Wayne Modest

Wayne Modest is the Head of the Curatorial Department at the Tropenmuseum. He was previously the Keeper of Anthropology at the Horniman Museums and Gardens in London and Director of the Museums of History and Ethnography in Kingston, Jamaica, and has held visiting research fellowships at the Yale Centre for British Art, Yale University and the School for Museums Studies, New York University. As a curator and an academic, he seought to combine practical and theoretical museology. His work is driven by a concern for more historically contingent ways of understanding the present, especially in relation to material culture. His research interests include issues of connectedness, belonging and displacement; museum anthropology; histories of ethnographic collecting and exhibitionary practices; difficult/contested heritage (with a special focus on slavery, colonialism and post-colonialism); the Caribbean; heritage and development; and urban life.  His most recent publications include “We’ve Always Been Modern: Museums, Collections and Modernity.” Museum Anthropology 35(1). 2012, “Material Bridges: Objects, Museums and New Indigeneity in the Caribbean.” Seeking Bridges: Anthropology and Indigenous/Native Studies (Routledge, 2012), “Museums, African Collections and Social Justice (with Helen Mears)” in Museums, Equality and Social Justice (Routledge, 2012), and “Slavery and the (Symbolic) Politics of Memory in Jamaica: Rethinking the Bicentenary” in Representing Enslavement and Abolition in Museums (Routledge, 2011). He is currently working on three co-edited books: Museums and Communities: Curators, Collections, Collaborations (Bloomsbury Academic Publishers, with Viv Golding, forthcoming 2013); Museums, Heritage and International Development (Routledge, with Paul Basu, 2013) and Victorian Jamaica (Duke University Press, with Tim Barringer, 2014).