Accessibility statement

Whose Objects? Towards amplifying the voice, visibility, and validity of Egyptian communities in Western museums

Tuesday 18 February 2020, 5.30PM

Speaker(s): Heba Abd ed Gawad

Today, Western museums are increasingly urged to actively engage with the local communities that their collections came from. Yet, ancient Egyptian and, perhaps, wider Middle Eastern collections seem to be immuned from such interventions. This could be largely attributed to how modern communities in Egypt and elsewhere around the Middle East are not perceived, academically or publicly, as ‘source communities’. In this talk Heba Abd el Gawad uses Egyptian social media perceptions and representations of ancient Egyptian collections in Western museums and her recent Listen to Her! exhibition at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian archaeology to challenge such historical and modern biases. She sets out museums’ responsibilities towards modern Egyptian communities and the ‘special relationship’ they need to forge. She puts forward how museums and local communities can work together to reanimate Egypt’s multi-layered living story.


Heba Abd el Gawad, is the postdoctoral researcher for the AHRC funded project: Egypt’s dispersed heritage: views from Egypt at the Institute of Archaeology, University College of London. She has previously led various curatorial roles in the UK including co-curating Two Temple Place’s 2016 Beyond Beauty: Transforming the body in ancient Egypt exhibition, project curator of the British Museum’s Asyut Project, and more recently has guest curated Listen to her! Turning up the Volume on Egypt’s Ordinary Women at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. She specialises in the history of Egyptian archaeology with particular focus on the past and present Egyptian perceptions and representations of the collection and distribution of archaeological finds from Egypt to the world.


York Heritage Research Seminars are free and open for anyone to attend - no booking is required. Drinks are served from 17:15. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact



Location: K/159

Admission: Free