Keeper Department: Africa, Oceania and the Americas
Lissant Bolton is an anthropologist who specialises in the Pacific. Her research focusses on gender and kastom in Vanuatu, and on the indigenous use of collections and cultural knowledge. She has a specific interest in textiles.
She has worked in Vanuatu annually since 1989, collaborating with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre (VKS) www.vanuatuculture.org in the development of programmes to document and revive women’s knowledge and practice. This programme, the Women’s Culture Project, holds annual training workshops for ni-Vanuatu women extension workers, which Bolton chairs for the VKS. She has made a number of films with the VKS for use in Vanuatu.
Bolton lead-curated the permanent gallery Living and Dying (2003), and curated the exhibition Power and Taboo: Sacred Objects from the Pacific (2006), both for the British Museum. She previously worked for the Australian Museum Sydney and for the Australian National University. She has undertaken a series of major research projects, the last two with colleagues from London University.
+44 (0)20 7323 8047
Melanesian Art: Objects Narratives and Indigenous Owners
(Joint Research Project with Goldsmiths College, University of London).
Clothing the Pacific (Joint research project with University College, London and Goldsmiths College, University of London)
L. Bolton, ‘Explorers and Traders of South Papua’, in I. McCalman and N. Erskine (eds.) In the Wake of the Beagle: Science in the Southern Oceans from the Age of Darwin (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2009) pp. 108-123
L. Bolton, ‘Living and Dying: Ethnography, class and aesthetics in the British Museum’, in D. Sherman (ed.) Museums and Difference (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007) pp. 330-353
L. Bolton, ‘‘Island dress that belongs to us all’: Mission dresses and the innovation of tradition in Vanuatu’ in E. Ewart and M. O’Hanlon (eds.) Body Arts and Modernity (Wantage: Sean Kingston Publishing, 2007) pp. 165-182
M. Rodman, D. Kramer, L. Bolton and J. Tarisesei (eds.) House-girls Remember: Domestic Workers in Vanuatu (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007)
L. Bolton, ‘Resourcing Change: Fieldworkers, the Women’s Culture Project and the Vanuatu Cultural Centre’, in N. Stanley (ed.) The Future of Indigenous Museums: Perspectives from the Southwest Pacific (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2007) pp. 23-37
L. Bolton, 'The museum as cultural agent: the Vanuatu Cultural Centre extension worker program', in C. Healy, and A. Witcomb (eds.) South Pacific Museums: Experiments in Culture (Melbourne: Monash University ePress, 2006)
L. Bolton, ‘Power of the gods’, British Museum Magazine, 56 (2006) pp. 24-27
L. Bolton, 'Dressing for Transition: Weddings, Clothing and Change in Vanuatu', in S. Kuechler and G. Were (eds.), Pacific Clothing: the Art of Experience (London: UCL Press, 2005) pp. 19-32
L. Bolton, 'The effect of objects: the return of a north Vanuatu textile from the Australian Museum to the Vanuatu Cultural Centre', in V.Attenbrow and R.Fullagar (eds.) A Pacific Odyssey: Archaeology and Anthropology in the Western Pacific. Papers in Honour of Jim Specht Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 29. (Sydney: Australian Museum, 2004) pp. 31-36
L. Bolton, Unfolding the moon: Enacting Women's Kastom in Vanuatu (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2003)
L, Bolton, 'Living and Dying', British Museum Magazine, 47 (Winter 2003) pp. 34-37