Tapa: Situating Pacific Barkcloth in Time and Place

Home > Participants > Prof Mark Nesbitt

Research Leader, Economic Botany, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK. Co-Investigator.

Mark NesbittAs curator of the Economic Botany Collection (EBC) at Kew, I run a research programme of three strands that integrate history and ethnobotany: colonial botany, materia medica, and materials, especially plant fibres. Kew has worldwide representation of barkcloth - from Asia, Africa and the Americas, as well as the Pacific - and this forms an important part of the materials programme. I bring to the project expertise in two areas: provenance and object biography research into Kew's collections, drawing on a decade using Kew's archives, and the application of botany to understanding museum objects. This is based in part on my earlier career as an archaeological scientist, and on experience of sampling museum objects with many researchers in the EBC. Having hosted many Pacific visitors at Kew, I am also interested in how we can best share our work with Pacific researchers and makers.