Research Fellow

Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear (GB)
£36,382 - £40,927 (pro rata)
12 Jan 2022
End of advertisement period
13 Feb 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

We are pleased to announce an opening for a Research Fellow position in the School of Design at Northumbria University.

This position is part of a project funded by the UK research and Innovation project (AHRC funder) titled “Designing in the Digitally Mature Museum: Refocusing Design From Technology To Human Practice” ( ).

This is an exciting opportunity to work for an innovative project at the intersection of design research and Digital Cultural Heritage to explore the contribution of Human-Centred Design in museum digital transformation.

The project aims to advance our understanding of human-centred design practices within museums that are moving toward a digitally mature condition, in which an increasing proportion of the sector is transforming, due to the tendency of museums to embed digital activity, media, and thinking within museums' practices and organisational structures, strategies and mission. Human-Centered Design promotes a creative and explorative culture and collaborative working practices, where museum professionals are called upon to actively participate in design activities in collaboration with digital specialists, design consultancies, and stakeholders (including visitors and communities). This is changing internal working practices and design activity, where knowledge is created and shared in new ways, in which new tools are introduced, and workplaces re-configured.

This position at Northumbria University would suit a highly motivated researcher interested in research on design practices. The successful applicant will work with Dr Marco Mason ( ) who will guide, support, and mentor the researcher by making his international experience in leading universities available.

Also, the project can count on a compelling set of leaders: Sector Support Organisations (Culture24; Group for Education in Museums; Kids in Museums); case studies (Derby Museums Trust and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums); academics (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, and Goteborg University). These strategically established partnerships will not only facilitate data gathering and dissemination but will also offer an invaluable opportunity to the applicant for networking and their future career ambitions. In addition, training opportunities will be offered by Northumbria University under the supervision and mentorship of Dr Mason.

The applicant will also have the opportunity (but not the obligation) to disseminate their high-quality research outputs in academic journals (under the guidance and support of Dr Mason).

This project is driven by a social science approach based on qualitative research and ethnographic observations to conduct a study in/for UK museums. It is an interdisciplinary research project at the intersection of design, digital cultural heritage and organisational studies to (Objective 1, Phase 1) overview the landscape of emerging design practices in UK museums and (Objective 2, Phase 2) understand how these emerging design practices work, towards (Objective 3, Phase 3) establishing theoretical foundations of emerging design practice in the digitally mature museum. This project considers innovation for museums, not only resulting from the adoption of cutting-edge technology, but about creative and explorative culture, and collaborative working practices that are enacted by design.

The successful applicant will be involved in Phase 2 (Objective 2) of the project to conduct ethnographic observations and field notes (of design activities), qualitative interviews (e.g. with designers and museum professionals), and document analysis (e.g. sketches and prototypes) in some UK museums (to be selected during the research process) and the new Museum of Making in Derby UK. In parallel to data gathering, the candidate will conduct qualitative data analysis.

Qualification. The applicant should have a doctorate (or equivalent level experience) in a relevant subject discipline (e.g. including, but not limited to, design, organisational studies, management and/or design management, organisational ethnography, etc.); proficiency in oral and written communication in the English language; and good collaborative skills, ability to lead independent ideas, and set objectives in a time-bound manner.

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Dr Marco Mason,

To apply for this vacancy please click 'Apply Now', and submit a covering letter, CV including research /education statements, and publications list (if applicable). Please highlight your previous (qualitative)research experience. In addition, candidates might want to provide copies of the top 2 research outputs (e.g. Conference papers / Journal / book chapter /practice-based portfolio). Where possible candidates are asked to combine all of these documents into a single file.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network,which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Please note this vacancy will close on 13/02/2022