Professor Suzanne MacLeod

Professor of Museum Studies at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK

Professor of Museum Studies

Portrait MacLeod

 

              • I teach across the School’s Masters programmes
              • supervise PhD students
              • work on a variety of research projects with international partners from museums and galleries, design and academia
              • work with RCMG on a strand of research exploring inclusive cultural spaces and the ethics of interpretation 

 

I joined the School of Museum Studies in 1997 after undertaking a BA in History of Art and Architecture and an MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, both at the University of Manchester. Before that, I trained and worked as a graphic designer.

On arrival in the School in 1997, I worked as a Research Assistant on the development of what was then the new Distance Learning MA in Museum Studies before being appointed to a Lectureship in 1999. Since then, I have undertaken a number of roles in the School including Distance Learning Academic Manager, Deputy Head and, from January 2013 to July 2017, Head of School.

I have developed a series of events and publications which explore contemporary museum design, with a particular focus on design methodologies and the acknowledgement of the potential of design in creating inclusive environments which foster relationships, equality, and enable full lives.

Recent projects include:

  • HumanKind at Calke Abbey exploring the role of cultural organisations in tackling social isolation and loneliness. Ambitions in its reach, HumanKind has involved the co-production of new exhibitions and interventions at Calke as well as a whole series of actions exploring how people work together at Calke and how HumanKind might generate an increasingly inclusive, sociable and caring environment for visitors, volunteers, and staff. You can read the Stage 1 Report here.
  • Prisoners, Punishment and Torture: Developing new approaches to interpretation at the Tower of London
  • Developing IWMN, a project with Imperial War Museum North, RCMG and Duncan McCauley exploring the nature and potential of the museum’s physcial designed forms and media in generating meaningful and on-going visitor experiences.

I studied part-time with the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, whilst working the School and was awarded my PhD in 2012.

In 2015, I was appointed as a member of the University Council for three years.

Beyond the University, I am:

  • Chair of the Board of the online peer reviewed journal Museum and Society
  • an Assessor for the Australian Research Council
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

 

Teaching

With Richard Sandell, I co-teach a Module called Design for Creative Lives across all campus-based programmes. We have recently redeveloped the Module for MSFlex. The Module explores how we would shape museums and galleries if we put people first. Grounded in live research projects and a complex understanding of the direct relationships between our spatial and social worlds, the Module seeks to equip students with a socially-oriented museum imagination and to excite the museum makers and leaders of the future to share power, collaborate, research and experiment with others.

 

Supervision

I supervise PhD students working in the broad area of museum architecture and design, spatial theory and analysis, inclusive design and equality of experience, ethical interpretation and histories of space.

 

Current PhD students:

  • Towards a participatory museum architecture – Katerina Vlachaki
  • New Approaches to Exhibition Making in Archives - Peter Lester
  • The Legacy of Feminist Art History - Kate McPhail
  • Museum Master Planning: towards the spatial, strategic and narrative requirements of the museum environment – Tom Duncan
  • World Heritage Sites, collections and the 1972 Convention ‘Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage’ – Samantha Fabry
  • Rethinking the making of local museums in China - Weilun Sun
  • The Interpretation and Display of Topographic Images in Museums - Tom Eaton

 

Past PhD students:

  • The evolution of museum space at the State Historical Museum, Moscow - Anna Mikhailova
  • The design, production and use of museum architecture in Taiwan – Cy Shih
  • The use of suspense in exhibition narratives – Ariane Karbe
  • Victor D’Amico, education and the shaping of Modernism at the Museum of Modern Art, New York – Briley Rasmussen (completed)
  • Contemporary art museums and the global art market – Jennifer Jankauskas (completed)
  • The University art museum and interdisciplinary collaboration- Barbara Rothermel (completed)

 

Publications

MacLeod, S., Hale, J., Austin, T. and Ho, O. (eds.) The Future of Museum and Gallery Design (London: Routledge, 2017). In preparation.

MacLeod S., ‘An Ethical Future for Museum and Gallery Design: design as a force for good in a diverse cultural sector’, in MacLeod, S., Hale, J., Austin, T. and Ho, O. (eds.) The Future of Museum and Gallery Design (London: Routledge, 2017). In preparation.

MacLeod, S. ‘Image and Life: museum architecture, social sustainability and design for creative lives’ in S. Greub (ed.) New Museums: Intentions, Expectations, Challenges (Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2017).

Jones, P. and MacLeod, S. ‘Museum Architecture Matters’, Museum & Society, 14 (1), 2016, 207-219.

MacLeod, S., Dodd, J., and Duncan, T., ‘New museum design cultures: harnessing the potential of design and ‘design thinking’ in museums’, Museum Management and Curatorship, 2015.

MacLeod, S., Sandell, R., Dodd, J., Duncan, T., Jones, C. and Gaffikin, A., Prisoners, Punishment and Torture: Developing new approaches to interpretation at the Tower of London, RCMG/HRP, 2014.

MacLeod, S., Dodd, J. and Duncan, T., Developing IWM North, RCMG/IWM, 2014.

MacLeod, S. and Dodd, J., Establishing a Vision: New Walk Museum and the Story of Leicester, RCMG/LAMS, 2013.

MacLeod, S. Museum Architecture: A New Biography, London and New York: Routledge, 2013.

MacLeod, S., Hanks, L., and Hale, J. (eds.), Museum Making: Narratives, Architectures, Exhibitions, London and New York: Routledge, 2012.

MacLeod, S., ‘This Magical Place: the making of Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the politics of landscape, art and narrative’, in MacLeod, S., Hanks, L., and Hale, J. (eds.), Museum Making: Narratives, Architectures, Exhibitions, London and New York: Routledge, 2012, pp. 48-62.

Chang, Y. and MacLeod, S., (eds.) Building Identity: The Making of National Museums and Identity Politics, Taipei: National Museum of History, 2012.

MacLeod, S., 'Significant Lives: telling stories of museum architecture', in Hill, K. (ed.) Museums and Biographies, Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer Ltd, 2011.

MacLeod, S., 'Out of Time and Place: The recent history and curious double life of the Sultanganj Buddha', in Marshall, C. (ed.) Sculpture and the Museum, Aldershot: Ashgate/Henry Moore Institute, 2011.

MacLeod, S., 'Towards an Ethics of Museum Architecture', in Marstine J. (ed.) Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics: Redefining Ethics for the Twenty-First Century Museum, London and New York: Routledge, 2011.

Knell, S., MacLeod, S. and Watson, S. (eds.), Museum Revolutions, London: Routledge, 2007.

MacLeod, S., 'Occupying the architecture of the gallery: spatial, social and professional change at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1877-1933', in Knell, S., MacLeod, S. and Watson, S. (eds.) Museum Revolutions, London: Routledge, 2007.

MacLeod, S., 'Civil disobedience and political agitation: the art museum as a site of protest in the early twentieth century', Museum and Society, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 44-57, 2007.

MacLeod, S. (ed.), Reshaping Museum Space: architecture, design, exhibitions, London: Routledge, 2005.

MacLeod, S., 'Rethinking museum architecture: towards a site-specific history of production and use', in MacLeod, S. (ed.) Reshaping Museum Space: architecture, design, exhibitions, London: Routledge, 2005.

MacLeod, S., 'Making museum studies: training, education, research and practice', Museum Management and Curatorship, Vol. 19, No. 1., pp. 51-61, 2001.

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