SOAS University of London

History of Art and Archaeology

Miranda Bruce-Mitford

BA (Hons) (SOAS): Southeast Asian Studies, Burmese Language & Literature and Social Anthropology; MA (SOAS): Oriental Religious Studies
  • Research


Miranda Bruce-Mitford
Miranda Bruce-Mitford
Email address:
Thesis title:
From Natural History to Wayang: The Collections and Collecting Practices of Thomas Stamford Raffles
Year of Study:
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I took both my degrees at SOAS,. For the MA in Oriental Religious Studies I took modules in Buddhist Art & Architecture of South and Southeast Asia, The Hindu Temple, and Chinese Philosophy. My MA dissertation was on fabulous beasts in Southeast Asian art. As a lecturer I cover various aspects of Southeast Asian art and ethnography.

Formerly tutor, now Course Convenor for Southeast Asia, SOAS Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Arts Have taught SOAS,MA students, lectured at the British Museum, Sothebys, the Victoria & Albert Museum

PhD Research

My thesis examines the large collection of artefacts and natural history specimens acquired by Stamford Raffles in Malaya, Java,and Sumatra in the early nineteenth century. It discusses his motives for collecting and his intentions for the collection; It looks at the way in which items, now scattered across various museums, have been stored and curated. My particular interest is in the puppets, wooden figurines and sculpture in the collection; however the main purpose of the thesis is to draw together the collection as a whole and to see the way in which it served both Raffles' scholarly and political aims. The research involves fieldwork in the UK, Singapore and Indonesia


  • July 2015. Collections in Use. .King's College London Feb. 2016. Museological Mediums and Cannibalistic Methods. St Martins College of Art, London
  • June 2015. Paper on PhD research at Southeast Asia Update. International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague
  • October 2014. Science, Voyaging, Art and Empire, Royal Museum, Greenwich


  • Fellow, Royal Asiatic Society


  • Southeast Asian Art
  • History and culture
  • The Raffles Collection
  • Performance art
  • Colonial collecting
  • Burma