Dr Hannah Turner


Tel: +44 (0) 116 252 5711

Email: ht162@leicester.ac.uk

I am a critical information studies and museum studies scholar, and my work investigates the connection between memory, knowledge, culture, and technology. I broadly investigate how ethnographic material culture has been produced and circulated using different recording and documentation technologies through time. In particular, I am interested in how technologies can be used ethically for better practice between museums and Indigenous communities.

My dissertation research, conducted in Information School at the University of Toronto, examined the practices of classification and categorization of the early ethnographic collections in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. This will be published as a monograph, "The Legacy of Data" (UBC Press), in which I argue that in order to understand and foreground postcolonial approaches to material culture and history, it is necessary to understand how historical epistemologies and technological infrastructures shape our understanding of the past. This media history of anthropology is key to understanding how documentation and bureaucracy silently embed certain knowledges and occlude others.

Previously, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Making Culture Lab in the School of Interactive Art and Technology at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, where I worked with museum collections and artists to explore the uses of new documentation technologies for preservation and repatriation.With the 3D digitization of museum objects, I questioned how objects are actively constructed by those who create and manipulate their digital representations, and how the practice of digitization is a negotiation between community, museum, and technological infrastructure.

From 2008-2010 I also helped build the project, The Reciprocal Research Network at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. You can find out more about me at hannahtrnr.com and on my profile at Academia.edu.

Current Research and PhD Supervision Interests

  • digital heritage and theory, as they pertain to the preservation of cultural heritage
  • theories of decolonization in museums and the public sphere
  • information practices in museums, particularly documentation
  • Indigenous/BIPOC/Feminist museum theory
  • histories of science and technology
  • digital preservation and repatriation
  • creative museum-based work


I have taught classes on the preservation of digital heritage, museum collections management practice (2015), science and technology studies (2018), and digital museology (2018).

I am also Programme Director for the Heritage and Interpretation MA, MSc and PGDip.


I have published on the politics of access and digitization (2012) in museums; on decolonizing museum documentation (2015), on the computerization of museum collections in the special issue of Museum Anthropology (Fall 2016), and on the organization of knowledge in museums (2017). I was also a research associate with the Semaphore Research Cluster at the University of Toronto, where we worked to understand children’s uses of 3D printing in Museum settings with the collaborative project “I Made This: Children’s Participatory Learning with 3D Printing” published in the journal Curator (2017).


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