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Ross Wilkinson, ON, BA (Ed) Hons, MA 

Learning and Engagement Manager, Durham University Library and Collections (ULC) Telephone: +44(0)191 3345159 

Email: ross.wilkinson@durham.ac.uk 

Overview   

Ross is the manager overseeing the activities, development, strategic planning and operations of the Learning and Engagement Team. The team work across all the ULC venues at the university working with schools, community groups, families, vulnerable users, lifelong learners, students and faith groups through a series of formal and informal programmes and events. The team work closely with curatorial, archives, historic and modern library colleagues to bring the collections to these audiences.  

Meet the Learning and Engagement Team

Biography 

Qualifying as primary school teacher in 2012 through the completion of an Early Primary Education BA (Hons) and QTS and MA postgraduate degree in Cultural and Heritage Management, both through Northumbria University, Ross has combined his experience as both a qualified teacher and heritage professional within the field of collections centred learning and engagement.  

Vocational application of this expertise is practiced, reviewed and reflected on as manager of the Learning and Engagement Team, utilising the vastly diverse collections of the Oriental Museum, Museum of Archaeology, Durham Castle, University Art Collections, Historic Libraries and Archives of Durham University. Collaboration and growth of the team within this vocational area is key to ensuring that best practice is achieved through a collection’s centred, and audience focussed approach.  

Ross has been involved in research projects to share this vocational expertise in the sector. For example, the Multicultural Amman: Engaging Jordan’s Youth AHRC funded project, in collaboration Durham University Archaeology Department, Jordan University, Hashemite University, Jordan Department of Antiquities and affiliated museums, Jordan Museum and the Children’s Museum Amman. Ross’ role was to establish a training programme both in Jordan and the UK, with colleagues across the Jordanian sector, to run the first professionalised programme in best practice in Museum and heritage engagement to empower museums to train each other within the sector. Not only leading to a publication of best practice, but the establishment of the Museum’s association of Jordan.  

A key aspect of Ross’ role is ensuring the activities of the Learning and Engagement Team support core Durham University strategies. Including the EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) aims, the Access and Participation Plan of Durham University and the Cultural Engagement community and civic strategic responsibilities of the university.  

Ross is heavily involved in university teaching across multiple faculties from Foundation to Postgraduate. Including facilitating taught modules, placements and supporting the delivery of academic conferences.  

Research interests 

  • Collections centred engagement with audiences 
  • Application of learning theory to museum and gallery settings
  • EDI through collections 
  • Shared practice models  
  • Early years and learning through play 
  • Widening participation through collections centred skills approach  
  • Heritage, cultural and arts engagement  

Networks 

  • Learning Arc Northeast  
  • GEM Northeast (Group for Education in Museums) 
  • Durham Museum’s Learning Network  
  • CDCEP (County Durham Cultural Education Partnership) 

Research projects 

  • Co-I for the AHRC funded (Newton Khalidi) Multicultural Amman: Engaging Jordan’s Youth  
  • Co-I for the Networks for Change TNA funding Learning Arc: Archives Engagement and Scoping Need for schools in the Northeast of england across a range of archive providers 

Publications 

  • Multicultural Amman: Engaging Young People in Museum Learning, Badran et al. (2023) Engaging Young People in Museum Learning, Amman: Department of Antiquities of Jordan 
  • Badran, A., S. Abu-Khafajah, M. E. Ronza, R. Skeates, R. Wilkinson and F. Marii. 2023. ‘Collaboration and Multivocality in Heritage and Museum Practice: Lessons from Jordan’. In Living Communities and Their Archaeologies in the Middle East, edited by R. Bonnie, M. Lorenzon and S. Thomas, pp–pp. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/ HUP-18-7