Daniel Rycroft
  • 0.15 Sainsbury Centre

Personal profile


Dr Rycroft is Lecturer in the Arts and Cultures of Asia at the School of World Art Studies, UEA. He specialises in South Asian art and anthropological history. He took up this post in 2006, and has since co-founded the journal World Art. He works on numerous individual and collaborative research projects. Previously Dr Rycroft held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, focusing on ‘Subalternity and Visual Representation in India’ at the University of Sussex from 2003-2005. He was then also a Senior Research Associate of the Centre for World Environmental History, and organized a conference there on ‘Reinterpreting Adivasi Movements in South Asia’ in March 2005. Since joining the School of World Art Studies Dr Rycroft has been awarded a Teaching Fellowship to develop an image archive covering core aspects of South Asian art. He is currently Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes. He also convenes the MA programmes in Cultural Heritage and facilitates a research network on Indian anthropology. He is an editorial board member of Art History, and co-founder of the South Asian Arts Group.

Areas of Expertise

Culture in India; politics in India; history of India.

Academic Background

B.A. World Art Studies; University of East Anglia 1996

DPhil History of Art; University of Sussex 2003

Key Research Interests

Colonialism in South Asia
De-colonisation and postcolonialism
Visual ethnography
Indigenous studies
Intangible heritage

Current Research Projects

Dr Rycroft’s current research project questions how the cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples in India has been mediated by anthropologists and artists in the twentieth century. This stems from his enquiries into the anthropological and political heritage of Jharkhand state, central India. He convenes a network of museum and heritage professionals, in Europe and India, on the issues of cultural reparation and visual repatriation. Beyond this South Asia focus, he is also working on an art historical project, World Art and the Legacies of Colonial Violence.


Key Responsibilities

  • Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes
  • Course Director, MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, and MA Cultural Heritage and International Development

Teaching Interests

  • Art history and anthropology in South Asia
  • Desi and modern art in India
  • Indigenous arts and peoples
  • Cultural heritage, intangible heritage  

Research supervision

I am interested in supervising research students in the fields of visual anthropology, indigenous studies, cultural heritage, postcolonialism, and the arts and cultures of South Asia.

My current research students are working on Santal (Indigenous/tribal) built environments in central India; global art networks in India, Africa and Europe; and classical Indian concepts and film theory.

I am also the principal supervisor for the Sainsbury Institute for Art and The South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection PhD studentship in South Asian Decorative arts.  

Guest lectures:

  • Guest speaker at workshop on ‘International and Imperial Exhibitions’, Tate Britain, London (June 2012)
  • Speaker at conference on ‘Cultures of Decolonisation’, St Mary’s University College, London (May 2012)
  • Keynote speaker, ‘Global/Local Material Cultures’, Symposium, Royal College of Art (May 2012)
  • Guest discussant and guest chair at Chotro 4, Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, Baroda (January 2012)
  • Guest speaker at workshop on ‘Visual Cultures in Contemporary India’, Aarhus University, Denmark (December 2011)
  • Academic consultant and guest speaker for ‘Tradition, continuity and conflict in Jharkhand State’, seminar and exhibition (A Disappearing World), SOAS, University of London (April 2011)
  • Guest speaker at conference on ‘The Politics of Ethnicity on the Margins of the State’, Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi (December 2010)
  • Guest speaker, ‘Gond Tribal Artists’ Adoption of New Media’, Adivasi Arts Trust, event at Nehru Centre, London (October 2010)
  • Guest discussant for ‘Posing Questions: Being and Image in Europe and Asia’, SOAS (March 2010)
  • Key participant for ‘De-placing Future Memory’, Beyond Text conference, University of Exeter (Sept 2009)
  • Guest chair for ‘Visual Representations’, panel at ‘Indigenous Bodies: Reviewing, Relocating, Reclaiming’ conference, Native Studies Research Network, UEA (July 2009)
  • Guest lecturer at ‘Circuits of the Popular’, conference organised by School of Art and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (March 2009)
  • Guest speaker at ‘The Legacy of Indian Abstraction’, seminar organised by Office of Contemporary Art, Oslo (March 2009)
  • Guest lecturer at ‘Britain and India: Intersections in Visual Culture, 1800-1900’, symposium organised by University of York (February 2009)
  • Guest lecturer at Ancient India and Iran Trust, Cambridge, for seminar on ‘New Research in the Field of Indian Art’ (November 2008)
  • Guest lecturer, panel on Community Rights, ‘Nature, Knowledge and Power’, international conference at Uppsala University (August 2008)
  • Guest lecturer, Historical Geography panel on ‘Indigenous Knowledge’, at Geography Matters, Annual Conference, Royal Geographical Society (July 2008)

As joint editor of World Art (to 2012):

  • Co-convener of ‘World Art and Critical Pedagogy’ panel, Association of Social Anthropologists conference, New Delhi (April 2012)
  • Guest chair, ‘There is Here’ symposium, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (February 2012)
  • Keynote speaker, ‘World Art and the Imperial Imagination’, workshops organised by Framer-Framed for Netherlands Museumcongres, Leiden (October 2011)
  • Guest discussant, ‘Artlink Indigenous’, public event at October Gallery (London, June 2011)
  • Academic adviser for exhibition project, ‘Avi Gupta’, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (Summer 2011)
  • Panel convener of ‘Re-worlding: do world art and world anthropologies relate?’, Association of Art Historians Conference, University of Warwick (March-April 2011)
  • Guest discussant, ‘Art History as Global History’, University of Warwick (February 2011)

Teaching Activities

  • Introducton to Cultural Heritage (MA)
  • Exhibiting Empire (MA)
  • Indigenous arts and Indigenous Peoples: an Introduction (BA)
  • Art and Myth in India (BA)


  • Editorial Board member, Art History (from October 2012)
  • Founder and member, South Asian Arts Group (SAAG) (from July 2012)
  • Co-convener of Purvajo-ni Aankh (Through the Eye of the Ancestors) exhibition research project, in association with Bhasha Research and Publication Centre and Vaacha (January 2012)
  • Organiser of workshop on the ‘Future of Anthropological Archival Knowledge: an International Reassessment’ (FAAKIR), Museum fur Volkerkunde, Leipzig (May 2011)
  • Founding co-editor, World Art, Routledge journals (2010-12)
  • Co-convener of conference panel, ‘Imperial Tensions’, Association of Art Historians conference, Glasgow University (April 2010)
  • Core participant for ‘Seeking Bridges between Anthropology and Indigenous/Native Studies’, workshop series, Oxford Brookes University (2008 to 2009)
  • Co-convenor of ‘Museums for the Marginalised’, International seminar at the Horniman Museum, London (October 2008)
  • Panel co-organiser for ‘Landscapes of Resistance’, European Association of Modern Asian Studies conference, University of Manchester (July 2008)
  • Member of Steering Committee for Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Cultures, University of Sussex (2005-2006)
  • Research Associate of Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (2004 to 2006)
  • Co-convenor of ‘Santal Hul 150: An International Forum Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Santal Rebellion in 2005’ (2004-2005)
  • Conference organiser of ‘Reinterpreting Adivasi (Indigenous and tribal peoples) movements in South Asia’, University of Sussex (March 2005)
  • Senior Research Associate of Centre for World Environmental History, University of Sussex (2003-2005)
  • Exhibition Assistant for British Council and British Museum touring exhibition, ‘The Enduring Image’, on the occasion of 50th anniversary of India’s independence

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions