The research on the provenance and nature of the Tibetan collections at National Museums Scotland was undertaken by Inbal Livne through a Collaborative Doctoral Award funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2009-2013). ‘Tibetan Collections in Scottish Museums 1890-1930: A Critical Historiography of Missionary and Military Intent’ was a joint initiative between the Department of Languages, Cultures and Religions (T. Fitzgerald and M. Marten) at University of Stirling and Department of World Cultures (H. Lidchi) at National Museums Scotland. Results from the emerging research were discussed as part of a National Partnerships Knowledge Exchange workshop at the National Museums Scotland (October 2010) and an academic conference at the University of Stirling on '(Mis)representing Cultures and Objects: Critical Approaches to Museological Collections' (May 2014).
Inbal Livne’s research explored how collecting Tibetan objects influenced the construction of Tibet in the western imagination and how collectors used them to further their personal, organisational (missionary or military) and imperial desires and expectations. The Tibetan collections in Edinburgh with those in other Scottish museums make up a mosaic of understandings that are scholarly and personal, local and universal, connecting a physically and intellectually distanced imperial border to the heart of Scottish life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Dr Livne was awarded her degree in 2014, and is now Head of Collections at the Powell-Cotton Museum. Aspects of the research have been published in:
Livne, Inbal. “The many Purposes of Missionary Work: Annie Royle Taylor as Missionary, Travel Writer, Collector and Empire Builder”, in Protestant Missions and Local Encounters in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, edited by Hilde Nielssen, Inger Marie Okkenhaug and Karina Hestad Skeie, 43-70. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2011.
Livne, Inbal. “‘Museum’ Sites in Early Twentieth-Century Edinburgh: an Encounter Between Tibetan Material Culture and Edinburgh Society”, Journal of Museum History, Vol.6, No.1, (January 2013): 39-55.