Dr Nuala Morse

My main research focus is on museum work and care, as ethics and practice. Within this I have a particular interest in the role of museums as spaces of social care and in understanding the 'social work' of culture professionals

Photo of Dr Nuala Morse

Tel: +44 (0) 116 252 3975
Email: nuala.morse@leicester.ac.uk


Personal details

Lecturer in Museum Studies
Programme Director, MA/MSc Museum Studies (Distance Learning)

Room 008, School of Museum Studies, 19 University Rd, Leicester LE1 7RF


I am a social geographer and museum studies scholar and my research interests draw together human geography, museums and heritage studies, the medical humanities and organisational studies. I joined the School in September 2017 as a Lecturer in Museum Studies.

I am a member of the Research Centre for Museum and Galleries.

My research focuses on museum work and care, as ethics and practice. Within this I have a particular interest in the role of museums as spaces of social care and in understanding the 'social work' of culture professionals. A related aspect of this work explores the links between cultural and museum participation and health, well-being and recovery. My monograph The Museum as a Space of Social Care, explores these related themes. [Virtual Book Launch recording available]

Another strand of my current research is focused on theories (and imaginaries) of change in museums, in particular the role and experiences of museum professionals in enabling change. I am currently the PI on 'Change-makers in the creative economy: the role of front-line museum professionals in organisational change'. In collaboration with the Museums Association, this project explores the reach and impact of the MA’s workforce initiative for innovation and diversity: Transformers: Radical Change in Museums. Mercy McCann is the Postdoctoral Research Fellow for this project. Our recently published report Becoming a Change-Maker in Museums is part of sector-facing conversations around future workforce development and organisational change strategies for the sector

I previously held a postdoctoral position at the Unviversity of Manchester and UCL on a project investigating the health and wellbeing benefiits of taking part in museum activities for stroke rehabilitation patients, people living with dementia, and adults mental health service users, in partnership with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and Manchester Museums Partnerships.

I am also interested in:

  • The distinctive nature of professional museum work, specifically the 'social work' of the museum
  • The emotional and therapeutic role of museum spaces and objects in well-being, health and recovery
  • Organisational ethnography as method in Museum Studies
  • Theories of change in museums, in particular professionals' experiences as 'change-makers'
  • Museum geographies
  • Community engagement and participatory practice in museums, heritage and arts practice
  • Participatory pedagogy and participatory action research
  • The co-production of knowledge and exhibits
I graduated my PhD from the University of Durham in the Geography Department, on community engagement practices in museums, after completing a Masters in Cultural Heritage Management at the University of York.


I am a Managing Editor for museums and society journal, and a member of the Editorial Board for Museums & Social Issues

I have membership roles on the MARCH Network (Community Assets for Mental Health) and the Royal Geographical Society's Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group.


PhD Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD projects on any of the above topics, and I particularly welcome enquiries for projects focusing on how museums, galleries and heritage can support health and wellbeing.

My current PhD students are working on

  • Museums' creative activities and their contributions to mental health; and their contribution to children's wellbeing.
  • Cultural participation and the city
  • Representation of sexual violence against women in museums
  • Women's craft heritage in UAE
  • The role of emotions in South Korean museums

Responsibilities & Teaching

I teach across three modules for the MA in Museum Studies, Museums and Change, Engaging Audiences, and I lead the Education Specialism.

I am also the Programme Director for Museum Studies Distance Learning Programme.




Morse, N. (2020) The Museum as a Space of Social Care. Routledge. [Link to Virtual book launch recording]


Morse, N (2020) Care-ful Cultural Work and Health Inequalities. What Roles for Museums? A UK Perspective. Special issue Museums in the Pandemic: A Survey of Responses on the Current Crisis Museum Worlds, 8(1), pp.111-134. DOI:10.3167/armw.2020.080109

Thomson, L.J, Morse, N., Elsden, E and Chatterjee, H.J. (2020) Art, nature and mental health: assessing the biopsychosocial  effects of a ‘creative green prescription’ museum programme involving horticulture, artmaking and collections. Perspectives in Public Health, https://doi.org/10.1177/1757913920910443

Morse, N., Thomson, L.J. and Chatterjee, H.J., (2020). The Role of Co-production Methods in Developing an Observational Tool for Museums in Health Research for People Living With Dementia. Sage Methods paper .

Morse, N. (2018). Patterns of accountability: an organizational approach to community engagement in museums. museum and society, 16 (2), p. 171-186

Morse, N., and Chatterjee, H. (2018). Museums, health and wellbeing research: co-developing a new observational method for people with dementia in hospital contexts. Perspectives in public health, 138(3), 152-159.https://doi.org/10.1177/1757913917737588

Morse, N. and Bloore, C. (2018). How can museums work with hospitals? Museological review, 22. https://le.ac.uk/museum-studies/about/journals/museological-review

Morse, N, Lackoi, K, and Chatterjee, H. J (2016) ‘Museums learning and wellbeing’, Journal of Education in Museums, 37, p.3-13

Morse, N., and Munro, E. (2015) ‘Museums’ community engagement schemes, austerity and practices of care in two local museum services’. Social and Cultural Geography, Online First. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2015.1089583, and part of the Special Issue: Placing Care in Times of Austerity

Morse, N., Thomson, L. and Brown, Z. and Chatterjee, H.J. (2015) ‘Effects of museum outreach sessions on measures of confidence, sociability and wellbeing for mental health and addiction recovery service users’, Arts and Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice, 7 (3), p. 231-246. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17533015.2015.1061570

Morse, N., Macpherson, M. and Robinson, S. (2013) ‘Developing dialogue in youth-led exhibitions: between rhetoric, intentions and realities.’  Museum Management and Curatorship, 28 (1), p. 91-106. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09647775.2012.754632

Morse, N., with Ascroft, G., Muse, W., and Scott, E. (2013) ‘An interview with the young curators of ‘Stories of the World’, Journal of Museum Ethnography, 26, p. 32-52.  http://www.jstor.org/stable/43915836

Special Issue Journals

Morse, N., Rex, B. and Richardson S. H. (eds) (2018). Special Issue: Methodologies for Researching the Museum as Organization, museum and society, 16 (2), p. 112-123

Book Chapters

Morse, N. (2019). The Social Role of Museums: from Social Inclusion to Health and Wellbeing, Connecting Museums, Edited by O'Neill, M. and Hooper, G. London: Routledge, pp.45-68.

Morse, N. (2013) ‘Researching with(in) organisations: creating safe spaces for collaborative research’, Chapter 6, Collaborative Geographies: the politics, practicalities, and promise of working together, Historical Geography Research, 43. Edited by Craggs, R., Geoghegan, H., and Keighren, I. M., p. 41-49

Professional Reports

Morse, N. and McCann, M., 2019. Becoming a Change-Maker in Museums: experiences, opportunities and challenges-Reflections on the Museums Association’s Transformers workforce development initiative. Leicester: School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester https://dx.doi.org/10.29311/2019.03

Morse, N. (2015) ‘The art of ‘décalage’: encounters between artists, communities and place’, Research paper for the ZEPA 2 project.https://www.zepa2.eu/IMG/pdf/nuala_morse_the_art_of_decalage_en_.pdf.

Conference Proceedings

Morse, N. (2012) ‘Community engagement, museums and organisational change: using Participatory Action Research to explore staff understandings of community engagement’, The Transformative Museum Conference Proceeding, May 23-25, Roskilde University.

Book reviews

Morse, N. (2016). Museums, Equality and Social Justice, International Journal of Heritage Studies, Online First, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2016.1255911

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