Jet Bakels (Phd) is an anthropologist and works as an exhibition maker & content developer, researcher and publicist, focusing on the role and meaning of material and intangible cultural heritage. She works and has worked for various institutions and organizations such as Teylers Museum Haarlem, Wereldmuseum in Leiden (Museum of World Cultures), Artis in Amsterdam, the World Wildlife Fund, the University of Leiden and the (former) Moluccan Museum in Utrecht. Her research area includes Indonesia, Nepal, Canada, France, the Netherlands and Bonaire. The translation of complex stories into appealing and informative exhibitions, books, articles and lectures for a broader audience is her specialty. She created various exhibitions in close collaboration – in co-creation – with the communities involved.
Since April 2019, Jet Bakels has been a scientific employee at the Dutch Research Centre of Intangible Heritage (Kenniscentrum immaterieel Erfgoed, KIEN) in Arnhem, part of the Dutch Open Air Museum. The Research Center's task is to implement the 2012 UNESCO Convention in the Netherlands. It does this, among other things, by researching intangible heritage and promoting its participation and development.
In her work she focuses on two major themes: the dynamics and meaning of material and intangible heritage, and the interaction between people and nature. In a broader sense, she researches nature experience and nature conservation. She publishes on these themes for a diverse audience: both scientists and lay people, and has written various articles, catalogues and children's books (see publication list).
She advises the Himalayan Tiger Foundation on the relationship between biodiversity and cultural values in Nepal, focusing on the jungle and the tiger, which resulted in an accessible book for conservationists, NGOs, administrators and schools in Nepal in English and Nepali (The House of the Tiger: 2022). Jet Bakels was a board member of the 'Cultures' section of the Dutch Museum Association (2012-2019) and was a board member of the Dutch Royal Institute of Language and Culture in Leiden (KITLV, 2010-2014). From 2003 to 2006 she was part of the editorial board of the Museum Magazine.
She did extensive fieldwork among the Baduy of West Java (see publications). In 2000 she obtained her PhD on the role of the tiger and crocodile in Sumatra.
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