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Mathieu Viau-Courville, Researcher and Scientific Outreach Advisor, Musées de la civilisation, Québec

I was immediately attracted to the Sainsbury Centre as a unique research institution where, as a SRU research student, I could combine my art historical background with my interests in anthropology and archaeology. The time spent there was most pivotal. Throughout my doctoral years, the Centre fostered learning and exchange opportunities with a very supportive and accessible world-class interdisciplinary faculty and fellow postgraduate students alike – many of us still in touch today! Dr George Lau, my thesis advisor, provided me with both solid support and offered the flexibility to pursue my ideas in an original and independent manner. That this research was conducted in a stunning building, surrounded daily by objects from around the world, certainly proved inspirational. Generous SRU funding enabled me to spend much time in the field, gathering crucial new materials for my research, but also building strong ties with international communities, in South America especially. This complemented and enriched my training, and led to my job at the Musée de la civilisation right after the completion of my PhD.


Boris Wastiau, Director of the Museum of Ethnography, Geneva

I moved to Norwich in 1992 for an MA in Advanced Studies in Non-Western Art at the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. It was then a big move for me and the discovery of a new study and research culture. Bridging anthropology and art history, this training proved very valuable and I particularly appreciated the international background of both staff and students. Continuous support is what I appreciated most!

I had my first successful job application and left in 1996, when I was only beginning to write up my Ph.D. dissertation. After eleven years as curator of central African ethnography at the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Belgium), I moved to the Museum of Ethnography in Geneva, first as curator for Africa and the Americas, and since February 2009 as director of the institution. I am alway impressed to find so many alumni of the SRU and of the School in the museums that I visit!

Fiona Savage nee Sheales, 25th Anniversary Research Fellow, Sainsbury Research Unit.


I  spent three years studying for my undergraduate degree at the School of World Art and Museuology (WAM) and a further four years at the Sainsbury Research Unit (SRU) studying for my Masters and Doctoral degrees. The SRU provided me with a very supportive environment in which to work and the collections of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA) were a constant source of inspiration. 

The unique inter-disciplinary approach to the study of non-western art and the practical skills that I learned during this period were constantly used by me in my previous role as Curator for West African Collections at the British Museum.  In October 2013 I returned to the SRU as the 25th Anniversary Research Fellow and am currently engaged in two research projects, one in collaboration with the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas (AOA) at the British Museum, which will result in the publication of an online West African Goldweight Research Catalogue (forthcoming 2014) and the other project will culminate in the publication of a monograph based on my Ph.D (forthcoming 2016).  In my new role  I also teach elements of the SRU Master's programme which enables me to facilitate the research and studies of post-graduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in academia or the museum and heritage sector here in the UK and internationally.

Mary Katherine Scott (PhD 2012)

Mary Katherine has been appointed as Acting University of Wyoming International Programs Director. Read the article and interview with Mary Katherine here.

Stephanie Leclerc -Caffarel (PhD 2014)

Commencing in January 2016 Stephanie will begin a two year fellowship at the Smithsonian. She will be working under the supervision of Adrienne Kaeppler and Joshua Bell. She will work on a collection gathered by Isaac M Brower - a US consul to Fiji in 1860 who gave his collection to the Smithsonian in 1876. Previously Stephanie held a one year post-doctoral scholarship at the quai Branly Museum in Paris.

Laura de Becker

In August 2015 Laura De Becker was appointed as Curator of African Arts at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA).

Previously she was the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow Wits Art Museum from January 2013 - July 2015.

Antje Denner (PhD 2010)

In February 2015 Antje was appointed as Principal Curator Oceania, Americas and Africa, Department of World Cultures at the National Museums Scotland. 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.

Maia Nuku (PhD 2007)

At the beginning of 2015 Maia was appointed as Associate Curator of Oceanic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Read an interview with Maia on her new role here

Kiprop Lagat (PhD 2014)

Kiprop is the Principle Research Scientist & Personal Assistant to the Director General, National Museums of Kenya (NMK). Part of his work includes, developing grant application to solicit funding for the continuation of NMK research work andidentifying research innovations with potential significance to national and international development.

Aoife O'Brien, Research Fellowship at the Met.

In August 2014 Aoife started a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Oceanic Art in St Louis. This is a joint teaching-curatorial position divided between the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis and The Saint Louis Art Museum. Aoife will be an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Oceanic Art and a Korff Postdoctoral Fellow in Oceanic Art.

Julia Burtenshaw-Zumstein, Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship at the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

Commencing in January 2014 this two year Fellowship will involve assisting in the preparation and installation of the department’s yearly gallery rotation. During the first year I will work under the supervision of curatorial staff to research a newly acquired collection of Colombian ceramics for the following year’s rotation. In addition, I will also assist curatorial staff with the research of upcoming exhibitions.

Wonu Veys 

Wonu was appointed as the Curator of Oceania at the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden in 2009. She is also the Vice President, Chair of the Pacific Arts Association - Europe (PAA-E).

Julie Adams (MA 01/02, PhD 07), Senior Research Associate at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge

Lucie Carreau (MA 04/05, PhD 09) Research Associate, MAA Cambrige

Alison Clark (MA 06/07)Research Assistant, MAA, Cambridge

All of the above SRU graduates are working on the European Research Council funded project ‘Pacific Presences: Oceanic Art and European Museums’ (2013-2018). The project investigates the extensive Pacific holdings of a series of European institutions in a bid to further advance understandings of materiality and cross-cultural histories, as well as present day museum policy and practice.

Sylvia Cockburn (MA 13/14)

Sylvia has been appointed as Assistant Curator, Cultural Environments Program, Queensland Museum, Brisbane.

Marie Durand (PhD 2014)

Marie has been awarded a one year post-doctoral scholarship at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris.

Vicky van Bockhaven (PhD 2014)

In 2014 Vicky was awarded funding for a four your post-doctoral project at the Department of African Languages and Cultures at Ghent University.

Laurie Martianrena (PhD 2014)

Laurie has started an archaeological company in Peru called Kallpa SAAT S.A.C. A wide range of archaeological services will be on offer and a website is in producition.

Kendall Swett (MA 2011)

Kendall is a museum educator in the TEAM (Thinking experiences in the Art museum) programme at the Art Institute of Chicago.








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