I am Professor of Anthropology at UCL. I am also the curator of the Ethnography Collections, co-direct the Digital Anthropology Programme, and am the Director of the UCL School for the Creative and Cultural Industries: a new set of research and teaching activities focused on media, heritage and collections in UCL’s new campus in the Olympic Park in East London. With fieldwork experience in Vanuatu and New Zealand dating back to 2000, my research focuses on museums and collections as sites of knowledge and value production, and I have written on a wide range of topics including the art market, postcolonial museologies, the production of indigenous intellectual and cultural property, the history of ethnographic collections, the epistemology of digital processes in diverse cultural contexts, and the social resonance of historical photographic collections in present day communities.
Recent books include Moving Images: John Layard, Fieldwork and Photography in Malakula since 1914 (2010, Hawaii University Press, winner of the 2012 John Collier Prize for Still Photography from the Society for Visual Anthropology), Treasured Possessions: Indigenous Interventions into Cultural and Intellectual Property (2013, Duke University Press), The Routledge Cultural Property Reader (with Jane Anderson, 2017), Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age (2018, University College London Press), and Impermanence (with Ton Otto and Cameron Warner, UCL Press 2022).
I am an active curator, working with museums including the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the East West Gallery, Honolulu. I am also Chair of the Royal Anthropological Institute Photography Committee and one of the founding editors of a new open access series, Anthropology and Photography.