Drawing on archaeological, historical and anthropological perspectives, my research explores the ways in which the past is choreographed in the present and, correspondingly, how the present is legitimised by the past. Recent projects have included: changing understandings of heritage amongst cattle-herding nomadic communities (Omo Valley, Ethiopia); missionary activity and mutable religious identities in colonial settings (Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania); and the past as a driver of contemporary conflict (Northern Kenya and South-Central Somalia). A range of funders have supported my research, including: Arts and Humanities Research Council; British Academy; Boise Fund, Oxford; British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi; Christensen Fund, San Francisco; Fell Fund, Oxford; McDonald Institute, Cambridge; Royal Anthropological Institute; and various UK government departments.
- Co-Director of the Mursiland Heritage Project (with Marcus Brittain, University of Cambridge and Juan Salazar Bonet, Florida State University Valencia)
- Co-Director of the Roots of Divided Societies in the Horn of Africa Project (with Simon Mabon, Lancaster University)
- Co-Director of the Heritage, Information and Conflict Project (with Robert Johnson, University of Oxford)
- Co-Director of the Ethiopian Middle Stone Age Project (with Huw Groucutt, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and Marcus Brittain, University of Cambridge)
- Co-Director of the Contextualising Cultural Property Protection Project (with Karl Harrison, Cranfield University and Suzanna Joy, ARUP)