Antje Denner completed an MA in Social Anthropology, Modern History and International Law at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and received her PhD from the School of World Art Studies and Museology at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She lectured for several years in Social Anthropology at the universities of Basel and Heidelberg. Over the last twenty years she has worked in different capacities in various ethnographic museums including the Museum der Kulturen Basel and the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin and has also curated exhibitions in contemporary art galleries such the Fondation Beyeler in Basel. She combines a background in museum anthropology with a broad knowledge of world collections of Pacific art, particularly with regard to Melanesia. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Papua New Guinea focussing on the relationship between ritual, art and performance.
In February 2015 Antje joined National Museums Scotland, where – together with her colleagues – she curates the internationally significant collections of ethnographic and archaeological material from Oceania, the Americas and Africa. On the basis of a recently completed review of Pacific collections in Scottish Museums, she hopes to further research and organize an exhibition on materials assembled by Scottish missionaries who worked in Oceania, particularly in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.
Her main research interests include the cultures and material collections of the Pacific, particularly of Melanesia, the anthropology of art, religion and ritual practices, aesthetics and representation, and socio-cultural change. In terms of methodology she is especially interested in further developing cross-disciplinary as well as cross-cultural approaches.