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Dr Johanna Zetterstrom Sharp
Dr Johanna Zetterstrom Sharp profile picture
  • Associate Professor in Heritage Studies
  • Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
  • Institute of Archaeology
  • Faculty of S&HS

Horniman, I have developed and led on a number of collaborative projects that place community research and partnership at their core. This has included Nigeria60 with Alafuro Sikoki-Coleman,  Community Action Research with JC Niala, and Ode to the Ancestors with Sherry Davis. My practice has been committed to developing more relevant, ethical and sustainable futures for colonial-era collections, including understanding and working through institutional barriers to repatriation.

Between 2016-2018 I held a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship based at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at University of Cambridge, exploring UK museum collections amassed during the later years of British colonial governance on the African continent. I am currently Chair of the Museum Ethnographers Group.

Research Summary

My research focuses on how heritage professionals and institutions navigate and understand ethical work. This has included Pentecostal Christian heritage work in Sierra Leone, as well as the development and articulation of post-colonial museum practice in the UK.


I have over 10 years of experience curating and researching colonial era collections from the African continent in the UK museum sector. This has led to a deep interest in how professional best practice reinscribes colonial oppressions and inequalities. My work explores how community-led research and access is fundamental to building future practice that is relevant, useful and serves the people it needs to. 

I am currently developing a collaborative project on the colonial history of milk. For this I am exploring the intersection of mid-century global planning, regulation, development and policy relating to global diary. I am interested in what milk can tell us about the ways in which colonialism impacts on the production of science, the entitlement to land, ideal motherhood, and racialised notions of purity and hygiene. 

Current research projects:


Mobilising Collections Histories for Institutional Change: Egypt at the Horniman. Co-I, AHRC Research Grant. 2022-2026. This includes All Eyes on Her!, a community-led project in partnership with the Horniman and UCL researcher Heba Abd El Gawad that asks what it means to be a woman in public focusing on Egypt.

Teaching Summary
I teach and supervise undergrad, postgrad and doctoral students working on heritage, museum collections, colonial legacies, colonial history, museum practice, collaborative research methods, community practice museum futures, and the multiple ways in which the past is made in the present.
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