Nicholas Thomas visited the Pacific first in 1984 to undertake research in the Marquesas Islands. He has since travelled extensively in Oceania and worked on archives and collections across Europe and north America and in the region itself. He is author or editor of over fifty influential books, including Entangled Objects (1991), Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial Culture (1999) and Islanders: the Pacific in the age of empire (2010), which was awarded the Wolfson History Prize; and several books in collaboration with contemporary Pacific artists including Mark Adams, John Pule and Lyonel Grant. He writes regularly for the Financial Times, The Art Newspaper, Apollo, and Art Asia Pacific.

‘Oceania’, which Thomas co-curated with Peter Brunt for the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris in 2018-19 was acclaimed as landmark exhibition by critics across major newspapers in Britain, France, Germany and the United States, as well as in Pacific nations themselves. Since 2006, he has been Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.