Elee Kirk

Children, Nature, Museums


Elee KirkI am a researcher and former science museum educator, based in Leicester, UK. In 2014 I completed my PhD in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, where in which I researched young children’s experiences in natural history museums. I am now building on my doctoral research, whilst also working in the University of Leicester School of Law, on a project using digital games to explore children’s understandings of the law (Law in Children’s Lives). To find out more about my current research interests and a list of publications, please take a look at my research page.

My first degree is in Human Sciences from Mansfield College, Oxford University (1999), with a dissertation focusing on the future of human cloning. My MSc is in Science, Culture and Communication, from the University of Bath (2001), during which I focused particularly on science museums, with a dissertation exploring visitors’ use of interactive exhibits at a hands-on science centre. Central to both of these degrees was the drawing of connections between science and the social sciences and humanities, and this way of working and thinking has stayed with me throughout my career and subsequent return to academia.

From 2001 I worked at Thinktank, Birmingham science museum, first in the informal learning team, and then as an education officer in the formal learning team. During this time I wrote and presented science shows and workshops for schools and families, both in the museum and on outreach. During my seven years at the museum I led sessions with over 20,000 children, which gave me an incredible insight into the range of learning and education in this country. From 2008 to 2009 I managed the education programme at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds, leading education projects, developing education resources for schools and families, and organising medically-themed events for the public.

While undertaking my PhD I carried out a number of freelance projects in museum education, evaluation and science communication. I also worked as a Research Assistant on projects between the University of Leicester and the Media Archive for Central England, focusing particularly on public engagement with re-discovered home movies. More recently I carried out a student consultation for the University of Leicester on the introduction of a new type of degree.

Over the past few years I have been on the organising committee for two conferences at the School of Museum Studies: Curiouser & Curiouser and Museum Utopias. I have also volunteered for the charity Kids in Museums, which campaigns to make museums more family friendly.

I occasionally blog about museums at Through the Museoscope.
My University of Leicester web page is here
My website of hand-drawn wildlife clipart is at Wild Brit Art.
Follow me on twitter at @eleekirk
Follow me on Academia.edu.