Alaka Wali, PhD: Curator of North American Anthropology, Negaunee Integrated Research Center

Alaka Wali is curator of North American Anthropology in the Science and Education Division of the Field Museum. She was the founding director of the Center for Cultural Understanding and Change from 1995-2010. During that time, Alaka pioneered the development of participatory social science research and community engagement processes based in museum science. She curates the North American collection, one of the Museum’s largest regional anthropology holdings. Since 2000, Alaka has worked closely with ecologists and museum educators to develop innovative community engagement strategies for people living in and around biodiverse regions of the Western Amazon and urban Chicago. These efforts are now centered in the Keller Science Action Center at the Field Museum. Her research focuses on the relationship between art and the capacity for social resilience. Alaka has authored several books and monographs, published over 50 articles, has curated numerous exhibitions and is currently leading the curation of the renovation of the North American Anthropology Hall, expected to open in May 2022.