John Mack joined UEA in 2004, after 28 years in the British Museum during which he was head of the Museum of Mankind and specialised in researching, publishing and exhibiting the African collections. He has travelled extensively in Africa and undertaken longer-term fieldwork in eastern Africa and the islands of the western Indian Ocean. Among his many publications, his books include African Textiles (1979, with John Picton), Culture History in the southern Sudan (1981, with Peter Robertshaw), Madagascar, Island of the Ancestors (1986), Emil Torday and the Art of the Congo (1990); he also edited Africa, Arts and Cultures (2000), which was published in association with the Sainsbury African Galleries in the British Museum. His most recent publications include The Art of Small Things (2007) and The Sea: A Cultural History (2011). He was until the end of 2011 President of the British Institute in Eastern Africa for whom most recently he ran a research project in northern Kenya and remains actively involved as a member of its Governing Council. He is beginning a new project looking at the aspects of the relationship between art and death in sub-Saharan Africa.
John is the university’s Professor of World Art Studies and Chairman of the Sainsbury Institute for Art. In addition to teaching the undergraduate programmes in the School of Art History and World Art Studies at UEA , offers postgraduate teaching and supervision on Africa for the Sainsbury Research Unit.