Prof Dr Laura Van Broekhoven

Research summary

Laura's current research interests include repatriation and redress, with a focus on the importance of collaboration, inclusivity and reflexive inquiry. Her regional academic research has focused on collaborative collection research with Amazonian (Surinam and Brazil) indigenous peoples, Yokot’an (Maya) oral history, Mixtec indigenous market systems, and Nicaraguan indigenous resistance in colonial times. She has curated numerous exhibitions, and authored dozens of books, articles and papers.


Laura is the Director of the Pitt Rivers Museum and Professor of Museum Studies, Ethics and Material Culture at the University of Oxford. A fellow of Linacre College, Laura is also associated with the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, Oxford. Previously, Laura led the curatorial department of the National Museum of World Cultures (Amsterdam, Leiden and Berg en Dal) and was a lecturer in archaeology, museum studies and indigenous heritage at the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University. Laura currently serves on numerous advisory boards and panels, is a member of the Women Leaders in Museums Network (WLMN) and sits on the European Ethnographic Museum Directors Group. She was a participant in the Getty’s Museum Leadership Institute, co-chair of the Oxford and Colonialism Network, and a founding member of Wayeb.  

In 2022 Laura received the Kenneth Hudson Award for Institutional Courage and Professional Integrity as part of the European Museum of the Year Award scheme alongside Wayne Modest (Dutch National Museum of World Cultures), Nanette Snoep (Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum) and Léontine Meijer-Van Mensch (State Ethnographic Collections of Saxony). The European Museum Forum recognised these four Museum directors for their 'personal courage and professional integrity in their continuous contributions to developing a new global ethics for museums, addressing the urgent and contentious issues of decolonisation, restitution, reparation and repatriation’.

A full copy of Laura's CV can be found here.

Keynote address given at the Settler Colonialism, Slavery, and the Problem of Decolonizing Museums Conference, organized by the Center for Experimental Ethnography and co-presented by the Center for Experimental Ethnography and the Penn Museum, 20 October 2021.



Engaging with myths of indigenous extinctions through museum collections, an event organised by the Indigenous Studies Discussion Group, a research network at the Centre for Research in the Arts Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge. 19 May 2022.



Museums and Heritage Decolonisation presentation at Queen's University Belfast for the Ireland, Museums, Empire, Colonialism Conference
8–9 April 2022.






Museums leaders and the legacy of Empire, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 29 October 2020




Unpack the contested space of the Pitt Rivers Museum with its director, Laura Van Broekhoven (Oxford University), as she discusses the museum’s emerging co-curatorial approaches, in this talk at Brown University in 6 May 2019.







 Listen to the the Space Invaders: Feminist leadership podcast episode Feminist Solidarity at the MuseumLaura Van Broekhoven and our Sharon Heal talk disrupting hierarchies and taking steps to decolonise the Pitt Rivers Museum.


 Listen to the Matters of Policy Podcast, Pathways Forward with Dr. Laura van Broekhoven discussing the future of the Pitt Rivers Museum and its collection policy. 

 Listen to the BBC Hidden History at the Pitt Rivers. Phil Mercer-Kelly presents a four-part series finding out how the world famous Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford is tackling its imperial roots.