Dan Hicks is a British archaeologist and anthropologist, a Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford and Curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.
During the pandemic lockdown, Dan ran a social media campaign, Museums Unlocked on his influential Twitter account, @ProfDanHicks. For 100 days it encouraged museums and the public to share photos of artefacts from museums around the world which related to the day’s theme. At a time when visiting these places in person wasn’t possible, it gave people an outlook to share their memories, educate others about places or artefacts people may have been unaware of and give followers ideas for their bucket list once lockdown was over.
Dan recently wrote a book, The Brutish Museums. This tells the story of the Benin Bronzes, which currently sit at the heart of a debate about cultural restitution, repatriation and the decolonisation of museums. In the book Dan makes a powerful case for the urgent return of such objects, as part of a wider project of addressing the outstanding debt of colonialism.
Novelist Ben Okri OBE, said The Brutish Museums was, “A startling act of conscience. An important book which could overturn what people have felt about British history, empire, civilisation, Africa and African art. It is with books like this that cultures are saved, by beginning truthfully to face the suppressed and brutal past”.
Dan is a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA) and a full Member of the Institute for Archaeologists (MCIfA).