Dr Richard Vokes

richard vokes

Research Affiliate

I am Associate Professor in Anthropology at the University of Western Australia; Director of UWA’s Experimental Ethnography Lab, and; Research Associate of the Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip.

I have been conducting ethnographic and archival research in the African Great Lakes region, and across East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean Rim, for over 20 years. Since the completion of my D.Phil in Social Anthropology, from Oxford, in 2004, I have published extensively, especially in visual, media and museum anthropology, and on heritage futures. My research has won numerous prizes and awards, including the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Curl Prize, and it has been used by the Office of the Secretary General of the UN. 

My current research centres around two projects: 1) ‘Uganda Unseen: Photography and Statecraft, 1875-2020’, which is developing a continuous history of the politics of photography in that country, and which incorporates the work I have been doing on the recently discovered media archives of Idi Amin, and 2) ‘Africa in Australia’, which is examining global circulations of African and Australian heritage, and is exploring models for reconnecting that heritage with source communities, both through experimental ethnographic methods, and through digital platforms.

My books and collections include: Haunting Images (with Benjamin Smith, 2008); Ghosts of Kanungu (2009); Routes and Traces: Anthropology, Photography and the Archive (with Marcus Banks, 2010); Photography in Africa (2012); Media on the Move (with Katrien Pype, 2018); Media and Development (2018); Photography and African Futures (with Darren Newbury, 2018); Photographies in Africa in the Digital Age (2019); Shifting States (with Alison Dundon, 2021), and; The Unseen Archive of Idi Amin (with Derek Peterson, 2021).