ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3735-5406


Dr. Thomas Laely is a renowned scholar and associate researcher at the University of Zurich’s Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies since November 2019. Based in Switzerland, Dr. Laely has extensive expertise in museum studies, museology, heritage and culture, African studies, and political anthropology. He earned his PhD from the University of Zurich in 1995.

Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Laely has actively contributed to the academic and professional communities through his memberships in several esteemed organizations. He has been an ordinary member of the International Committee of Museums of Ethnography (ICME) under the International Council of Museums (ICOM) since 2011, a steering committee member of the Swiss Society of African Studies since 1988, and a member of the Société Suisse d’Ethnologie since 1977. Additionally, he is affiliated with the Société des Africanistes in Paris.

Dr. Laely’s scholarly contributions include numerous publications on diverse topics such as the decolonization of museum practices, provenance research, and the integration of traditional knowledge in contemporary settings. Some of his notable works include:
– “Towards mutuality in international museum cooperation: Reflections on a Swiss-Ugandan cooperative museum project” (Stedelijk Studies, 2019).
– “Restitution and beyond in contemporary museum work” (Contemporary Journal of African Studies, 2020).
– “Local Juridical Authority as Intangible Heritage Practice” (Heritage Practices in Africa, 2022).

He has also edited and authored several significant books and chapters, including “Museum Cooperation between Africa and Europe” (2018) and “The Museum of Other People: From Colonial Acquisitions to Cosmopolitan Exhibitions” (2023).

Dr. Laely’s work reflects a commitment to fostering international cooperation in museum practices and advancing the understanding of cultural heritage through both historical and contemporary lenses.