher research degree in museum studies.

This MA combines the cutting-edge research and curatorial experience of academic staff in the School with the professional resources and experience of the SCVA. It also draws on museum resources in London and in the region, notably the Norfolk Museums Service, and incorporates a number of museum visits and expert speakers.

Visit our website for further details on funding, at http://www.uea.ac.uk/art/postgraduatescholarships/fundingtaught

Follow the ‘Courses’ link for information about the MA degree and for online application materials. Please indicate on your application form that you wish to be considered for a Museum Training Fellowship; all UK, EU, and international students are eligible for this award. Contact the Postgraduate Admissions Director, Dr Christina Riggs, at c.riggs@uea.ac.uk if you have questions about the course or the application procedure.

Job: Horniman Keeper of Anthropology

Keeper of Anthropology 
Salary scale C £37,490 - £41,392 
35 hours per week

The Horniman is an award winning museum in south east London which is set in sixteen acres of beautiful gardens. Our Designated collection of some 90,000 Anthropology and Archaeology objects is recognised as sitting alongside the finest of such collections in the UK.

Over the next three years we are committed to reviewing key areas of our stored collections in order to reassess their potential for engaging with contemporary audiences and ensuring that key objects are better known in academic circles. This will feed our collections on-line programme and create a new approach to ‘object in focus’ and gallery displays.

We seek a dynamic forward looking senior curator to take responsibility for the next stage of the development, research and interpretation of our Anthropology collections.

You will work within an inclusive scholarship framework which seeks to integrate the rigour of our curatorial research and our learning principles with community engagement. You will need to meet the challenge of overseeing both community and specialist consultation through the collections review.

You will have an in-depth knowledge of at least one of our major collection areas, together with, a postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject and appropriate museum experience. You will be a confident communicator and will have a proven track record in research and in the communication of ideas to a broad audience. You will have experience of leading teams or commissioning specialist researchers.

This is a key post which will advise the Senior Management Team and Trustees on all matters related to the Anthropology collection. You will regularly be expected to engage in public consultation and in advocacy work on behalf of the Trust.

A basic security check is required for this role. To access further information and an application pack please visit our website at

The closing date for completed applications is 31January 2012 5pm

If you would like to discuss this post in the first instance then please contact Finbarr Whooley, Assistant Director Curatorial & Public Services on 0208 291 8697

The Trust is committed to equality of opportunity and welcomes applicants from all sections of the community.

Registered Charity in England and Wales No 802725.