World Cultures covers a wide range of artefacts from around the world, dating from the prehistoric to the present day. The department is organized into four sections:
Collection highlights include ancient Egyptian material, Near Eastern archaeology (including Cyprus), ancient Mediterranean glass (600 BCE–CE 600), Tibetan thangkas (17th–19th centuries), Chinese lacquer (200 BCE–c.1900), Japanese woodblock prints (1800–20th century), Persian art (18th–19th centuries), Indian sculpture (10th–20th centuries) and Indonesian textiles (18th–20th centuries). There is a wide variety of objects collected by early Scottish missionaries in central Africa, as well as significant early North Athapaskan collections from the Canadian Subarctic collected by Scottish traders. Artefacts from early exploration of the Pacific include material from Captain Cook’s voyages and the Challenger Expedition.
The Jean Jenkins Collection of sound archives highlights her pioneering work in Africa, the Middle East and India gathering examples of native music in the 20th century.
We ask that any students or postgraduates who have an interview or survey request for our curators email the Administrator, Maggie Briggs (email@example.com) in the first instance. The department will then choose the most suitable curator to assist with these questions. Research students should take into consideration the length of time which may be needed to respond to interview or survey questions when planning a project which requires this type of data collection.
Responsible for: The Department of World Cultures, its staff, projects and collections.
Research interests: Archaeology and Critical Heritage Studies, particularly, the post-colonial and post-conflict role and practice of archaeology and heritage in eastern Africa.
You can find out more about John Giblin here.
Responsible for: Managing the Middle East and South Asia section, covering the Middle East, Iran, Turkey, Central Asia and the Indian cultural area. The collections include applied arts from Islamic cultures, metalwork, glass and ceramics as well as ethnographic and archaeological collections.
Research interests: Material Culture; Iran, especially Iranian tiles and ceramics.
You can find out more about Friederike Voigt here.
Responsible for: Managing the East and Central Asia section, including China, Japan, Korea, and Tibet. Working with and researching the Japanese collections (including the prehistoric material) and the material relating to the Ainu people.
Research interests: Japanese paintings and prints of the 18th and 19th centuries; erotic art (shunga) in its social and political context; Sinophile culture in Japan of the 19th century.
You can find out more about Dr Rosina Buckland here.
Responsible for: Managing the Chinese collections, including those of the Himalayan and Mongolian regions.
Research interests: Chinese material culture, in particular weapons of the Shang and Zhou dynasties and numismatics, as well as the history of collecting.
You can find out more about Dr Qin Cao here.
Responsible for: Ethnographic and archaeological collections, from Africa, North and South America and the Pacific.
Research interests: Pacific collections, particularly Melanesia; anthropology of art; religion and ritual practices; socio-cultural change; museology.
You can find out more about Dr Antje Denner here.
Responsible for: Collections from across sub-Saharan and North-east Africa.
Research interests: Textiles, clothing and adornment, especially Hausa of Northern Nigeria.
You can find out more about Dr Sarah Worden here.
Responsible for: The Ancient Mediterranean collections with emphasis on managing Ancient Egyptian collections.
Research interests: Middle Kingdom Egyptian culture, especially tomb decoration, tomb models, and literature; society and identity; the history of early Egyptology.
You can find out more about Margaret Maitland here.
Responsible for: From 2017-2020 Dr Henrietta Lidchi is seconded as the Principal Investigator on the AHRC funded project 'Baggage and Belonging: Military Collections and the British Empire (1750-1900)'. She is working on this project with her Co-investigator Stuart Allan in the Department of Scottish History and Archaeology.
You can find out more about Henrietta Lidchi here.
Responsible for: Working with East and Central Asian collections; storage, preventive conservation, exhibition and loans preparation.
Research interests: Access, interpretation and audience.
You can find out more about Nicola Garside here.
Responsible for: Working with Middle Eastern and South Asian collections, as well as supporting the work of the whole department.
Research interests: Material culture; collectors and collecting; colonial encounters.
You can find out more about Rosanna Nicolson here.
Responsible for: Working with collections from the Ancient Mediterranean including Ancient Egypt, and Oceania, the Americas, and Africa.
Research interests: The migration and exchange of imagery and symbolism across cultures.
You can find out more about Victoria Adams here.
Responsible for: Supporting the work of the Senior Curator for Ancient Mediterranean in developing a new Ancient Egypt gallery as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded capital project ‘Revealing Cultures’, between June 2016 and autumn 2018.
Research interests: Ramesside Egyptian religion, texts and language. Pragmatics and Cognitive Linguistics. Early Egyptology, collectors and collecting.
You can find out more about Dan Potter here.
Responsible for: Supporting the work of the Senior Curator for Japan in developing a new East & Central Asia gallery as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded capital project ‘Revealing Cultures’, between January 2017 and 2018. This post is funded by the Japan Foundation.
Research interests: Edo-period art and culture especially ukiyo-e and Kitagawa Utamaro, but other interests include the work of female artists, the history of collecting and collections, and issues relating to gender and sexuality.
You can find out more about Louise Boyd here.
Tel: 0131 247 4230