Since my father was in the Royal Air Force, I spent some of my childhood outside the UK but I completed my education at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. I then took a year out and taught English in a school for Tibetan refugees in India. On my return to England I went to the University of Cambridge for my BA and to the School of Oriental and African Studies (London University) for my MA and PhD. My first teaching post was in the School of World Art Studies at the University of East Anglia. I came to Oxford in 1998 and joined Magdalen College in 2002.
At Magdalen I am the course director for the undergraduate degree in Archaeology and Anthropology and I teach all the core papers in anthropology within it. I also give tutorials for the anthropology papers in the Human Sciences degree. I give lectures for all students taking the Archaeology and Anthropology degree and have supervised undergraduate dissertations in anthropology, human sciences, history and the history of art. At postgraduate level I mainly teach on the Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology degrees. I also run a specialist course on the anthropology of art and I supervise doctoral students.
My research and writing focuses on contemporary art, photography in colonial and post-colonial contexts, monuments and memory construction, histories of museums and collecting, and the politics of representation with particular reference to Tibet, the Himalayas and the Tibetan diaspora. These interests are reflected in my professional roles within the University of Oxford. I am Professor in Visual Anthropology in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. I am also the Curator for Asian Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum.