University Research Fellow in Tangible and Intangible Heritage, Director, Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage
Old Mining 105
Office hours: By appointment
BA, MA and PhD University of York
Helen’s current research explores questions of democracy and publicness through the technical, practical and ethical sites of co-production of knowledge and exhibits, of intellectual access to museums for people with learning difficulties and of copyright and informed consent.
Helen’s research and teaching interests directly flow from practical experience working in learning and access teams in museums and coordinating community heritage projects concerned with the co-production of knowledge, archives and exhibits. Before joining the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, Helen worked at the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University on ‘Art on Tyneside’, an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research project which worked with people from across the North East to develop media exploring place, art and identity for a new permanent display, ‘Northern Spirit: 300 Years of Art at the North East’ (Laing Art Gallery 2010-ongoing). Helen recently held a Museum Practice Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution (2010-2011), where she used participatory research methods to explore intellectual access to museums.
Helen is currently working on a number of research projects.
‘How should decisions about heritage be made?’ is an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded ‘Co-Design Development Grant’, part of the Connected Communities programme. Between February and May 2013 a team of people from museums, other heritage organisations and local groups, funders and academics/researchers will work together to design a research project they will carry out over the following year. For more information see our project blog.
Ways of Knowing is an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded follow up project also linked to the Connected Communities programme. A team of us will use a range of different ‘collaborative methods’ (storytelling, visual diagramming, Socratic dialogue) to explore the different ‘ways of knowing’ which emerge from collaborative, participatory or action research. For more information see our project blog.
StoryStorm will explore how storytelling contributes towards the questions of digital literacies, expertise and heritage being explored as part of the EPSRC-funded Culture and Communities Network+.
Helen teaches on the MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies and supervises dissertations at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Research Projects & Grants
Tackling Ethical Issues in Community-Based Research: A Practical Resource (February-September 2012) led by Professor Sarah Banks (Durham) with Andrea Armstrong (Durham), Niamh Moore (Manchester) and Nigel Nayling (Lampeter, Wales). Project partners: Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, Thrive, Lik:t. Glasgow Life/Glasgow Museums, the Friends of Newport Ship and Over the Waves as community partners and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (Arts and Humanities Research Council)
Intellectual Property and Informed Consent: Partnership and Participation, International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University, February 2011-February 2012, with Rhiannon Mason, Newcastle University and Nigel Nayling, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David (Arts and Humanities Research Council).
All Access Digital Art Camp, Smithsonian Centre for Education and Museum Studies and Smithsonian Accessibility Program, August 2011 (Smithsonian Institution).
Museums for Us: Exploring Museums with People with Intellectual Disabilities, Smithsonian Centre for Education and Museum Studies and Smithsonian Accessibility Program, November 2010-January 2011 (Museum Practice Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution).
Art on Tyneside: Place, Art, Identity, International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University, November 2008-February 2011), with Rhiannon Mason and Chris Whitehead (Arts and Humanities Research Council).
History of Day Centres, The Open University, August 2006-October 2008, with Dorothy Atkinson (Heritage Lottery fund).