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Dr Theano Moussouri
Dr Theano Moussouri profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
  • Institute of Archaeology
  • Faculty of S&HS

Theano Moussouri is Associate Professor in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology.  After completing her BA in Preschool Education at the University of Athens, she pursued postgraduate studies at the Museum Studies Department, University of Leicester where she completed her PhD thesis on Family Agendas and Family Learning in Hands-On Museums. She worked for the Visitor Studies Unit of the Science Museum in London, UK on a number of large scale exhibition projects including the Wellcome Wing. Between 1999 and 2004 she was Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Museums and Gallery Education at the Museum Studies Department, University of Leicester where she was involved in developing the Generic Learning Outcomes Framework. In 2004 she founded Audience Focus with the mission to help museums and heritage organisation to facilitate enriching learning experiences for their visitors. She is currently on the Editorial Board of Visitor Studies, Museum & Society and Books Editor for Curator.

Research Summary
My research looks at how people make meaning of their visits to museums and other cultural organisations and how these fit in their socio-cultural lives. Another research path that has followed naturally from the above was the development of context appropriate and culturally sensitive qualitative research methodologies in working with children, young families and vulnerable adults, and people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds through embedding research in everyday activities.

Another research theme I have explored is the development of professional identity among exhibition developers. I was involved in the development and implementation of the Mirror project, an IST 5th Framework Programme, that developed and tested a computer-supported knowledge management system for collaborative exhibition development.

I have also been active in synthesising the evidence collected to coalesce it into frameworks for policy-makers and practitioners. Specifically, I worked with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to help develop, test and roll out a framework for measuring the educational impact of museums, libraries and archives in England. This framework is being used by the Smithsonian Institution and has been adapted and used by the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Museums and Library Services in the USA.

Since 1999, I have been involved in setting up and delivering visitor development and applied research projects that are theory-based and can benefit the field. Partners include: BM, V&A, Science Museum, National Maritime Museum, National Trust, and English Heritage.

Recent research projects include:

1. Digital museums: a pilot research project which aims to:1) explore how families interact with digital exhibits/resources2) develop innovative methodologies that can help us study the relationship between family visitors’ motivation to visit a digital exhibit and their interaction, meaning making and learning with digitally mediated exhibits. This project is funded by the IOE/UCL Strategic Partnership Fund.

2. BigPicnic engages a wide range of audiences across the EU with the topic of food security, a topic of major concern for the future and one that will have far reaching impact on personal expenditure, health and lifestyle. This is a Horizon 2020 - ‘Science with and for society’ project funded by EC.

3. Building Bridges research project: This research project examines family experiences of science in relation to the ‘Building Bridges’ project run by the Science Museum, focusing in particular on families from under-represented visitors groups in particular. 

Teaching Summary

I teach courses on museum and site communication, knowledge construction and learning, interpretation, visitor research & evaluation. I co-ordinate and supervise student-led exhibition development projects that are run collaboratively with the Geffrye Museum and the Science Museum. I contribute sessions on research methodology and also supervise PhD students. I also coordinate the MA in Museum Studies.

Academic Background
1997   Doctor of Philosophy University of Leicester
1993   Master of Arts University of Leicester
1991   ATQ10 - Overseas accreditation or qualification for any level of teaching National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
1991   Bachelor of Arts University of Athens
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