Personal profile


Chris was born in South Africa, but has lived in the UK since the mid-1980s. He wrote a Ba dissertation on Interpreting Iron in Zimbabwe and an M.Phil thesis on Ostrich Egghell Beads, the Environment and Sociality in the Kalahari. His PhD (undertaken part-time) tracked the The Moving Objects of the London Missionary Society.

He has worked on a number of museum and collections research projects, including:

During 2017 Chris held a South African National Research Foundation fellowship for UK researchers at the University of Cape Town’s Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative

In September 2018 Chris joined the Sainsbury Research Unit.


Prior to coming to the SRU, Chris was a Curator at the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology (2012-2018) and Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery (2004-2006). He has also been a Researcher at the University of Oxford Pitt Rivers Museum (2002 & 2006-9) and was an Associate Lecturer at the Open University (2009-2013). He has also taught at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

Key Research Interests

Having undertaken fieldwork in southern Africa, England, northern Australia and Jamaica, his research emerges from the intersection of a number of disciplinary and scholarly traditions.

Chris is particularly interested in the history of museums and collections, with a particular focus on missionary and anthropological collections and the ways these related historically to the production of images. 

In 2024 he was awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship to complete an experimental digital-first monograph engaging with these themes, Argonauts of the Eastern Atlantic: Artefactual Histories of the London Missionary Society.

Teaching Interests

At UEA, I regular teach on the following modules:

  • Makers and Making (Ba - Year 1)
  • Art in the Contemporary World (Ba - Year 2)
  • Lives of Objects (Ba - Year 2)
  • Race and Visual Culture Across Atlantic Worlds (Ba - Year 3)
  • The Arts and Archaeology of Africa (Ma)

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Birmingham

Oct 2006Apr 2012

Award Date: 6 Jul 2012

Master of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Oct 2000Jun 2002

Award Date: 30 Nov 2002

Bachelor of Arts, University of Oxford

Oct 1997Jun 2000

Award Date: 20 Oct 2001

External positions

Associate Researchers, University of Cape Town

1 Jul 201731 Dec 2023

Fellow, Advance HE

Fellow, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland


  • Art History & World Art Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Christianity
  • Museums (General)
  • African History
  • Oceania (South Seas) History
  • Modern History
  • Global & Transnational History
  • Archaeology & Archaeological Science
  • African Studies
  • Arts & Crafts, Handicrafts
  • Print media
  • Visual arts
  • Photography

Media Expertise

  • Art history
  • Archaeology
  • History