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Dr Paul Basu
Institute of Archaeology
31-34 Gordon Square
Dr Paul Basu profile picture
  • Honorary Visiting Professor
  • Dept of Anthropology
  • Faculty of S&HS

Paul Basu is a social anthropologist and museum/heritage consultant. After training and working in film and television production for several years, Paul Basu received an MSc in Social Anthropology in 1996 and a  PhD in Anthropology in 2002, both at University College London, where he was a student of Barbara Bender and Christopher Tilley. He taught in the Department of Anthropology at Sussex University for a number of years before returning to UCL in 2009 as Reader in Material Culture & Museum Studies.

Research Groups
Research Summary

  • Cultural heritage and memory
  • Anthropology and archaeology of landscape
  • Spatial history, spatial practice, ‘sites of memory’
  • Museum anthropology, history of ethnographic collecting and display
  • Exhibition practice, visual anthropology, multimedia installation
  • Museums and development, cultural heritage and civil society strengthening
  • Colonial and postcolonial heritage ideology and legislation
  • Material culture and migration, homelands and the diasporic imagination
  • Regional expertise: West Africa (especially Sierra Leone), Scotland and the Scottish diaspora

Current Projects

  • Core participant in AHRC-funded Museum Ethics Research Network.
  • British Museum Room 3 exhibition - collaboration with the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
  • Palimpsest Memoryscapes - a book project exploring the multiple 'regimes of memory' that coexist in the Sierra Leonean cultural landscape.
  • Critical Conversations in Culture and Development workshop series - collaboration with the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (the first workshop, Museums, Heritage and International Development, took place at the Tropenmuseum in September 2011).
  • Reanimating Cultural Heritage: digital repatriation, knowledge networks and civil society strengthening in post-conflict Sierra Leone – 3 year project funded under the AHRC’s Beyond Text programme. Partners include the British Museum, British Library Sound Archive, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Glasgow Museums, World Museum Liverpool, the National Museum of Sierra Leone, and University of Sussex Informatics Department. A major output of the project is the digital heritage resource www.sierraleoneheritage.org.
  • Enhanced Integrated Framework Cultural Heritage programme, Sierra Leone – lead international consultant.
  • Object Diasporas, Resourcing Communities – British Academy funded survey of Sierra Leonean collections in the global museumscape.
  • Heritage Laws, Colonial Legacies – comparative history and study of heritage legislation in British Commonwealth states.
  • Discovering Anthropology through Museum Collections – museum learning resource, partners include Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, C-SAP, the Royal Anthropological Institute, and University of Sussex Anthropology Department.
Teaching Summary

Paul Basu is co-ordinator of UCL's Museum Studies MA programme. See http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museumstudies/

And Section Co-ordinator of Heritage Studies

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