Louise Tythacott is a Professor of Curating and Museology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (S.O.A.S.), University of London. Before joining S.O.A.S., she worked as Woon Tai Jee’s Professor of Asian Art at Northumbria University. She was the academic lead for the International Research Centre for the History and Culture of Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms. She was formerly Pratapaditya Pal Senior Lecturer, then Professor, in Curating and Museology of Asian Art at S.O.A.S. (2014-20); Lecturer in Museology at the University of Manchester (2003-14); and Curator of Asian Collections at National Museums Liverpool (1996-2003). She was the lead curator for the World Cultures gallery at World Museum Liverpool, with specific responsibilities for the Asia and Buddhism displays. She has also worked as curator of a private Burmese textile collection, an Exhibitions Officer at the Royal Pavilion, Art Gallery & Museums, Brighton, a Managing Editor of the journal, Museum and Society – and she continues to work on museum projects and curate exhibitions.
Louise’s research focuses on collecting and displaying Chinese and Buddhist art in museums. She recently co-edited a volume with Panggah Ardiyansyah, Returning Southeast Asia’s Past: Objects, Museums and Restitution (N.U.S. Press, 2020). From 2017-2018, Louise secured a significant philanthropic donation to research the histories of objects looted from China’s Yuanmingyuan in British and French museum collections and is presently completing a monograph on the ‘Summer Palace Diaspora’.
Her books include Surrealism and the Exotic (Routledge, 2003); The Lives of Chinese Objects: Buddhism, Imperialism and Display (Berghahn, 2011); Museums and Restitution: New Practices, New Approaches (Ashgate, 2014, co-edited with Kostas Arvanitis); Collecting and Displaying China’s ‘Summer Palace’ in the West: The Yuanmingyuan in Britain and France (Routledge, 2017); and Returning Southeast Asia’s Past: Objects, Museums, and Restitution (N.U.S. Press, 2020 co-edited with Panggah Ardiyansyah).
Louise is an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Asiatic Society, the Royal Anthropological Institute and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.