Arran Rees

Arran Rees


My research intersects with digital cultural heritage, museum and archival studies, museum collections management and the internet, social media and meme cultures. I am interested in action-focused, collaborative and autoethnographic research methodologies and exploring the use of humour in academic form.

Throughout my PhD I collaborated with the international Collecting Social Photo research project which sought to develop methods for collecting social media photography in museums and archives, and also led a strand of the project’s research on the use of AI in cataloguing. Other collaborations included an action research collecting project with the National Science and Media Museum where I worked with curators to collect a meme for the permanent collections.

I am a board member of ICOM UK (International Council of Museums, UK branch), and an active member of the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage at the University of Leeds and the Meme Studies Research Network.

My supervisory team includes Dr Robert Knifton, Dr Helen Graham and Dr Elizabeth Stainforth.

I have a BA in History from Swansea University and an MA Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. I spent the best part of a decade working in the museum sector in a range of roles including the following:

  • Collections Information and Systems Manager at the Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Collections Curator at the Cardiff Story Museum
  • Collections Manager at the Royal Mint Museum
  • Documentation Officer at Blaenau Gwent County Council

Some preliminary research outcomes include:

Research interests

My research interests include museums, digital collecting and collections management, cultural policy and procedures, social media and meme cultures, and theories of institutional change. I am interested in undertaking research using action research, autoethnography and exploring the role of humour in academic form. Other interests include:

  • contemporary collecting practices in museums and archives
  • popular culture
  • internet studies and history
  • operational practices and organisational structures
  • ethical digital practices


  • MA Museum Studies
  • BA History

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage