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Name: Cesare Cuzzola

PhD: Museum Studies

Thesis Title: Artefacts and the Socially Engaged Museum: A Material Perspective


Thesis Description:

The project aims to analyse the role of collections in socially engaged practice, exploring how material culture is used in the context of museum projects that focus on contemporary social issues.

As museums move towards non-neutral and socially, politically and morally charged positions in the cultural panorama, their role is changing. Visitor-centred practices in the cultural sector have aimed to promote greater understanding, respect and empathy for difference. Exhibitions, programmes and learning activities designed to foster equality and diversity have become increasingly present. However, while many of these projects make use of objects to convey their message, research on the role of material culture in conveying such values has been scarce.

This research seeks to address this gap in knowledge and understanding by examining some of these projects from a material culture perspective, including artefacts as critical actors in the museum’s endeavours to promote messages of inclusion, tolerance and empathy.


Supervisors and Institution(s): 

  • Prof. Richard Sandell, University of Leicester
  • Prof. Sandra Dudley, University of Leicester


Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:


    • Editorial Assistant to Richard Sandell and Robert Janes, University of Leicester: Providing editing support for forthcoming edited volume Museums and Activism (2018)

    • Volunteer for Leicester Museums: Museum events, museum survey and museum outreach volunteer

    • Teaching Support at the School of Museum Studies: Academic Literacies Support Group sessions, Writing Support Drop-in sessions, Designing for Creative Lives

    • Museological Review Editor (2018-2019), Issue 23

    • PGR Student Representative (2018-19)


    • Research Assistant to Professor Laura Peers, Pitt Rivers Museum Curator (Americas): Volunteer imaging, photography and data capture project on historic collections in Pitt Rivers Museum for Indigenous community research

    • Booklisting Volunteer, Ashmolean Museum (Eastern Art Department): Creating a database for previously uncatalogued book collections owned by the Eastern Art Department


    • Research Assistant to Professor Laura Peers, Pitt Rivers Museum Curator (Americas): Building a database of Haida bentwood boxes across museums around the world, navigating online collections to locate and recover information and photographs of the boxes


    • Learning Team Intern, The Jewish Museum, London: Helping with the coordination of school workshops, facilitating object handling sessions, leading students through the museum galleries

Conference Presentations:

Academic Qualifications:

  • MSc in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology, University of Oxford (2016-2017)
  • BSc in Anthropology, University College London (2013-2016)




University email address:

Twitter: @Cesare_Cuzzola

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