A graduate of the University of Oxford, where in 1987 she obtained a doctorate in social anthropology under the supervision of the outstanding British anthropologist Edwin Ardener. She was the first British professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Sheffield. Since 2012, she has been an honorary professor at the University of York, and since 2015 she has been associated with the Humboldt University in Berlin: first as a winner of the most important German scientific award (Alexander von Humboldt-Professur), and now as director of the Center for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH ). Macdonald is one of the most prominent researchers of issues related to the cultural heritage of Europe, especially European identity and memory, troubled heritage and contemporary museology. Her most famous publications are: Reimagining Culture. Histories, Identities and the Gaelic Renaissance (1997), The Politics of Display. Museums, Science, Culture (1998), Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum (2002), A Companion to Museum Studies (2006), Difficult Heritage (2009), Refugees Welcome? Difference and Diversity in a Changing Germany (2019). She has also managed numerous international research projects, including Making Differences. Transforming Museums and Heritage in the 21st Century, Heritage Futures and TRACES. Transmitting Contentious Cultural Heritages with the Arts. She is currently working on a monograph devoted to the Humboldt Forum.