About the part that art plays in a globalising society

Framer Framed

Wayne Modest

Wayne Modest is Director of Content National Museum of World Cultures. He is also professor of Material Culture and Critical Heritage Studies (by special appointment) in the faculty of humanities at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (VU). Modest was previously, head of the curatorial department at the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam; Keeper of Anthropology at the Horniman Museum in London, and Director of the Museums of History and Ethnography in Kingston, Jamaica.

He has held visiting scholar positions at the Yale Centre for British Art, Yale University and the School for Museums Studies, New York University. Wayne Modest’s work is driven by a concern for more historically contingent ways of understanding the present, especially in relation to material culture/museum collections. His research interests include issues of belonging and displacement; material mobilities; histories of (ethnographic) collecting and exhibitionary practices; difficult/contested heritage (with a special focus on slavery, colonialism and post-colonialism); Caribbean Thought. More recently Modest has been researching and publishing on heritage and citizenship in Europe with special attention for urban life, and on ethnographic museums and questions of redress/repair.

  • Some of his publications include: Museums and Communities: Curators, Collections, Collaborations (Bloomsbury Academic Publishers, ed. with Viv Golding, 2013); Museums, Heritage and International Development (Routledge, ed. with Paul Basu, 2013); Victorian Jamaica (Duke University Press, ed. with Tim Barringer, 2018).


Symposium: Now You See Me
Black Women’s Defying Worlds During the Era of the Atlantic Slave Trade and Indentured Servitude
Roundtable Conversation: Tanah Merdeka
Roundtable conversation with researchers and curators from different art museums and institutions within the context of Taring Padi's exhibition, Tanah Merdeka.
Symposium: (un)Common Grounds - Reflecting on documenta fifteen
A two-day hybrid symposium co-organised by Framer Framed, Akademie van Kunsten & Van Abbemuseum
Atelier KITLV: Kucini, kallu, kakkus - Creolising India Across the Oceans
Kucini, kallu, kakkus: Creolising India Across the Oceans
Symposium: Declassified - How to Un/Engender the Ethnographic Object?
On the (historical) construction of gender and sexuality within the ethnographic collecting practices of museums.