Research Interests

Research Interests

My research explores and advances innovations in museum ethics. In my scholarship, I argue that traditional museum ethics, as embodied by codes of practice, is a rigid approach unable to guide museums through the complex, shifting 21st-century ethical terrain. I posit that ethics undergirds all areas of museum work including how and whose cultures are valued, the balance between preservation and public access and the role of the state in these activities. I redefine museum ethics as both a discourse and a practice emerging from convergences among case studies, values/ principles and living, breathing ethics codes. At a time when budget cuts and a lack of ethical self-reflexivity have put the future of museums in the UK and around the world in jeopardy, this research introduces to museums new dynamic concepts of ethics responsive to the concerns of human rights, deliberative democracy and globalisation.

New and ongoing projects

I am currently developing a monograph, Critical Practice: Artists, museums, ethics, for the Routledge Museum Meanings series. The book interrogates the museological implications of artists’ interventions and shows how interventions can help create reconciliations between museums and their publics. As a framework for recognizing and redressing the claims of groups historically oppressed by an environment of exclusion, reconciliation has the capacity to forge new pluralistic institutions characterized by shared authority and equality of opportunity to participate.  In the monograph I appropriate this concept of reconciliation as a means to understand how artists’ interventions have redressed exclusions and inequalities in museums.

Funded Research Projects

PI, ‘Developing a Research Network to Advance Twenty-First-Century Museum Ethics in Theory and Practice’, Arts and Humanities Research Council, University of Leicester, 2011-2013

PI,  ‘The Institute of Museum Ethics: Twenty-First Century Museum Professionals Grant’, IMLS [Institute for Museum and Library Services, Washington DC], Seton Hall University, 2007-2010

Museum Consulting

National September 11 Memorial Museum, 2010-2011. On ethical issues concerning the Museum’s development of exhibitions and collections policies.

Supervised and Examined Projects
PhD Primary Supervision (selected current and past):

Laura Diaz Ramos, Feminist Curatorial Interventions in Museums and Organisational Change: Transforming the Museum from a Feminist Perspectives

Catharina Hendrick, Collecting New Media Art in Museums: New Ways of Working

Victoria Hollows, Radical Trust in the Museum: Aligning the Organisation’s Ethical Values Internally and Externally

Daniel Turetsky, Negotiating Intangible Heritage: Policy and Practice in Israeli Museums

Sipei Lu, Institutional Critique in a Chinese Museum Context

PhD External Examination

Fiona Jane Sarre, ‘Trust, Control and Translation in the New Participatory Practice’, University College London, 2011

PhD Supervision: If you are interested in studying for a research degree, here you will find themes and areas of interest where I can offer PhD supervision.


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