Laura Crossley

What do community engagement practices look like in museums in England during the current economic climate?


Research interests

I am in the fourth year of my full-time PhD. My research explores what community engagement practices in museums in England look like during the current economic climate. I am interested in finding out how and why museum professionals are practising community engagement, the factors that influence current community engagement practices, and whether community engagement practices are being embedded into the ethos of museums. My thesis will put forward a theoretical model that illustrates community engagement practices within the current economic climate. The research is informed by semi-structured interviews undertaken with museum professionals working in a variety of roles in diverse museums.

My research is funded by a scholarship from the AHRC.

Supervisor: Dr. Sheila Watson

Academic awards

2011 - MA Heritage Studies: Interpretation, Presentation and Design, Distinction, University of Salford.

2004 - BA (Hons) History, First Class Honours, Lancaster University.

Professional experience

December 2015: Visiting Lecturer, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.

December 2014: February 2015: Programme Committee Member, Moving on Up conference, Museums Association, Leicester, February 2015.

August 2014 - June 2015: PhD Student Representative and Research Week Study Visit Co-ordinator, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester.

December 2012 - present: Teaching Assistant, University of Leicester. Marking presentations and leading workshops.

October 2011 - present: Freelance Museums and Audience Development Consultant. Including projects for National Maritime Museum, Culture 24, Norfolk Museums Service, Norfolk Library and Information Service, Museums Norfolk, ASCEL, Wells Maltings, and Cambridge Museum of Technology.

October 2013 - June 2014: Editor of Museological Review, a peer reviewed journal created by PhD students of the University of Leicester School of Museum Studies.

March - November 2013: Organising committee for the University of Leicester Museum Studies PhD conference, Museum Metamorphosis. In addition, I co-curated the conference exhibition 'Museum Metamorphosis'.

February - September 2011: Temporary Museum Manager, The Mo: Sheringham Museum.

November 2009 - February 2011: Project Officer, Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART).


Crossley, L. (2015) 'Interview with Bridget McKenzie' in Museological Review Issue 19, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester.

Crossley, L. (2014). Consult non-visitors as well as visitors. Museums Journal. Available at:

Crossley, L. (2014) 'Interview with Associate Professor Christopher Barnatt' in Museological Review Issue 18, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester.

Crossley, L. (2014). The Socially Impactful Museum, Museums Journal. Available at:

Crossley, L. (2014) Book review: Attention and Value: Keys to Understanding Museum Visitors, Museums Journal. Available at:

Crossley, L and Beyls, E. (2010) Norwich and Ghent: A Shared History, Norwich: Norwich HEART. Available at:

Jensen, K. S. H, Takruri-Rizk, H and Crossley, L. (2005) Developing Female Engineers Research Report, Salford: University of Salford. Available at:

Conferences and Workshops

Crossley, L. (2015). 'Big Debate: Museum Workforce Diversity' (Chair). Museums Association conference, Birmingham, 5 November 2015.

Crossley. L. (2015). 'Feel the squeeze and do it anyway: How to be an inclusive museum in times of financial crisis'. MuseumNext conference, Indianapolis, 28 September 2015. A video of the presentation is online at:

Crossley, L. (2015). Stakeholder mapping workshop. Museums Association 'Take Your Partners: Creating Sustainable Participation' seminar, Cardiff, 16 June 2015.

Crossley, L. (2015). 'Diversity in the Museum Workforce' presentation. London Museums Group Diversity and Skills seminar, London, 20 March 2015.

Crossley, L. (2015). 'How to develop a freelance career in the museum sector' presentation. Museums Association 'Moving on Up' event for early career museum professionals, Leicester, 24 February 2015.

Crossley, L. (2014). 'Community Engagement in a Time of Financial Cuts or: How Museums Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Squeeze' conference presentation. Museums Alive! - Exploring how museums behave like living beings, Leicester, 4-5 November 2014.

Crossley, L. (2014). 'Museum Workforce Diversity' presentation. Museums Showoff, London, 2 December 2014.

Crossley, L. and Lister, C. (2014). 'Perceptions and prejudice' presentation and workshop. Museums Association conference, Cardiff, 9-10 October 2014.

Crossley, L. (2014). 'Museums for all? (Even practitioners?)' conference presentation. The Future of Museums conference, London, 3 April 2014.

Crossley, L. (2012). 'Victorian Nights' presentation. Museums Showoff, London.


2012   AHRC Research Scholarship for PhD Research, University of Leicester

2009   Best Event by a First Time Organiser - Winner, Family Learning Festival, Campaign for Learning

2004   A. H. Woolrych Essay Prize - Best Year 2 or 3 essay in History, Lancaster University

Networks and Responsibilities

2014 - present: Executive Committee Member, Norfolk Arts Forum

2013 - present: Committee Member, Reminiscence Network East

2010 - 2014: Mentor, Lancaster University Mentoring Programme

2007 - 2013: Assistant Branch Leader, Young Archaeologists' Club (Manchester and Norwich branches)

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