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Nuno Porto is originally from Portugal. He was trained has a social anthropologist. He did long term fieldwork in Central Portugal in the early 1990s, studying the relationships between literacy skills acquisition and gendered cultural knowledges. The coexistence of literate and oral rationalities in rural Portugal fuelled interests in visual culture and on how religious experience is mediated by visual and material culture. The universe of visual theory and material culture studies was to become the center of his subsequent work related to museums. His PhD dissertation explored the articulation of colonialism, science, and museum culture, and how these merged in the co-development of the Dundo Museum in Northeast of Angola and of its proprietor, the Diamonds Company of Angola. This dissertation received the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation award for the Social and Human Sciences Thesis and was published by the same foundation in 2009.
Between 2006 and 2012 he integrated the Commission for the Re-opening of the Dundo Museum, led by the Ministry of Culture of Angola that successfully concluded its works in 2012. During this period he also led a team that developed and implemented the website on the archival materials of the Diamonds Company of Angola held at the University of Coimbra, www.diamangdigital.net. He was also a member of the research team for the project ‘Bearing Waters’ led by Lisbon sculptor Virginia Fróis, on the renewal of traditional Cape Verdean women ceramics.
Between 1991 and 2011 he taught at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, on subjects related to theory in social anthropology, material culture, critical museology, visual culture, photography and African studies. His work has been published in four different languages in eight different countries. He coordinated the Graduate Program in Social and Cultural Anthropology between 2006 and 2011, and also taught in the Graduate Program on Design and Multimedia. He acted as director of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Coimbra between 2002 and 2006, where his team developed a series of temporary exhibitions based on the notion of ethnographic installation.
In 2013 he was Invited Professor at the Post Graduate Program in Social Memory at the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro - UNIRIO, in Brazil.
Porto currently serves as curator for Africa and Latin America at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology.