Dr Ceri Jones

Dr Ceri Jones Research Associate

 +44 (0) 116 252 3757




I joined the School of Museum Studies in September 2002 as a Research Assistant for RCMG to support the piloting of the Generic Learning Outcomes as part of MLA’s Inspiring Learning for All initiative. Since then my confidence, experience and skills as a researcher have grown enormously and I have taken a more active role in projects covering a range of themes and research topics including: the social role, responsibility, value and impact of museums, galleries, and other cultural organisations; the museum’s potential to engage with contemporary social issues, in particular, through collections, exhibitions and displays; learning processes and outcomes; representation, interpretation and access; and how visitors of all ages engage with the museum. As a core member of RCMG, I enjoy working as part of a research team and have been privileged to be able to work with a range of academics, researchers and professionals from the sector and beyond. The many diverse projects that RCMG are involved in continue to challenge my perspectives on the role and value of museums in society. My research practice has been helped considerably by this experience, the training provided by the University of Leicester - for example in 2009 I completed the SEDA (Staff and Educational Development Award) 'Enhancing Research Practice' award, which involved developing my expertise in a range of research processes - and by the completion of a PhD in Museum Studies in 2011. More recently (2017) I have moved to working two days a week (Mondays and Tuesdays) in a job share with Sarah Plumb.

My work varies considerably from project to project. I contribute to the planning processes of research projects, including the design of methodology and the ethical issues that may arise from research. I am experienced in undertaking fieldwork and data collection, using a range of quantitative and qualitative methods, and the analysis and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data (including the use of computer software packages such as SPSS and NVIVO). I am involved in the writing-up of research publications for a range of audiences from academics to museum practitioners, and their dissemination in the forms of published reports, book chapters and journal articles.

Through my work I have presented RCMG's research at conferences including at the National Army Museum (2013), the Visitor Studies Association annual conference in the USA (2012), Hackney Museum (2012) and the National Gallery (2010). I have experience of contributing to the planning, writing and delivering of professional development courses, for example a 2-day workshop on community engagement for National Museums Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Museum's Council (2013). I help to plan RCMG's contribution to the School's Summer School for distance learning MA students, and since 2009, helped to plan, write and deliver RCMG's 2-day Winter School for distance learning Learning and Visitor Studies MA students. This involves a mixture of presentation and activities for students, which has helped me to develop my confidence in both planning and delivering workshops. I was also involved in the development of course materials and delivery of the distance learning MA in Socially Engaged Practice.

From 2009-2017 I was Books Review editor for the independent peer reviewed on-line journal museum & society. I am interested in the role of research staff in universities, and have represented research staff in the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, University of Leicester, on The Concordat Steering Group which supports the career development of researchers in the University.

Research interests

I have always been interested in how people engage with museums, galleries and heritage sites, and the meanings they make from them. My interest started with wanting to understand how people make sense of the past in museums (I studied history as an undergraduate and completed an MA in Art and Heritage Management, both at the University of Sheffield) but working with RCMG has broadened out my interest into the wider social role and value of museums and cultural organisations. My research interests include: how people and communities of different backgrounds and experiences make sense of and engage with museums; how museums can be made more accessible and relevant for a range of people, including non-visitors and hard to reach groups; how museums can address and tackle contemporary and challenging issues; the value of learning experiences in museums; and how museum collections and historic sites can be used to further the social role of cultural organisations. I am also interested in exploring quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and how these can be best used to help us to capture evidence of the way in which individuals and groups engage with museums and heritage, as well as the wider value and impact for society.

The research undertaken for my PhD (2005-2011) explored the role that museums and historic sites might play in developing our historical understanding / historical consciousness, or how we make sense of the past. Specifically, I looked at the potential that living history performances at the Museum of London and Tower of London might have for the development of historical consciousness of young people aged 10-17 years. I am interested in exploring this area further, and exploring how museums and cultural organisations help people to think about their place in the world, and in time (past, present and future). The way in which museums can nurture and support older people to live and age well is also an emerging area of interest that is being explored in RCMG's research (Encountering the Unexpected).

Career history

Prior to joining the School of Museum Studies, I worked as an enabler (visitor assistant) at Magna Science Adventure Centre near Sheffield and as a volunteer for the Friends of the General Cemetery, a historic cemetery opened in 1836 and now a unique heritage site, and the Crucible Theatre, both in Sheffield.


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