Henrietta Lidchi

Henrietta Lidchi

Dr. Henrietta Lidchi

Henrietta Lidchi earned her degree at Durham University and her PhD at the Open University, in anthropology, development and cultural studies. Her postgraduate research considered the types of visual images produced by British based international NGOs in the context of debates regarding the ethics and politics of representation.


Prior to working in Leiden, Lidchi worked in National Museums Scotland as Keeper of World Cultures (2005-2017), and prior to that at both the Museum of Mankind and the British Museum as Deputy Keeper (2000-2002), curator on the North American collections (1995-2000), but equally Asian collections (1994). In these roles she worked on temporary exhibitions and permanent galleries. Her work has included an active strand of collecting contemporary indigenous North American art and material culture with more than 200 pieces spanning a number of media including photography, fashion and dress, jewellery, ceramics, contemporary sculpture and glass. In addition to the research projects below, her main research interests currently are Native American art and material culture; dealing and trading in the American Southwest from the 1950s-1980s and museum histories of collecting and display, as well as contemporary artistic practices. She is currently Vice President of the Native American Art Studies Association and Honorary Professor in the School of Political and Social Science at the University of Edinburgh as well as Visiting Scholar at CARMaH at Humboldt University Berlin.  She is a co-editor of World Art.

Research Projects

From 2017-2020  Henrietta Lidchi is seconded as the Principal Investigator on the AHRC funded project Baggage and Belonging: Military Collections and the British Empire (1750-1900) (Standard Research Grant Ref: AH/P006752/1). This research project considers the material legacies of colonial military campaigns held in regimental and museums and places these in an interdisciplinary research framework. The project focuses on the practices, culture and significance of British military collecting of artefacts from Africa and India from 1750 to 1900. Henrietta is working on this with her Co-investigator Stuart Allan in the Department of Scottish History and Archaeology and postdoctoral research Nicole Hartwell.

In 2017-18 Henrietta Lidchi is working on a project with Dr Lotte Hoek at the University of Edinburgh called the Warehouse of Ideas – this considers the quality and consistency of relationship between academic and museum anthropology and what this means for the future of collecting and understanding of value.  This is funded by the School of Social and Political Sciences Knowledge Impact Grant.

Selected Publications

  • MacDonald, S., Lidchi, H. and van Oswald, M (Guest Editors) (2017 forthcoming) Introduction: The Burdens and Potentials of the Past-Engaging Anthropological Legacies towards Cosmo-optimistic Futures? Special Section: Engaging Anthropological Legacies, Museums Worlds, 5:17Lidchi, H. (2017 forthcoming) Conjunctures and Convergences: Remaking the World Cultures Displays at the National Museum of Scotland, Special Section: Engaging Anthropological Legacies, Museums Worlds, 5:17
  • Lidchi, H and Ataumbi, K. (2017) ‘Recrafting Traditions and Materializing Memories: A Conversation with Keri Ataumbi’, Journal of Modern Craft, 17:2, 175-190.
  • Allan, S. and Lidchi, H. (2016), “Re-capturing the British imperial past”, in Ambassadors of Dialogue, International Committee of Museums and Collections of Arms and Military History/International Committee of Museums of Decorative Arts and Designs: Krakow.
  • Lidchi, H. (2015) Surviving Desires: Making and Selling Native Jewellery in the American Southwest, London/Norman: British Museum Press/University of Oklahoma Press, 264pp.
  • Lidchi, H. and Gama, V. (2015) ‘Crafting music through technology and design: a conversation with Victor Gama’, Statement of Practice, Journal of Modern Craft, 8:1, pp.47-64.
  • Lidchi, H. (2015) ‘Finding the Right Image: British Development NGOs and the regulation of Imagery’ in D. Rodogno and H. Fehrenbach (eds.) Humanitarian Photography: A History, New York:  Cambridge University Press, pp.275-296.
  • Lidchi, H. (2014) ‘Mild Hobbies and Their Legacies’ in New Orkney Antiquarian Journal, 7, Special Edition John Rae 200 Proceedings, Kirkwall: Orkney Heritage Society, pp.119-132.
  • Lidchi, H. (2014) ‘Where objects unfold their aura: new galleries at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum’, Paideuma, 60, pp. 231-246.
  • Lidchi, H. (2013) ‘The Poetics and Politics of Representing Other Cultures’, in S. Hall, J. Evans and S. Nixon (eds.) Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, 2nd edition, London: Sage/Open university, pp.120-214.
  • Lidchi, H. (2012) ‘Material Destinies: Jewelry, Authenticity and Craft in the American Southwest’, Journal of Modern Craft, 5:1, pp.69-92.
  • Lidchi, H. (2012)‘Great Expectations and Modest Transactions: Art, Commodity and Collecting’, in G. Were and J.C.H. King (eds.) Extreme Collections: Challenging 21st century practices in museums, Oxford: Beghahn, pp.131-154.
  • Lidchi, H. and Tsinhnahjinnie, H. (eds) (2009) Visual Currencies: Reflections on Native Photography, Edinburgh: National Museums Scotland,128 pp.
  • King, J.C.H. and Lidchi, H. (eds) (1998) Imaging the Arctic, London/Seattle: British Museum Press/University of Washington Press, 256 pp.

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