Research & Teaching

Research & Teaching


Developing research projects

First steps

If you have an idea for a research project, please get in touch with the Academic Engagement and Research Lead as early as possible, so Museums and Special Collections staff can help develop this, drawing on our specialist understanding of the collections and related ethical, practical and academic issues, including matters related to costing and funding, conservation, digitisation, risk assessment, collaborative working, and public engagement or research impact elements.

Special considerations including destructive sampling

Certain research projects may involve requests for activities which will require special approval, for example destructive sampling of collections material, or particular types of work with people. Please contact the Academic Engagement and Research Lead as early as possible if you think your research project is likely to involve such activities.

  • Can anyone get in contact with ideas and questions? Yes! Individual people and groups or organisations with ideas are always welcome to get in touch, whether or not they have previous experience working with collections or other types of research project. We may not be able to help with all ideas, but we will try, and in some cases, we may be able to suggest alternative ways of working together, or alternative sources of help.
  • How long will it take to develop an idea? This will depend on the idea. Projects which involve specialist consideration of matters such as conservation, curatorial assistance, digitisation, digital research including data storage, public activities, external funding, or partnership working are likely to take several weeks to develop. Ideas for very large, complex or unusual projects may take months. Early contact with Museums and Special Collections staff will increase the likelihood that the development process will run smoothly and efficiently.
  • What sorts of role can Museums and Special Collections staff play during research projects? Museums and Special Collections staff can play many roles, from leading or co-leading, to working on specific activities, such as conservation, specialist cataloguing, or authorship. In certain circumstances, this may be provided as in-kind support, and in others, it may be externally funded, with creation of new staff roles. All forms of contribution to research projects should be fully acknowledged, as a matter of ethics and good research practice, and this is increasingly important to many relevant funding bodies.  
Propose an exhibition or public event

We support a variety of public engagement activities, from single-case student-curated exhibits to large-scale exhibitions in The Sir Duncan Rice Library Gallery, and a range of public facing events.

More information about public engagement actvities can be found on our Proposal form.

If you are interested in developing an exhibition or public event please email us to discuss possibilities.