Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

School of Fine Art on Facebook @FAHACS on twitterSchool of Fine Art on Instagram

Robert Knifton

University Academic Fellow in Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage

0113 343 4257

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, Room 1.13

Office hours: By Appointment

PhD Manchester Metropolitan University 2009

Robert’s research focuses on the sensory environment of museums; digital collecting, popular culture, museums and archiving; defining heritage within shifting cultural ecologies; and the history and heritage of art education.


Robert’s work is developed through collaborative practice and research around museum and heritage sites. Before joining the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, Robert worked at the Visual and Material Culture Research Centre at Kingston University London, where he co-curated the HLF-funded project Histories in the Making, examining the history and heritage of Kingston School of Art. Previously, he was researcher on the AHRC Beyond Text project Collecting and Curating Popular Music Histories at the Institute of Popular Music, University of Liverpool, where he co-curated Mixcase: Music Memory Traces (Victoria Gallery & Museum, 2011), co-ordinated the international conference Sites of Popular Music Heritage and co-edited its publication (Routledge). Robert initially studied Politics and Modern History (Manchester), before undertaking an MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies (Manchester). In 2007 he co-curated Centre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant-Garde for Tate Liverpool, as part of an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Project with Tate and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Research Interests

  • The sensory environment of museums
  • Digital collecting and archiving
  • Popular culture, heritage and museums
  • Defining heritage
  • The history and heritage of art education


Robert teaches on the MA programmes in Art Gallery and Museum Studies and Arts Management and Heritage Studies, and Professional Practice modules for BA Fine Art.

Research Projects & Grants

Robert is PI on the AHRC follow-on funded Creative Economy project Life on the Outskirts: Making Sense of a Creative Life, working in partnership with Helen Storey Foundation to develop and disseminate best practice in the uses and engagement with small creative SME archive holdings.

He is also working to establish new research projects focused on creative residencies and fellowships within the museum and gallery sector; and on the use of sound within museum exhibitions and collections.

Research Centres & Groups

Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

I welcome applications from potential research students in the following areas:

  • Museums and heritage sites as sensory environments
  • Concepts and practices of digital collecting and archiving
  • Placing popular culture within museum and heritage contexts
  • Examining and presenting the history and history of art school pedagogies

© Copyright Leeds 2018