Collections and context

The University of Reading’s Collections are acknowledged to be an outstanding resource for public engagement, teaching and research. The expertise, skills and dedication of the staff involved is extensive. As humanities research takes a notable material turn, museum and archive collections are increasingly recognised as important laboratories for original research.

Scholarship is limited to our collections, but also encompasses our methodologies, approaches and audiences. Our interests encompass intangible cultural heritage; museology and collecting histories; creative engagement with collections; digital preservation; the role of social media; sensory objects; and the links between art and science.



Contributing to the University’s Heritage and Creativity Research Theme, this new blog explores the collection, use and re-use of antiquity over time through the lives of the men and women involved in these activities.

Making, Using and Enjoying: The Museum of the Intangible

This MERL project explored the potential of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) and creative and digital practice to improve understanding of collections. The project brought people together around things and used living experience to reveal hidden systems of knowledge.


Standing for Sensory, Technology and Art Resource Specialists, purpleSTARS involves a team of artists and technologists, both with and without learning difficulties, who are working with museums to make their collections more inclusive, using sensory and digital media.