Research in Translation

Can museum practice foster public engagement and greater collaboration between researchers?

Typically, research takes place within narrow, even artificial subject boundaries. Researchers use technical language and communicate their findings to other ‘experts’ in ways that are often inaccessible to the general public. However, universities are being asked more and more to demonstrate their social impact. Researchers are encouraged to work collaboratively across subjects, engage the public with their research and show how they reach their conclusions, thus “de-mystifying” the research process.

Box of Delights

Research in Translation seeks to be part of this process of change. Can museum practices provide opportunities for researchers to work collaboratively across subjects to show the relevance of their research to society? Can research be ‘translated’ and presented effectively to non-experts through exhibition displays?

Beat Language

The exhibition presents the research of 12 Early Career Researchers working across the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences in the UK, who collaborated with museologists, museum practitioners and design professionals to explore, take risks and think creatively about how to present their work to the public. As students, staff and visitors to the School explore the displays, we hope to give them a glimpse into the exciting research taking place in universities today, showing its potential to open up our understanding of the past, present and future, and change perceptions about society.

Irish women

The project and exhibition were led by Dr Ceri Jones, University of Leicester, and Dr Serena Iervolino, UCL Qatar, Doha, who were funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the Collaborative Skills Development ECR-led call (2013). Our partners were University of Leicester, UCL Qatar, Birmingham Museums and University of Birmingham.

Workshop 2b Birmingham Museum 

Thank you

We could not have successfully completed our project without help, generosity and support from the following people:

Dr Suzanne MacLeod,

Adam Jaffer and Dr Rebecca Bridgman from Birmingham Museums,

Peter Higgins, of Land Design Studio, and Stephen Greenberg, of Metaphor,


The participants:

Cynthia Johnston, University of London,

Emma Login, University of Birmingham,

Hannah Field, University of Lincoln,

Irina Marin, University of Leicester,

Janine Hatter, University of Hull,

Jennifer Thorburn, University of Newcastle,

Rosemary Shirley, Manchester Metropolitan University,

Rebecca Darley, University of London,

Sam Colling, Manchester Metropolitan University,

Sophie Salffner, University of London,

Tyr Fothergill, University of Leicester,

Elaine Farrell, Queen's University, Belfast,

Their mentors:

Dr Amy Jane Barnes, University of Leicester,

Dr Catharina Hendrick, University of Leicester,

Sarah Plumb, University of Leicester,

Pippa Sherriff, former museum professional,

Dr Jenny Walklate, independent researcher,

Dr Anna Woodham, University of Birmingham,


Bob Ahluwalia, School of Museum Studies

Cassandra Killington, Leicester Museums,

Jeni Morris and Ching-yueh Hsieh, students in Museum Studies

Lucy Peel, film-maker,

and Leicester Lo-Fi Photography.

The Lost Box

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AHRC Midlands3Cities

PhD Funding for UK/EU Students

The Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership is awarding up to 80 Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) PhD studentships to UK/EU applicants for October 2018 entry.

Funding application deadline: Monday 15 January 2018.

Find out more about M3C studentships in Museum Studies.

ESRC Midlands Graduate School

PhD Funding for social science research in Museum Studies

The Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership is awarding Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) PhD studentships to applicants for October 2018 entry. Funding application deadline: Thursday 18 January 2018.

Find out more about MGS studentships in Museum Studies.

Athena Swan Bronze