Oonagh Quigley



Dr. Sandra H. Dudley

Research interests

My thesis recognises limits of the museum setting. Objects are usually displayed in a situation that is removed from their everyday environment and explained by text interpretation which may obscure the materiality of the displayed material. I will take a continental philosophical (phenomenological) approach to looking at how people interact with objects in order to ascertain if there are ways to make objects more engaging within the limits of the museum setting.

About me

Originally from Ireland I have lived in Perth, Australia since 1996. I studied and worked in the science discipline from 2000 to 2006. Though I enjoyed research, I wanted to relate my work directly with people and in 2007, I decided to explore another field and completed a Masters in Applied Cultural Heritage Studies and have revelled in the museum field since then. My passion is developing exhibitions and public programs that invite people to engage with the past.


Certificate VI in Project Management, Australian Institute of Management (2013)

Diploma of Management, Australian Institute of Management (2012)

Master of Applied Cultural Heritage Studies, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia (2008)

My Master’s thesis  examined the manifestation of a national identity through material culture elements of décor, food and drink found in Irish pubs, through a comparison to English pubs.

Certificate in Museum Studies, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia (2009)

First Class Bachelor of Molecular Biology (Honours), University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia (2004)


Teaching Assistant and Think Tank presenter, University of Leicester, 2015 to present

I presented School of Museum Studies Think Tank sessions in February 2015 and February 2016. Think Tank sessions are two hour long PhD led sessions for Masters students. It offered me a unique opportunity to maintain a thought leadership role while creating a free space for both me and Masters students to examine a topic. I led an investigation into the idea of authenticity through photographs, to consider if authenticity is changeable and how these concepts could impact museum practice.

I also have experience as a teaching assistant for School of Museum Studies Master program practicals and lectures, and have assisted in the marking of Master student presentations (where a Masters student gives a presentation to a lecturer and a PhD student).

Museums Curator, City of Melville, Perth, Australia, August 2013-December 2014

I managed operation of two museum sites and two staff teams, supervised management and development of different collections, coordinated the design, development and implementation of public programs and of exhibitions, directed social media promotion of museums including creation of an e-newsletter and also researched, consulted with stakeholders and delivered the City of Melville Libraries and Museums Disabilities Action Plan.

Coordinator Heritage Services, City of Subiaco, Perth, Australia, March 2011-July 2013

I coordinated the design, development and implementation of public programs and of exhibitions (including an artist in residence project funded by the Western Australian Department of Culture and Arts) in the Subiaco Museum and other council owned buildings, managed and developed different collections, organised recruitment, selection, induction and training of section members and designed and delivered specialty tours with a reminiscence program for senior groups and a sensory to visitors with limited hearing and/or sight.

Assistant Curator, Fremantle Prison, Fremantle, Perth, Australia, November 2008-Feburary 2011

I assisted in the development of systems for the care, storage and documentation of the Fremantle Prison collection and the Fremantle Prison World Heritage listed site, liaised with heritage architects, archaeologists, researchers on major/capital works projects, assisted promotion and maintenance of exhibitions  and responded to queries from the general public, researchers, and staff.

Conference papers

'Objects as hinge points' at Art and Presence, an international conference held at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark (2017)

'Can a phenomenological framework be used to investigate museum engagement?' at the International Conference for Empirical Aesthetics, Vienna, Austria (2016)

'Creating a phenomenological framework to investigate museum engagement' research seminar paper, delivered at Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (2016)

‘What is an authentic photograph and does it matter?’ 1.5 hour workshop at Museums Australia (WA) conference, Fremantle, Australia (2013)

‘Creating engaging exhibitions: handling thing/object duality’ at the Sixth International Conference for the Inclusive Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark (2013)

‘so we may recall – public art reflections’ at Museums Australia (WA) conference, Mandurah, Australia (2012)

‘A pint of Irishness’ at Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand conference, Canberra, Australia (2011)

Honours and awards

Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust award (2017) financially supports students of high academic standing completing a post graduate degree.

Teaching Partnership Awards 2017 which recognised the significant impact I made to over thirty PhD students of the School of Museum Studies through the planning and running of Research Week 2016. As demonstrated by student evaluation comments, learning in a reassuring, inspiring and motivational environment was achieved by my program development.

College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Postgraduate Funding Dec 2015, May 2016, Oct 2016, Mar 2017 to assist with research trips, fieldwork and presenting at conferences

Sole curator of exhibition ‘Saving face’ that was pronounced Highly Commended in Museums and Galleries National Award 2012 (2012)

Awarded a scholarship place for ‘Sharing our Heritages: Master Class in Cultural and Natural Heritage Management’ held at World Heritage Listed site Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia (2007)


Quigley, O. (2017) 'Peace in the Woods: Taking the Museum Offsite', Curator: The Museum Journal, 60 (3), pp. 379–386.

Quigley, O. (2014) 'Hidden Treasures at the Medical Museum', Health and History, 16(1), pp. 107.

‘Advocating local memory’ article published in ‘Musing’, Museums Australia (WA), Spring edition (2012)

‘Collections at the frontier’ article published in ‘Musing’, Museums Australia (WA), Summer edition (2011)


Researcher, Things Unbound (2015 to present)

I am very excited to be part of the Things Unbound, Things Encountered project (funded by The British Academy and UK India Education Research Initiative). The project aims to investigate how museum visitors interact with objects. I am part of an international research team that has undertaken work at Ely and Market Harborough in UK and Delhi, Jaipur and Ladakh in India – where I excelled at visitor observation and interviews in the field as well as participating and presenting at workshops that examined findings from the work. I am an active contributor to the blog https://thingsunbound.wordpress.com

Coordinator, School of Museum Studies Research Week (2016)

I was solely responsible for organising the annual Museum Studies Research Week, addressing needs of over thirty PhD students (UK based and distance learners) meeting in Leicester. I liaised with practitioners, students, and university staff to offer a program that focused on giving skills to both local and distance learning PhD students; these skills are aimed at improving research management and also taking care of the wellbeing of students.

Editorial team, Museological Review (2015-2016)

Museological Review is the School of Museum Studies PhD student led journal. The editorial team reviewed all academic articles, photographs and reviews submitted from over forty applicants. We then located suitable peer reviewers to comment on the submissions and went through the editing process with the applicants. The issue can be viewed on the following link http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/PhD-Students/museological-review-1

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