School profile: Dr Yunci Cai

I am delighted to be joining the School of Museum Studies at Leicester. Hailing from the sunny island of Singapore, I specialise in non-western museology, with a focus on Asian museology and indigenous museology. 

My interest in museology was sparked by a visit to Te Papa – National Museum of New Zealand, while on a student exchange stint in New Zealand in 2003. I was totally blown away by Te Papa’s innovative and interactive approach to museology, and the implications of their bicultural policy on museum practice, that I spent four full days wandering around the galleries of Te Papa. Returning home to Singapore, the national museums in Singapore were also undergoing massive changes, shedding their images as dusty old halls to become new centres of learning and ‘edutainment’. 

Inspired by the fascinating transformations in the museum landscapes, I came to be very interested in museology and began to seek out anything relating to museums. I have never looked back. I later spent over seven years working for the National Heritage Board of Singapore in the policy and strategic planning arena, where I was in charge of museum and collection policies for the national museums in Singapore. A few scholarships took me to London to do my MA in Museum Studies, and later, a PhD in Museum and Heritage Studies, both at University College London. Recognising that museums do not just take urban forms, I spent a full year living with the indigenous people in Malaysia to undertake research on four indigenous cultural villages for my PhD. 

Besides an obsession with museums of different kinds, I enjoy travelling and an occasional hike in the forests.

The School of Museum Studies warmly welcomes new faculty member Dr Yunci Cai.