Skip Navigation or Skip to Content

Dr John Giblin

Dr John Giblin
Keeper, Department of Global Arts, Cultures and Design
Responsible for: The Department of Global Arts, Cultures and Design, its staff, projects and collections.
Research interests: Archaeology, Anthropology, Art, Critical Heritage Studies, Empire and Participatory Practice.
E: j.giblin@nms.ac.uk

John Giblin is Keeper for the Department of Global Arts, Cultures and Design.

With a global perspective that highlights the transnational and interconnectedness of artistic and cultural collections, alongside their diversity and contextual specificity, John uses participatory, audience-led methods to explore and share the contemporary relevance of material culture from the deep past to the present day.

Working with diaspora communities and museums from across the UK, John leads participatory collections-based research into empire, migration and life in Britain. In partnership with descendant communities around the world and diaspora communities in the UK, John also leads projects that reveal and connect collections in Scottish museums with stakeholders in the UK and internationally.

John’s global approach to heritage is reflected in the places he has worked, including as a Lecturer in Critical Heritage Studies and a member of the Institute of Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and on various participatory research projects in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa.

John received his BA(Hons), MA and PhD in archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. His MA ethno-archaeological research investigated the history and contemporary practice of a group of royal potters from Buganda, Uganda. His PhD investigated the first and second millennium archaeology of Rwanda and the relevance of archaeological narratives in a post-genocide era. His Post-doctoral research concerned the role of heritage in post-conflict development in Rwanda and Uganda.

John joined National Museums Scotland in 2018 from the British Museum where he was the Head of Africa Section.

Selected publications

Giblin, J., Sinami, A., and S. Chirikure (eds.) Forthcoming. The Routledge Handbook of African Cultural Heritage Studies. Abingdon, UK: Routledge

Cross. C. and J. Giblin (eds.) Forthcoming. Critical Perspectives on Heritage for Development. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Giblin, J. and A. N. Abiti. 2021. A European Jerry-Can. In Pieces of a Nation: South Sudanese Heritage and Museum Collections. Zoe Cormack and Cherry Leonardi (eds.). Leiden, Netherlands: Sidestone Press.

Wingfield, C., Giblin, J., and R. King (eds.) 2020. The pasts and presence of art in South Africa: Technologies, ontologies and agents. Cambridge: Institute for Archaeological Research.

Giblin, J., Ramos, I, and N. Grout (eds.) 2019. Exhibiting the Experience of Empire. Third Text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture, 33 (4-5)

Giblin, J., Ramos, I, and N. Grout. 2019. Dismantling the Master’s House: Thoughts on Representing Empire and Decolonising Museums and Public Spaces in Practice. Third Text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture https://doi.org/10.1080/09528822.2019.1653065

Giblin, J. 2018. Heritage and the Use of the Past in East Africa. In The Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of African History. Thomas Spear (ed). New York: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190277734.013.135

Giblin, J. and C. Spring. 2016. South Africa: the art of a nation. London: Thames and Hudson.

Giblin, J., King, R. and B. Smith (eds.). 2014. Ethics in African Archaeology. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, 49 (2).

Giblin, J. 2013. Post-Conflict Heritage: Symbolic Healing and Cultural Renewal. International Journal of Heritage Studies https://DOI:10.1080/13527258-2013-772912

For further publications see the National Museums Scotland Research Repository.

Find out more

Back to top