Dr Helen Graham


My research lies at the intersection of political theory and participative and action-led forms of research. With museums, heritage and place as a focus, I investigate political dynamics of property, rights and claims; of democracy; of agency and affinity. I do this through participative and action-led research methods, experimenting with how small-scale participatory work can be combined with large scale whole system action. These interests and approaches cohered as a result of work conducted as part of the co-designed AHRC Connected Communities project, How should heritage decisions be made? project (2013–2015).

Since then I have embarked on two strands of research. The first in York in collaboration with architect Phil Bixby is a staging of large scale participatory public engagement process (My Future York / My Castle Gateway / My York Central) in key areas of urban regeneration and city-level development. The approaches developed through these projects have combined the personal through narrative, story-telling and imaginative methods to enable personal articulation (hence the 'my' in the project titles) with developing a new form of public sphere via inquiry-led forms of debate and discussion and an approach to change that actively works across scale from large scale institutional/government-led infrastructures and investment to tactical experiments and community-led action.

The second is via Bradford's National Museum: Connecting Bradford and the National Science and Media Museum where worked with the museum staff, other researchers and a number of project partners to explore connections between the museum and Bradford. This led work with Arran Rees to co-facilitating the action research strand of Congruence Engine (2020–2023) one of five UKRI Towards a National Collection projects.


  • Research Ethics Lead
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I teach on the MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies, MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies and MA Curating Science.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>