Tiffany Jenkins is an author, academic, and columnist who for four years wrote a weekly column on social and cultural issues in the Scotsman. Her writing credits include BBC Culture, Apollo, the Independent, the Art Newspaper, the Guardian and Spectator. She was the presenter of the Radio 4 programme ‘Beauty and the Brain’, which explored what brain science can tell us about art. In December 2016 she will present for Radio 4, A Narrative History of Secrecy.
She is the author of the critically acclaimed Keeping Their Marbles: How Treasures of the Past Ended Up in Museums and Why They Should Stay There published by Oxford University Press in 2016, which she talks about here. She is also author of Contesting Human Remains in Museum Collections: The Crisis of Cultural Authority.
Her academic research explores conflicts over the value of the arts, the uses of the past, and how culture is given causal properties to ‘do stuff’: like raise self-esteem, regenerate community and contribute to the economy, even nation building, at the same time as western society is less and less clear on what culture is. She has been researching the value of the arts and advising on cultural policy with scholars and practitioners at University of Oslo, the Norwegian Theatres and Orchestras, and the National Touring Network for Performing Arts. As part of this, she contributed a comparative study of cultural education in England and Norway. Her research also examines the symbolic meanings and strategic use of human remains, and how the body becomes a locale for so many cultural, political, and ethical debates.
She was previously the director of the Arts and Society Programme at the Institute of Ideas and has been a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, Department of Law. Her first degree is in art history, her PhD in sociology. She divides her time between London and Edinburgh.