Jenny Durrant

Thesis title: Developing transparency within ethical collections disposal

Contact me


Twitter: @Durrant_Jenny


Supervisory team

Dr Janet Marstine, School of Museum Studies

Prof Janet Ulph, School of Law


My Research

My research will examine how UK museum professionals can improve transparency of practice within ethical curatorially-motivated collections disposal. It will identify the barriers to enacting communication modes for transparency within disposal practice, explore how these barriers can be addressed, and advocate opportunities for sector development.

Main research question:

  • How can UK museums develop stakeholder and public involvement within a transparent disposals practice, and why is this a necessary development?

Subsidiary questions:

  • What factors affect the choice and success of communication mode within the disposal process?
  • In what ways are institutions and practitioners working towards transparency of practice?
  • How might other museum practitioners alter their practices to enable increased communication with stakeholders and publics?  

I am grateful to the AHRC Midlands 3 Cities programme for funding my research.


I am a mid-career museum professional and have worked in the museum and archaeology sectors since first graduating from my undergraduate studies. I have varied specialisms in curatorial practice, collections management, archaeological archives, and Roman tile, and am fascinated by the way museum staff categorise objects as 'special' or 'everyday', and the professional hesitancy which hides many of these decisions from the public.

My research interests have stemmed directly from professional experience. I am studying part time by distance learning whilst continuing my role as Assistant Curator at Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter. Here I lead the museum's disposals process, plan and produce exhibitions and displays, lead externally-funded collections projects, contribute to digital engagement and enable public and academic access to collections. I work with the sector to advocate change and developing practice, through conversation and training.

Academic History

2007: MA Museum Studies (Distinction), University of Leicester

2003: BA (Hons) Archaeology (First Class), University of Exeter

Membership and awards

2016: Associate of the Museums Association (AMA)

2008-2012: Associate of the Institute for Field Archaeologists (AiFA)

I am a member of various professional bodies including the Museums Association, Society for Museum Archaeology, UK Registrars, Association of Independent Museums, and South West Federation of Museums.

Select publications and academic exhibitions

  • I am an expert peer reviewer for an international publisher and an international journal
  • I am an editor of Museological Review 


2016: 'Closing and Disposing: Museum ethics in a time of crisis', panel member, Museums Association conference

2016: Museum Skip: Object Stories, Museological Review, Vol. 20 (Leicester)

2015: 'Roman Tile', in Glastonbury Abbey: Archaeological investigations 1904-79, (Society of Antiquaries)

2013: A Case Study Analysis of the Values Based Approach and the Leventis Project, E Conservation Journal. (Co-authored with Megan O'Connor and Kirstie Williams)

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