Max Carocci, MA, PhD
With a career that spans over three decades, Max Carocci has covered several roles in academia, museums and private consultancies. The variety of positions held over the years has allowed him to gain a full-rounded and comprehensive understanding of the museum and curatorial world, from purchasing collections and their display to educating the public and sector specialists in the meanings, ethics, and politics of exhibitions and representation.
Max received his Laurea in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Rome, La Sapienza in 1991. He then proceeded to get an MA in Cultural Studies and History after moving to London (University of East London, 1996). After a sabbatical period when he travelled through Mexico (1997), he continued his studies enrolling on a PhD in Social Anthropology, which was obtained from Goldsmiths College, the University of London in 2006. In addition to these qualifications, since 2011 Max holds the certificate PTTLS; Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (licence to teach to adult learners).
Between 2002 and 2014 Max Carocci has been teaching and programming the World Arts programme for Birkbeck College in partnership with the British Museum (Art History, University of London, 2002-2014), while also lecturing on his own course on Ethnographic Museums and Collections designed and tailored for the MA Museum Cultures in the same university (Birkbeck College, 2012-2013). During the same period, he held workshops at University College London (MA Ethnographic Museums and Collections, 2010-2012). He then moved on to teaching at the University of East Anglia, Norwich (MA Native American Studies 2014-2015), and was offered a five-year contract at Chelsea College of Arts, London where he taught on the MA Museum and Curating as Associate Lecturer (University of the Arts, 2015-2020). He has also taught short courses for Goldsmiths College (Anthropology and Art: Galleries, Museums and Globalisation, 2018-2021), and lectures in anthropology and ancient arts and civilisations for the City Literary Institute in London (adult learning). Max is currently Adjunct Professor in Art History and Visual Cultures at Richmond the American University in London (MA World Arts, MA Curating, and BA Non-Western Visual Cultures).
Research and Recognition
Over the years Max has been the recipient of several awards and honorary positions. He held a research residency at UC Davis, California while doing his PhD (2001-2002), and honorary research posts at Birkbeck College’s Art History Department (2010-2012), and the British Museum’s Anthropology Library and Research Centre (2006-2008). He received grants from the Royal Anthropological Institute (2004), the Esperanza Trust (2008), the Thaw Foundation (2008), and the British Academy (2012-2014). Most recently, the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia offered him a grant to conduct research on representations of the face in Native North American art (2016). Max sits on advisory and editorial boards of numerous institutions. Please consult the attached CV for details.
Max has published numerous articles, and book reviews for peer-reviewed and popular publications. He has also edited books and contributed to encylopædias and compendia about museum collections, art, and anthropology. A firm commitment to interdisciplinary work has led Max to explore in his scholarly work a variety of topics at the convergence between different fields, which have resulted in a heterogeneous, yet coherent corpus of work where anthropology fuses with visual studies, museology, and curatorship. Please refer to the relevant section and CV to see a full list of all Max’s publications. Among his latest publications, the edited book: Art, Observation and an Anthropology of Illustration (Bloomsbury, 2022), and Art, Shamanism and Animism co-edited with Robert J. Wallis (MDPI, 2022).
Curatorship, Consultancies, and Contributions
Max pursues a curatorial career as part of his sustained interest in the convergence of museums, art, and anthropology, and a complement to his teaching. His debut in this field was at the British Museum in 2002 when the Wellcome Institute in London sponsored collecting fieldwork to purchase Native American artefacts for the department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. He was then contracted by the British Museum for his first major curatorial project in 2009, that culminated in the blockbuster exhibition Warriors of the Plains, which due to its success toured the UK for four consecutive years (Manchester-Leeds-Exeter-Belfast, 2010-2014).
Max has continued his curatorial engagements on a variety of different projects with several academic and commercial bodies across the UK, Europe, and North America. Among the highlights of Max’s curatorial career: Imagi/Nations: Native American Photographs in the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Collections (London, 2012); The Common Thread: Two Native American Women Artists and their Baskets (Frankfurt, Weltkulturen Museum, 2016); Volume 0: Two Indigenous Artists respond to Ramusio (with Zuecca Projects) at the 2019 Venice Biennale. His latest curatorial project is a virtual exhibition: Imaging the Field, Sketches and Drawings from the Royal Anthropological Institute (2023).
A list of collaborations with artists balances Max’s curatorial work, among which there are projects such as Ghost Images with Chris Pappan (Missoula Art Museum, USA, 2017), and Body Disruptions with Alice Anderson (Waddington Custot, London, 2019). Contributions to exhibitions and redisplays are also part of Max’s curatorial work. Among the most salient are his contribution to the catalogue for the exhibition Kixpatla: Arte e Cosmopolitica at the Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico City, 2020-2021; a reevaluation of gender in Plains Indian arts for the Historisches Volkerkunde Museum St. Gallen (Switzerland, 2015); and further projects with the Museum Volkenkunde (Leiden, The Netherlands, 2015), the Musée du Nouveau Monde (La Rochelle, France, 2018). Max’s expertise has been called upon in form of consultancies for museum collections and objects (e.g.; Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, 2012; Hasting Museums and Galleries, 2015; American Museum, Bristol, 2017; Horniman Museum, London, 2017-2018). Additionally, he has offered expert advice to galleries, learned, and private institutions (e.g. Bonhams Auction House, 2012; Rainmaker Gallery, Bristol, 2013, 2014; Royal Academy, London 2014).