Vibe Nielsen

Vibe Nielsen


Vibe Nielsen is a social anthropologist with a background in Museum Studies, Modern Culture and European Ethnology. Her research centres around issues related to the decolonisation of museums, botanic gardens and public places. Vibe Nielsen holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Copenhagen (2019) and is currently affiliated as a postdoctoral researcher at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen. In May 2024, she started a new three year research project, funded by the Ny Carlsberg Foundation, in which she examines the art collecting practices of Carl Jacobsen in a socio-economic and cultural-political context. In continuation of her three years as Carlsberg Foundation Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford, she is affiliated as Associate Researcher at the Pitt Rivers Museum and a Continuing Member of Linacre College.

Vibe Nielsen has worked in museums, universities and cultural organisations in Denmark (the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, the National Museum of Denmark and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen), France (the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris), Italy (Accademia di Danimarca in Rome) and the United Kingdom (Pitt Rivers Museum and the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford). Her ethnographic fieldwork experience covers museums and botanical gardens in Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Her most recent publications include 'The Colonial Roots of Botany – Legacies of Empire in the Botanic Gardens of Oxford and Kew' (2023), a single-authored journal article in Museum Management and Curatorship, and the 'De-Commemoration: Removing Statues and Renaming Places' (2023) anthology, in which her chapter 'Diversifying Public Commemoration in Cape Town and Copenhagen' appears. A French version of the anthology called Dé-commémoration : Quand le monde déboulonne des statues et renomme des rue (2023) has been published by Éditions Fayard. In February 2023, Vibe Nielsen published the anthology 'Global Art in Local Art Worlds: Changing Hierarchies of Value' with Routledge. The volume, which she co-edited with Oscar Salemink, Amélia Siegel Corrêa and Jens Sejrup, includes her chapter 'Ambivalent Art at the Tip of a Continent: The Zeitz MOCAA and its quest for global recognition' (2023). It appears alongside contributions about museums and art institutions in Indigenous Australia, Brazil, China, India and Japan.

Until January 2024, Vibe Nielsen was employed by the Carlsberg Foundation as Visiting Fellow at the Pitt Rivers Museum and Linacre College at the University of Oxford. This part of her research focused on proccesses of decolonisation and changing curatorial practices in two leading ethnographic museums: the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and le Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.

Vibe Nielsen wrote her PhD thesis Demanding Recognition: Curatorial Challenges in the Exhibition of Art from South Africa (2019) as part of the Global Europe: Constituting Europe from the Outside In through Artefacts research project at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen, where she reamined affiliated as Postdoctoral Researcher until August 2020 and as Visiting Scholar until February 2022. Through anthropological fieldwork, as well as historical and museological methods, her PhD thesis examines contemporary curatorial practices in South African museums and art galleries. She continued working on these issues in her postdoctoral affiliation with the department (2019-20) and published her analysis of the Rhodes Must Fall movement in her article In the absence of Rhodes: decolonizing South African universities in the Ethnic and Racial Studies Journal in 2021.

Before her appointment as PhD Fellow at the University of Copenhagen, Vibe Nielsen worked at the National Museum of Denmark as Curator of Public Programmes. She received her MA degree in Museum Studies at University College London in 2012 and her MA degree in Modern Culture at the University of Copenhagen in 2015. In the final thesis of her MA in Museum Studies she explored the dissemination of the British involvement in the transatlantic slave trade in museums in London and Liverpool. This was an aspect she researched further in the final thesis of her MA in Modern Culture, where she analysed how Danish and British museums in different ways are dealing with their countries’ colonial pasts.

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