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Friederike Voigt is Principal Curator with responsibility for the West, South and Southeast Asia collections and Head of Asia Section.

Curators Friederikevoigt 190PxShe has worked as a curator in museums in Germany, Sweden and the UK for over twenty years, specialising in material culture from the Middle East and South Asia. Her research focusses on the significance of art and craft, and the role of their makers, for our understanding of social, economic and political processes of change in the country of their origin. She is particularly interested in cultural exchanges between Iran and Europe in the 19th and 20th century and the contribution of these exchanges to the construction of national identity. Through her research into collecting practices and the role of networks she develops alternative positions for interpreting and engaging with historical collections. Her work reconsiders their relevance from a post-colonial perspective and creates a platform for collaborations with their source communities.

Friederike Voigt was the lead curator for the galleries ‘Art of Ceramics’ (2019), ‘Patterns of Life’ and ‘Inspired by Nature’ (both 2011). At National Museums Scotland she curated the exhibition ‘Indian Encounters’ (2014-15), using the collector-object relation to examine aspects of Britain’s historical connection with India. She collaborates with artists in the reinterpretation of National Museums Scotland’s collections. The dance performance ‘Azadi’ (2013) by Roxana Vilk enabled visitors to experience Iranian floral and geometric patterns through music and physical movement. A project with master students in Textiles and in Jewellery at Edinburgh College of Art on the Middle Eastern collection inspired artistic explorations of urban nomadism and creative cross-fertilisation of textile and jewellery techniques (2018-19).

Before joining National Museums Scotland in 2008, she worked at the Ethnological Museum, State Museums Berlin. She was appointed to her current post in 2019. She has an MA in Iranian studies, Art History and Sociology from Humboldt University Berlin.


Selected publications

  1. Voigt, F. (forthcoming) “Equestrian tiles and the rediscovery of underglaze painting in Qajar Iran”, in G. Fellinger and M. Gibson (eds) Revealing the Unseen: Essays on Qajar Art, Gingko Publishing, 150-161.
  2. Voigt, F. 2021 “For close observation: Tilework imagery in the architecture of Qajar Iran”, in S. Salgirli (ed.) Inside-outside in Islamic art and architecture, Bloomsbury, 99-127.
  3. Voigt, F. 2021 “’A place where eternally blossoming roses grow’: The garden in Iranian textiles”, Journal of the Oriental Rug and Textile Society, 4 (2), Summer, 4-9.
  4. Voigt, F. 2020 “Wandkachel. Historie”, in T. Brüderlein, S. Schien, S. Stoll (eds) Ausgepackt! 125 Jahre Geschichte(n) im Museum Natur und Mensch, Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag und Städtische Museen Freiburg, 40-1.
  5. Voigt, F. 2020 “Mementoes of power and conquest: Sikh jewellery in the collection of National Museums Scotland”, in H. Lidchi and S. Allan (eds) Dividing the Spoils, Manchester University Press, 247-68
  6. Voigt, F. 2019 “Orientalist collecting of Indian sculpture”, in R. Jeffery (ed.) India in Edinburgh: 1750s to the Present, New Delhi: Social Science Press, 47-72.
  7. Voigt, F., Nicolson, R. and Bennison, L. 2017 “Panjab connections: a Young Roots heritage project at National Museums Scotland”, Journal of Museum Ethnography, 30, 24-48.

For further publications see: National Museums Scotland Research Repository.

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Archibald Swinton Collection of 18th Century Paintings and Lacquer Work Saved for the Nation.

A truly exceptional collection of 18th century Mughal paintings and lacquer work has been acquired for the Nation and allocated to National Museums Scotland under the Acceptance in Lieu scheme.
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