The ROM's Sascha Priewe is a guy with a lot on the go
By: Sheeza Sarfraz
ROM Ancient Cultures, ROM World Art and Culture, ROM Textiles and Fashions
2009 – 2015
Chinese and Korean Collections, The British Museum
2008 – 2009
The British Museum
University of Oxford
MA, Art and Archaeology,
School of Oriental and African Studies, U. of London,
The ROM welcomes Sascha Priewe in his appointment as the managing director of three of our Centres of Discovery: Ancient Cultures, World Art and Culture, and Textiles and Fashions. He made the transatlantic move to Toronto this March from London, where he was curator of the Chinese and Korean collections at the British Museum.
He began his career as a diplomat in the Foreign Office in Germany. Fluent in German, English, French, and Chinese, he has also served as the cultural attaché for Germany in Beijing, China. When asked about what got him interested in working in museums, Sascha attributes it to his interest in history as a child. “Since I was young, I have always been fascinated with ancient cultures, and with it came a fascination for the places in which they are housed. After a couple of rewarding internships in museums it seemed natural to pursue this as a career,” he says.
At the ROM, Sascha has had to hit the ground running by focusing on two major exhibitions opening at the ROM in the upcoming months. The exhibition launch of Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volcano and ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture are poised to make for, as Sascha puts it, “a very special summer in Toronto.” Fresh off the reopening of the British Museum’s renovated Korea Foundation Gallery, he is looking forward to engaging visitors in active conversations around Pompeii to understand why “Pompeii still matters today, and what archaeology can tell us about past natural and human-made disasters,” he says.
Sascha is excited about being at the ROM, calling Toronto his “second home for years.” He has also been a research associate at the Museum, and is an affiliate member of the Archaeology Centre at the University of Toronto. “My subject specialism in Chinese art and archaeology has automatically drawn me to the ROM’s incredible Chinese collections,” he says, adding that he is keen on getting to know the rest of the ROM’s collections, as well. On the future of museums, he stresses the connection between such institutions and the public: “Museums will continue to have to prove their relevance to society, especially in a financially challenging climate for the cultural sector. We need to listen much more to our visitors and communities and provide strong programs that have personal relevance for people. I think the ROM’s Centres of Discovery are a brilliant idea to create conversations between us and our audiences.”
When not managing the three centres at the ROM, he might be running along the lakeshore, hitting the rock-climbing walls around town, or visiting a local art gallery. “I wish to engage more deeply with the local cultural scene, for example the thriving contemporary art scene in Toronto as well as the fascinating history of the city,” he says. “And, this might be totally cliché, but I have been hooked on canoe camping since my first taste of that experience several years ago. So I am really keen to get back out to Algonquin or Killarney this summer.”