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Museums and Migration

  • School: School of Arts and Humanities
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022 / 2023
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


This PhD is open to candidates looking to explore the global phenomenon of migration and how museums can effectively respond to it in terms of their exhibitions, collections and public programmes. In claiming to be agents of social change (e.g. ‘Museums Change Lives’, Museums Association), museums need to work closely with changing local populations and communities. Recognising changing audiences and their different connections to migration, is also essential to the survival and sustainability of museums. Developing long-term strategies for engagement with underrepresented communities is key to fostering wider social cohesion and belonging. We invite candidates looking to develop cross-disciplinary methods to explore the role of museums in interpreting longer histories and geographies of migration (forced and voluntary) as well as the potential of museums to act as spaces of hospitality and care for migrant and refuge communities. We are also interested in projects aimed at exploring the challenges faced by museums located in areas impacted by mass migration and/or increased threats posed by rapid climate change. Potential topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Interpretive strategies for narrating stories of forced migration
  • Re-imagining museums as spaces of radical hospitality
  • Articulating memories of home
  • Digital migration of exhibitions, collections and objects
  • Object mobilities – storage and transit
  • Impact of public programmes in supporting migrant/refugee communities
  • Museums and the Anthropocene
  • Restitution of objects and other decolonial practices
  • Developing alternative approaches to knowledge production and dissemination
  • Identifying and mitigating future challenges of climate migration and the impact on communities and their museum collections

The project will benefit from a cross-disciplinary supervisory team with experience in researching questions around migration and its cultural heritage, refugee experiences, collective well-being, memory and place. Methodological approaches might include questionnaires, surveys, interviews, ethnography and visitor observation, discourse and visual analysis, mapping, archival research. The candidate will identify museums with which to explore and develop their project - museums can be located in the United Kingdom, globally or exist as virtual spaces.

Supervisory team

Dr Sophie Fuggle
Dr Olga Bailey
Prof Steve Brown

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, please visit our how to apply page.

How to apply

We are looking for motivated, engaged individuals to join our doctoral community. If you are interested in applying for one of the proposed Studentship projects, visit the "how to apply" page to access our application portal: please note, you will need to use the ‘NTU Doctoral Application 21/22’ form.

As you are applying for a project, your application should clearly outline which of the projects advertised you wish to apply in Summary of Proposed Research Topic. In Research Proposal and Personal Statement, please give up to 1,500 word statement of why you are interested in the project you are applying for and how you would engage with the research proposed. Think about the outline and research aims for the project and how you would approach them, as well as showing your understanding of the field and how the project will contribute to or challenge existing research. Your statement should focus on the framework of the project, to give the panel a clear idea of your understanding of the research project/topic. You will also need to include a bibliography or reference list for any work you cite.

Your skills, experience, motivation for pursuing doctoral study, and interest in the field should be included as part of your 500 word Previous Experience and Personal Statement.

Please note that only applications to the advertised projects will be accepted as part of this funding call; do not use your application to propose your own research project.

The application deadline is Friday 18 February 2022.

View all the projects available in the Cultural Heritage Research Peak Studentship Scheme.

Fees and funding

This project is fully-funded by the Cultural Heritage Research Peak Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Please see our application guide for prospective candidates. You can also find a step-by-step guide and make an application on our how to apply page.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418