Dr Jennifer Walklate

Dr Jennifer Walklate
Dr Jennifer Walklate
Dr Jennifer Walklate


Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 272757
Office Address

Room G2

School of Social Science

University of Aberdeen

Edward Wright Building

Dunbar Street


AB24 3QY


School of Social Science


I am a museologist, historian and literary theorist, studying the intersections between museums and other cultural media, including literature, drama and comics. I utilize novelistic and poetic forms and concepts to open up new ways of considering visitor experience in museum contexts, and literature as an analytical framework for understanding the construction and performance of museums. Drawing upon this study, I am looking at new ways to create more representative, inclusive, egalitarian, and intellectually open institutions.

I completed a PhD at the School of Museum Studies, Leicester, in 2013, and an MA in 2009. I have worked as a Collections Assessor, Research Assistant, Editor, and Docent, and have volunteered with the Galleries of Justice Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, and the Royal Shakespeare Company Collections. I am a member of the Museum Ethnographers Group (MEG), the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Ethnography (ICME), and work as editor for Museum & Society, and the Best in Heritage Projects of Influence Award.


Research Overview

Spatial and temporal museum design, literature, philosophy, cultural theory


My research focuses on the experience and ethics of spatial and temporal design in museums. I use the methods, theories and concepts of literature to illuminate and analyse the methods, theories and concepts of museology and museum practice. You can see me talking about one of my literary resources - comics - by clicking this link.


Current Research

Currently, I am researching the literary concept of Carnival, and how its ethical and political dimensions might be utilized in museum spaces. At present, I am exploring how temporal aspects of Carnival, such as grotesquery, billingsgate, and embodiment, relate to anthropological and ethnographic displays; how Carnivalesque aspects already appear, and how they might enhance ethical practice and theory. I have spoken about this at conferences, including Museum Temporalities: Time, History and the Ethnographic Museum, and have published articles on the subject in publications such as Museum Worlds, with my article 'Heterotopia or Carnival Site?: Rethinking the Ethnographic Museum'

I am also examining negative and ambiguous affect in museum spaces, notably notions of the grotesque, uncanny and abject. I am writing on anxiety and unease as powerful productive forces in museum spaces, and their relation to contemporary activism, within and without museums. In a recent contribution to Knell's The Contemporary Museum: Shaping Museums for the Global NowI argue that anxiety has the potential to produce a radical critique of museum practice and museology.

As a historian and 'accidental ethnographer', I also have an interest in the behind the scenes practices of museum production. In particular, I am interested in documentation, and how it can inform us about museum attitudes, staff roles and relationships, object and collection histories, and displays, past and present. Two articles from the Journal of Museum Ethnography, 'Paper Identities: Constructing the Curator in Museum Documentation' and 'Unforseen Constellations: Documentary Porosity and the Ethnographic Museum' might be of interest. I plan to work with the University of Aberdeen's collections to examine historical practices of documentation from 1850-1950 in some upcoming research.

Some of these projects arise from my AHRC Funded PhD thesis, Timescapes: The Production of Temporality in Literature and Museums. This thesis considered how temporal experience is manipulated in museums, and how this affects their performance and the people who interact with them using literary production and theory as analytical frameworks. It can be accessed via the Leicester Research Archive at http://hdl.handle.net/2381/27954. I hope to have it published as a monograph soon.


Teaching Responsibilities

I am currently supervising tutorial groups in first year anthropology, and lecturing on the Museum Studies MLitt programme. I am currently leading on the Museums in the Digital World programme, due to begin in 2020.


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  • Museums and the Power of Absence: Agrippa (A Book of the Dead)

    Walklate, J.
    Reinventing Presence: Museums and Emerging Technologies. Shehade, M., Stylianou-Lambert, T. (eds.). 1 edition. Routledge, pp. 182-195, 14 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • "Forgettings that want to be remembered": Museums and Hauntings

    Walklate, J.
    Angelaki: A Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 71-83
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Time and the Museum: Literature, Phenomenology, and the Production of Radical Temporality

    Walklate, J. A.
    Routledge, Abingdon, UK. 210 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Engaging with the dead: exploring changing human beliefs about death, mortality and the human body. Edited by Jennie Bradbury and Chris Scarre, Oxford, Oxbow, 2017, 288 pp., £55 (hardback), ISBN 978-1-7857-0663-9

    Walklate, J.
    Time and Mind, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 331-332
    Contributions to Journals: Reviews of Books, Films and Articles
  • Museums and Communities: Diversity, Dialogue and Collaboration in an Age of Migrations

    Golding, V. (ed.), Walklate, J. (ed.)
    Cambridge Scholars Press
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Anxiety: Unease in the museum

    Walklate, J.
    The Contemporary Museum: Shaping Museums for the Global Now. Knell, S. (ed.). Routledge
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Heterotopia or Carnival Site?: Rethinking the Ethnographic Museum

    Walklate, J.
    Museum Worlds, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 32-47
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Alfred Russel Wallace Notes 7: Wallace, Bates and John Plant - The Leicester Connection

    Smith, C. H., Walklate, J.
    The Linnean, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 18-24
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • The Museum in the Global Contemporary: Debating the Museum of Now, University of Leicester School of Museum Studies Fiftieth Anniversary Conference, 18-22 April 2016

    Walklate, J.
    Museum Worlds, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 205-210
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • What if this present were the world's last night?: Simultaneity and Interval in the Temporal Museum

    Walklate, J.
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Conference Proceedings
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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals