Elee Kirk

Research Associate, School of Law


Research interests

Elee KirkI specialise in research that explores children’s perspectives, and am currently working on the project ‘Law in Children’s Lives’, in the School of Law. This project is using digital games as a way of engaging children in research, and of circumventing their desire to give ‘right’ answers to adult researchers. I have experience of bringing together qualitative and quantitative research methods in research with children.

My doctoral thesis, completed in 2014, is entitled “Crystal Teeth and Skeleton Eggs: Snapshots of young children’s experiences in a natural history museum”, and took a child-centric approach to exploring what children aged four and five years of age experience when they visit a natural history museum with their families. The research made use of the children’s digital photography as the basis for photo-elicitation interviews, and was carried out at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

More broadly, my research interests are: museum studies, visitor studies, museum learning, childhood studies, innovative research methods, children's participation, children and nature, natural history museums, science communication.

Prior to beginning a PhD I worked for eight years in the field of science museum education.


Kirk, E (2014) Crystal Teeth and Skeleton Eggs: Snapshots of young children’s experiences in a natural history museum. PhD thesis. University of Leicester.

Kirk, E. & Parry, R. (2014) The Flexible Learning Experience (FLEx) Project: Final Report. Internal report. University of Leicester.

Kirk, E (2013) Gaining Young Children's perspectives on natural history collections. Journal of Natural Science Collections 1, 38-43

Kirk, E. & Buckingham, W. (2013) Invisible Museums and Multiple Utopias, Museological Review 17, 16-26.

Kirk, E. (2012) "Speaking, Hearing and Translating One Hundred Languages in Museums", in Jelavić, Ž. (ed.), Old Questions, New Answers: Quality Criteria for Museum Education, ICOM Croatia, Zagreb, 73-80.

Kirk, E. (2012) “A school trip for Reggio Emilia: Enhancing child-led creativity in museums”, in Jacobs, R. (ed.), Creative Engagements with Children: International Perspectives and Contexts (ebook), Inter-disciplinary.net, 133-41.

Dodd, J., Jones, C., Watson, S., Golding, V. & Kirk, E. (2011) 'An Evaluation of the Their Past Your Future 2 Programme 2008-10', MLA

(Please contact me if you would like a copy of any of the publications that are not available online.)

Conferences & Awards

May 2014 - Anthropology & Photography Conference at the British Museum in London. I presented a paper entitled "Budding Photographers: Young Children's Use of Digital Cameras in a Museum".

July 2012 - I participated in the Vitae Midlands Hub Regional Poster Competition. My poster (as below), was awarded Third Prize. In addition, I received the Extra-Ordinary Prize for Poster Summary for a Non-Specialist Audience.

May 2012 - I participated in the University of Leicester Festival of Postgraduate Research. My poster, entitled "Through a Low-Down Lens: Young Children's Perspectives of a Natural History Museum", was awarded the Elsevier Peer Recommendation Prize.

March 2012 - NatSCA Conference in London. I presented a paper entitled "Gaining Young Children's Perspectives on Natural History Collections".
March 2012 - Leicester Museum Studies PhD Conference, 'Museum Utopias'. I presented a paper with Dr Will Buckingham entitled "Invisible Museums and Multiple Utopias".

October & November 2011 – I was awarded the Alison James bursary by the Visitor Studies group to carry out a research and networking trip to the USA, with a focus on museums and museum studies departments in New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington DC.

September 2011 – ICOM CECA conference in Zagreb. I presented a paper entitled “Speaking, Hearing and Translating One Hundred Languages in Museums”.

September 2011 – I received a bursary to attend the British Educational Research Association conference in London, where I presented a paper entitled “Mosaic in the Museum: The challenge of adapting the Mosaic approach to museum settings”.

July 2011 – Creative Engagements: Thinking with Children (Interdisciplinary.net) conference in Oxford. I presented a paper entitled “A school trip for Reggio Emilia: Enhancing child-led creativity in museums”.

September 2010 – I received a bursary to attend the Group for Education in Museums Conference. My reports on a number of conference papers are published in Journal of Education in Museums, issue 31.

2007 – Wow! This is Big, Playtrain Conference in Birmingham. Presentation to education and childcare professionals about the evaluation of the Healthy Bodies project at Thinktank.

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Law in Children’s Lives Contact

Lead Researcher: Dr Dawn Watkins

School of Law
University of Leicester
University Road


tel: 0116 223 1082

Blog: http://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/licl/