Wayne Modest is professor of Material Culture and Critical Heritage Studies in the Faculty of Humanities at Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam and the Director of Content of Wereldmuseum, the National Museum of World Cultures in the Netherlands, with locations in Amsterdam, Leiden, and Rotterdam and the Research Center for Material Culture. In addition, he has held visiting academic positions at the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, and Yale University.
A cultural studies scholar by training, 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. He has been researching heritage and citizenship in Europe and co-edited Matters of Belonging: Ethnographic Museums in A Changing Europe (2018) and Victorian Jamaica (2019). Modest has also (co-)curated several exhibitions including What We Forget (2019) with artists Alana Jelinek, Rajkamal Kahlon, Servet Kocyigit, and Randa Maroufi, which explores the art making and the memory of colonialism in current discussions about European citizenship, its pasts, present, and futures. Modest is currently working on several forthcoming publication projects including Museum Temporalities and Curating the Colonial.