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Past Board Members

Dr Haidy Geismar

Haidy Geismar is Reader in anthropology at University College London, where she also received her PhD. At UCL she directs the Digital Anthropology programme, part of the Material, Visual and Digital Culture research arm of the department, and curates the UCL Ethnography Collections. With extensive research experience in museums in the Pacific, Europe, and North America, and with communities in Vanuatu and New Zealand, Dr Geismar has published widely on the museum history of anthropology and photography, material culture studies, intellectual and cultural property rights, indigenous arts movements and digital museum initiatives.

As well as teaching, research and publishing, she has curated several international exhibitions, most recently the Guantanamo Public Memory Project exhibition in London and the exhibition Port Vila Mi Lavem Yu in Honolulu and New York. Her book, Moving Images: John Layard, Fieldwork and Photography on Malakula since 1914, co-authored with curators in Cambridge and Vanuatu, was awarded the 2012 Collier Prize for Still Photography by the Society for Visual Anthropology. Dr Geismar’s most recent book, Treasured Possessions: Indigenous Interventions into Cultural and Intellectual Property (Duke, 2013), compares indigenous appropriations of intellectual and cultural property in museum and art worlds in Vanuatu and New Zealand. She is the founder and editor of the popular anthropology blog,, and outgoing co-editor of the Journal of Material Culture. She is currently working on a book manuscript exploring the contemporary production of knowledge through digital technologies in museums.

Professor Elizabeth Pye MA, FSA, FIIC

Elizabeth Pye is an archaeologist and conservator, and Emeritus Professor of Archaeological and Museum Conservation, University College London Institute of Archaeology. After graduating, she started work at the British Museum but spent most of her career at UCL Institute of Archaeology, initially as Liaison Officer in London for the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (now known as ICCROM).

She introduced innovations in design and delivery of the conservation curriculum at the Institute and was instrumental in raising the status of the programme from a Diploma to a BSc and subsequently to an MA coupled with an MSc. She has also worked closely with the UK conservation profession to introduce a museum internship as a feature of the training programme, and has encouraged students to develop conservation thinking and practice by undertaking conservation research at PhD level.

She has worked extensively in the field, being involved in archaeological conservation projects in Libya, Italy, Spain, Morocco and (most recently) at the international archaeological project of Çatalhöyük, Turkey, where she led the conservation team from 2003 to 2012. Working with ICCROM from 1987 to 2000, she was closely involved in developing preventive conservation training in sub-Saharan Africa (the PREMA and PMDA programmes).

Her research interests have focused on philosophy and ethics of conservation, the social impact of conservation and access to objects through handling. She is particularly interested in pre-industrial technologies and in the fascination of objects. Amongst other publications, she is author of Caring for the Past: Issues in Conservation for Archaeology and Museums (London: James and James, 2001), and editor of The Power of Touch: Handling Objects in Museum and Heritage Contexts (Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2007).

Although now retired she maintains her links with UCL Institute of Archaeology as editor of its annual journal Archaeology International.

Professor Simon Schaffer

Simon Schaffer is Professor of History of Science at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. He edited the British Journal for the History of Science between 2004 and 2009 and was a Trustee of the Science Museum Group between 2007 and 2011. Since 2012 he has been a Fellow of the British Academy.

<li>Schaffer, S, 2009, ‘The Asiatic enlightenments of British astronomy’, in Schaffer, S, Roberts, L, Raj, K, and Delbourgo, J (eds), <em>The Brokered World: go-between and global intelligence, 1770–1820</em> (Sagamore Beach: Science History Publications), pp 49–104</li>
<li>Schaffer, S, 2007, ‘The charter’d Thames: naval architecture and experimental spaces in Georgian Britain’, in Roberts, L, Schaffer, S, and Dear, P (eds), <em>The Mindful Hand: inquiry and invention from the late Renaissance to early industrialisation </em>(Amsterdam: KNAW), pp 279–305</li>
<li>Schaffer, S, 1999, ‘Enlightened automata’, in Schaffer, S, Golinski, J, and Clark, W (eds), <em>The Sciences in Enlightened Europe</em> (Chicago: Chicago University Press), pp 126–165</li>
<li>Schaffer, S, 1989, ‘Glass works: Newton’s prisms and the uses of experiment’, in Pinch, T, Schaffer, S, and Gooding, D (eds), <em>The Uses of Experiment: studies in the natural sciences</em> (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp 67–104</li>
<li>Schaffer, S, 1989, <em>Leviathan and the air pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the experimental life</em> (with Steven Shapin) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985)</li>

Professor Felix Driver

Felix Driver is professor of human geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. Much of his research is concerned with science, exploration, empire and visual culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has undertaken numerous collections-based projects in collaboration with museums, libraries and botanic gardens, and supervised a large number of collaborative PhDs. In 2009 he co-curated the Hidden Histories of Exploration exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society, where he is currently Chair of the Collections Advisory Group. In recent years he has worked in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he is an Honorary Research Associate, on several AHRC-funded including The Mobile Museum: Economic Botany in Circulation and Plant Humanities: Where Arts, Humanities and Plants Meet. He is currently Co-investigator on a new archival project, An Oral History of the Environmental Movement in the UK, in partnership with the British Library, the Royal Geographical Society and Friends of the Earth.

Felix Driver is a Fellow of the British Academy and currently a member of its Council. He is a former Editor in Chief of the Journal of Historical Geography and an Associate Editor of History Workshop Journal.  He has been a member of the Trustees Collections & Research Committee at the Royal Museums Greenwich, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Arts & Humanities Research at the Natural History Museum and a member of several AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Programme Consortia panels.

Professor Geoffrey Cubbitt

Geoff Cubitt is a Reader in the History Department at the University of York, and is Director of its Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP). He is the author of <em>The Jesuit Myth: Conspiracy Theory and Politics in Nineteenth-Century France</em> (1993), and<em> History and Memory</em> (2007), and editor or co-editor of <em>Imagining Nations</em> (1998), <em>Heroic Reputations and Exemplary Lives</em> (2000), and most recently (with Laurajane Smith, Ross Wilson and Kalliopi Fouseki) of <em>Representing Enslavement and Abolition in Museums: Ambiguous Engagements</em> (2011).

He began his career as a specialist in the political and religious cultures, mentalities and polemical traditions of 19th-century France, focusing especially on the role of conspiracy theories in the political discourse of both left and right, on the role of ideas of heroism, sacrifice and providence in political and religious discourse, and on the political uses of history.

While retaining an interest in these themes, his work over the last quarter century has broadened to encompass the conceptual study of history and memory, and especially of commemoration, the nature and uses of heroic reputations, and the representation of the past in museums and heritage institutions, especially in contemporary Britain. He was Co-Investigator on the <em>1807 Commemorated </em>project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which analysed museum activity to mark the 2007 bicentenary of the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. This involved close collaboration with a number of major museums, as well as a broader survey of the museum sector and an analysis of visitor responses to exhibitions.

As Director of IPUP and as recent convenor of the University of York’s MA in Public History, Geoff is actively involved in promoting the development of public history and of partnerships and interactions between academic and other history-making groups or institutions in the UK. He is currently academic supervisor for a CDA student supervised jointly by the University of York and the National Railway, working on railways and commemoration, and has several other PhD students working on museum-related topics or on aspects of memory and commemoration.