I am the head of the Research Center of Material Culture. I am also professor of Material Culture and Critical Heritage Studies (by special appointment) in the faculty of humanities at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (VU). I was previously, head of the curatorial department at the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam; Keeper of Anthropology at the Horniman Museum in London, and Director of the Museums of History and Ethnography in Kingston, Jamaica.
I have held visiting scholar positions at the Yale Centre for British Art, Yale University and the School for Museums Studies, New York University. My work is driven by a concern for more historically contingent ways of understanding the present, especially in relation to material culture/museum collections. My research interests include issues of belonging and displacement; material mobilities; histories of (ethnographic) collecting and exhibitionary practices; difficult/contested heritage (with a special focus on slavery, colonialism and post-colonialism); Caribbean Thought. More recently I have been researching and publishing on heritage and citizenship in Europe with special attention for urban life, and on ethnographic museums and questions of redress/repair.