King’s College London in collaboration with Museum of London
Primary academic supervisor: Serena Iervolino
Secondary academic supervisor: Hye-Kyung Lee
Collaborative Partner lead contact: Domenico Sergi
UK museums have historically neglected large parts of British society by showing little interest in the stories and experiences of working-class people. Issues of class differences have been rarely foregrounded in museum displays and public programmes. This is despite many UK museums holding relevant social and working history collections. In a time of deep systemic crisis marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further aggravated class divisions entrenched in British society, socio-economic differences need to be urgently addressed in UK museums and academic debates. This PhD project aims to examine how socio-economic differences and working-class experiences can be meaningfully addressed in UK museums. Using the Museum of London and, more broadly, the city of London as a case study, this project will look at the analytic category “working class” through the lived experiences of low-paid Londoners. The project will implement innovative research methods (e.g. auto-ethnographic and arts based methods) to record and document the lived experiences of working-class Londoners. It will also test the use of collaborative methodologies in research practice (e.g. community conversations). Finally, the project will seek to foster sector-wide debates on the research subject through engaging museum professionals, activists and subject specialists in dissemination and engagement activities.