The Fitzwilliam Museum is committed to forging partnerships with local, national, and international research networks, in line with its Research & Impact Strategy to ‘use our expertise and collections to facilitate, stimulate and encourage the research of others.’ At the heart of our mission is a desire to broaden object-led understanding of the world around us, drawing upon our diverse collections, informed by our audiences, and facilitated by our research community.
Alongside forming part of the University of Cambridge Museum consortium, we work with a number of faculties and institutions across Cambridge and beyond, on research, public engagement and other activities. This page provides a summary of the key research networks we are currently involved in. Please contact the Research Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in collaborating with the museum.
Collections-Connections-Communities (CCC) is a Strategic Research Initiative launched in 2022 to promote and develop collections-based research across the University of Cambridge collections (Museums, Libraries, Gardens and Archives). It focuses on three key research themes: Health & Wellbeing, Environment & Sustainability, and Society & Identity, and has a strong interest in participatory research practices.
Neal Spencer (Deputy Director, Collections & Research) is the co-chair of CCC, ensuring that the Museum is deeply connected to the initiative. During 2022, the Museum received CCC support for a participatory research project Making Connections Through Collections, which has since received further funding from the Research England Enhancing Research Culture fund. Other Fitzwilliam Museum projects, including Walking the Landscape, Growing Networks, and Agnes Block, embody the multidisciplinary and participatory approach to our collections research. The Black Atlantic: Power, People, Resistance exhibitions draw upon research on the history of the collections and the role of the visual in the exploitation of people and ecologies.
CVC, Cambridge Visual Culture
Cambridge Visual Culture, founded in 2019, brings together the Department of History of Art, Kettle's Yard and the Fitzwilliam Museum. CVC seeks to foster cross-disciplinary visual research within the wider University of Cambridge community, from art to film studies, anthropology to archaeology. It runs a programme of Visiting Research Fellows to bring new perspectives on visual culture to Cambridge, delivers an innovative programme of events and seminars, and will explore the future delivery of an artists-in-residence programme.
In 2022/23, the Fitzwilliam Museum sponsored CVC Visiting Research Fellow Dr Abbas Akbari (University of Kashan), whose project, titled Rethinking the Origins and Evolution of Lusterware, augmented the research of Dr Flavia Ravaioli’s Global Connections project. This same year, the Museum hosted an in-conversation event between Professor Carrie Vout and Fitzwilliam Museum Director Luke Syson, on Professor Vout’s book Exposed: the Greek and Roman Body, as well as a colloquium to correspond with the exhibition Refugee Silver: Huguenots in Britain, curated by Helen Ritchie.