Gumring Hkangda

Conflicted Objects: histories of Violence, Trauma and Loss entangled in Kachin material culture from northern Burma/Myanma (1960 – Present)


The primary objective of this interdisciplinary research project is to analyse paradigms of understanding Kachin cultural objects from Burma/Myanmar by exploring the value of objects as historical evidence and as repositories of personal and collective histories. Using critical and comparative methods this research aims to bring new perspectives on indigenous museologies and material culture from a turbulent political context.


Gumring has worked on cultural research projects on behalf of Royal Pavilion and Museums (RPM), Brighton and Hove, which has extensive Kachin collections. At RPM, he particularly worked with the World Art department of Brighton Museum caring for collections of ethnographic materials including textile items, personal accessories, and historical photographs. He completed an MA and MSc in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Sussex. Having first-hand knowledge of the importance of identity of minority people and preservation of cultural heritage, and he has a commitment to pursuing further explorations in the areas where he have personal interest, in addition to professional knowledge pertinent to his research and future career.  


Publications and other outputs

Book chapters and journal articles

  • Hkangda, G. 2018 'Symbolic Weapons: Kachin Swords and their Meanings' in Crowley, T. and Mills, A., eds. Weapons, Culture and the Anthropology Museum, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Hkangda, G. 2014. 'The Museum and Ethnic Struggles' in SEALG Newsletter Online, 2014.

Online blog posts


  • 'The Poetics and Politics of Collecting and Displaying Kachin Culture' – co-presented at the symposium, ‘Politics of Collecting Asia: 1800 – present’, SOAS, University of London in April 2018.
  • 'Museum Objects and Indigenous Knowledge: Methodological and Epistemological Perspectives in the Case of Researching the Mainland Southeast Asia Ethnographic Materials', presented at South East Hub Conference, University of Kent in June 2016.
  • 'Kachin Weaponry' - presented at the conference, ‘Weapons and the Anthropology Museum’, Horniman Museum in February 2015.
  • 'The Museum and Ethnic Struggles' - presented at the ASEASUK conference 2014, University of Brighton in September 2014.
  • 'The Development of Kachin nationalist identities in Diaspora Community' – presented at the seminar, ‘Ceasefire Reflections on Community, Politics and Social Change in the Kachin Region of Burma (Myanmar), 1994 to the present’, SOAS, University of London in October 2013.
  • 'Kachin and Festivity' – presented at museum event, ‘The Kachin Day of Solidarity and Celebration’, Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove in September 2013.