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Name: Tom Duncan

PhD: Museum Studies

Thesis Title: Museum Master Planning: towards the spatial, strategic and narrative requirements of the museum environment.

Thesis Description: The research explores the role of master planning in the making of museums and heritage sites over the last two hundred years and analyses its current status and potential use. Through the use of theory and an analysis of recent case studies, the research will develop a strategy and methodology for the design phase of master planning, which takes full account of the spatial, strategic and narrative requirements of the museum environment.

Supervisors and Institution(s): Dr Suzanne MacLeod, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester; Dr Jonathan Hale, Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Nottingham.



  • "Beyond the Museum A comparative study of narrative structures in films and museum design" in Suzanne MacLeod, Tricia Austin, Jonathan Hale and Oscar Ho Hing-Kay (eds.): The Future of Museum and Gallery Design: Purpose, Process, Perception 2018 Routledge, pp. 239 - 253
  • “Participative Design Processes for Museums” in Yuha Jung, Ann Rowson Love (eds.): Systems Thinking in Museums: Theory and Practice 2017 Rowman & Littlefield, pp 205 - 215
  • "New museum design cultures: harnessing the potential of design and ‘design thinking’ in museums" with Suzanne MacLeod and Jocelyn Dodd 

    Journal: RMMC Museum Management and Curatorship, 2015 Taylor and Francis

  • “A narrative journey: creating storytelling environments with architecture and digital media” (with Noel McCauley), in: Suzanne MacLeod, Laura Hourston Hanks & Jonathan Hale (eds.): Museum Making. Narratives, Architectures, Exhibitions, 2012 Routledge, pp. 288–297. 

  • “Architektur, Ausstellungs- und Medien-gestaltung für Museen und kulturelle Einrichtungen” (with Noel McCauley),in: Herbert Grüner & Elmar D. Konrad (eds.): Management für Kreativunternehmen, 2012 Kohlhammer, pp. 179–188. 

  • “Staging Emotional Environments” (with Noel McCauley), in: Gerhard Kilger (ed.): Szenografie in Ausstellungen und Museen V: Raum und Wahrnehmung/Bewegte Räume, 2011 Klartext, pp. 308–315.


Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

year: 2019

year: 2018

  • 27.11.2018 The Future of Museum and Gallery Design book launch, Central Saint Martins, London. Chapter Presentation
  • 15.10.2018 Experience Makers Innovate Academy, Central Saint Martins, London. Key note speaker. Spatial Narratives for Experiential Spaces.
  • 25.06 - 01.07.2018 Attended the workshop ‘Rome: changing physical and ideological landscapes of the eternal city’ at the British School at Rome. Funded by M3C Student Development Fund.  

year: 2017

  • 15-17 September,  Manchester Museum, UK, International Conference. The Inclusive Museum. Presentation, “Participative Design Processes for Museums”  as part of a podium presentation by some of the authors of the book Systems Thinking in Museums: Theory and Practice, Yuha Jung, Ann Rowson Love (eds.)

  • 12-13 July University of Nottingham, Department of Architecture and the Build Environment. PhD Summer School, The Culture of Tectonics: from object to experience. Paper presentation:  Beyond The Museum: a comparative study of narrative structures in films and museum design
  • 11-12 May Technical University Berlin, International Conference. Rethinking Museums Politically: Berlin's Altes Museum, Museum Island and the (reconstructed) City Palace. Paper presentation, Exhibiting the Museum. Presenting the History of Berlin's Museum Island,
  • 9-12 April Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. Communication and Cognition in Museums. Paper presentation, Creative Methods for Designing Museum Visitor Experiences. Funded by M3C SDF.

year: 2016

  • 22. October National University of Education. Taipei University art Museum.  Workshop lead: Structuring the Visitor Experience: towards a visitor orientated museum plan, together with Suzanne MacLeod and Cy Shih
  • 21 October, International Forum on Designing for Visitor Engagement in Museums. Taipei. Lecture. Masterplanning Masterpieces and Curating the Visitor Experience
  • 08 October, Sokolniki Park Museum. Workshop Structuring the Visitor Experience: towards a visitor orientated museum masterplan at Sokolniki Park museum
  • 07. October, State Historical museum, Moscow, Conference: Trends for Cultural Institutions in Russia. Presentation of museum and exhibition design projects.
  • 04 October, Manege, Central Exhibition Hall, St. Petersburg, Lecture, Designing the Museum Visitor Experience
  • 20-22 April, Museum Studies at Leicester 50th Anniversary Conference The Museum in the Global Contemporary: Debating the Museum of Now, Workshop: Transforming the physical museum: organisational values, design research and the possibility of new museum design cultures. Together with Jocelyn Dodd, Suzanne MacLeod and Graham Baxter.
  • 14 January, Lecture as part of a programme of events for Museums Exhibiting Europe (EMEE) in the Schaezler Palace, Augsburg Germany

year: 2015

  • 13-15 November, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, International conference. The Future of Museum and Gallery Design. Paper presentation, Planning the Narrative. Also workshop lead, Masterplanning Strategies. Funded by M3C SDF.
  • 13-15 January, Meiji University, Tokyo, Paper Presentation: Structuring the Visitor Experience at Museum 2015 Tokyo, The Agile Museum: Building Institutions for Continual Change. Funded by M3C RTSG.

year: 2014


Other Research Projects:

year: 2017

  • Research Project/Design Project: Calke Abbey, Isolation and Loneliness. Working together with Research Centre for Museums and Galleries at the University of Leicester to discover the interpretive possibilities of the feelings of loneliness and isolation to develop innovative directions for the design of the visitor experience at the enchanting National Trust property of Calke Abbey. Project duration: October 2017- March 2018.

  • Research Project: The Cinematic Musée Imaginaire of Spatial Cultural Differences [CineMuseSpace]. Researcher with RCMG and design consultant for Duncan McCauley. The project works towards new understandings of spatial cultural differences through the study of the representation of space in film both from the Western 'naturalism' perspective [Europe/USA] and that of Eastern 'analogism' tradition [China/Japan], after Descola's ontologies. CineMuseSpace is collaborative project led by Professor Francois Penz, University of Cambridge with Dr Suzanne MacLeod, RCMG and Professor Andong Lu, Urbanism and Architectural Theory, University of Nanjing. Project duration: September 2017- September 2019.

year: 2014


year: 2019

  • March 2019 New York University Berlin – Lecture and workshop, Exhibition Design - Politics, Learning and Entertainment
  • January 2019, Museum and Gallery Practice MA, Museum Studies, University College London - Qatar, Dohar, Visiting lecturer. Exhibition design seminar, Lecture and design workshop

year: 2018

  • November 2018 - April 2019 Technical University Berlin, Szenischer Raum – Studio supervisor, Exhibition Design
  • November 2018 New York University Berlin – Lecture and workshop, Designing the Visitor Experience
  • February 2018, University College London - Qatar, Dohar, Visiting lecturer. Lecture and design workshop
  • January / Februar 2018 University of Leicester, School of Museum Studies.  Designer in Residence; Studio tutor for the module 'Prototyping the Museum'; two weeks of workshops, lectures and studio tutorials. 

year: 2017

  • November 2017 New York University Berlin – Lecture and workshop, Designing the Visitor Experience

  • March 2017 New York University Berlin – Lecture and workshop, Designing the Visitor Experience
  • Februar 2017, University College London - Qatar, Dohar, Visiting lecturer Lecture and design workshop
  • Januar 2017 University of Leicester, Museums Studies Department, United Kingdom. Visiting lecturer. Lecture, Exhibition Design.


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