Dr Giasemi Vavoula

Associate Professor in Museum Studies, Director of Research

School/Department: Museum Studies, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3966



I have a PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering (University of Birmingham), MSc in Human-Centred Computer Systems (University of Sussex), BSc Hons in Computer Science (University of Crete, Greece). Prior to Leicester I held Research Fellowships at the University of Birmingham and the UK Open University working on research and commissioned evaluation projects in the area of mobile and technology-enhanced learning. I joined the School of Museum Studies as RCUK Academic Fellow in 2007 and was then appointed Lecturer in 2012 and promoted to Associate Professor in 2017. I am Director of Research and deputy REF Lead and was previously Director of Postgraduate Research (2015-2018). I teach on campus-based and distance learning Masters programmes and supervise PhD and post-doctoral researchers. I am associate editor of the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning and act as reviewer for several academic journals and conferences in the areas of technology-enhanced learning and museum studies. I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College and have reviewed for several research councils internationally including the European Research Council and Horizon2020 MSCA. 


I have researched and published widely in Technology-Enhanced Learning particularly mobile learning research and evaluation. My current research interests focus on the role of digital technology in fostering and sustaining learning and engagement with culture and heritage. I am particularly interested in understanding new forms of engagement enabled by digital technologies and the issues that surround their design and sustainability, as well as the ways in which digital is transforming our experiences of heritage and culture. Emerging interests also include creative forms of learning and teaching with digital heritage collections and archives. I currently lead an ESRC Collaborative Doctoral award with the Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology that aims to contribute to debates on the educational potential of digital heritage collections. I have recently completed a collaboration with the National Space Centre and MSCA Fellow Stamatina Anastopoulou on the ScienceMINQ project which sought to develop Rapid Inquiry pedagogical frameworks for science centres and science museums. I have previously held awards from AHRC, EU Horizon 2020, EU FP7, Nesta and HLF.


Vavoula, G., Anastopoulou, S., Cantlow, G. (2021): School Visits Post-lockdown II: The Role of Digital. A Follow-on Survey Report. University of Leicester. Report.

Cui, M., Vavoula, G. (2021). Digital platforms as facilitators of dialogic co-creation of displaced object biographies. Journal of Cultural Management and Cultural Policy special issue "Digital Arts and Culture: Transformation or Transgression?", 2021(1).

Mason, M., Vavoula, G. (2021). Digital Cultural Heritage Design Practice: A Conceptual Framework. The Design Journal, 1-27. 

Vavoula, G., Anastopoulou, S. (2020). School visits post-lockdown: The role of digital. University of Leicester. Report.

Vavoula, G., Mason, M. (2017). Digital Exhibition Design: Boundary Crossing, Intermediary Design Deliverables, and Processes of Consent. Museum Management & Curatorship, 32(3), 252-271. 

Sharples, M., Taylor, J., Vavoula, G. (2016) (2nd edition). A theory of learning for the mobile age. In Haythornthwaite, C., Andrews, R., Fransman, J., and Meyers, E. (eds) The SAGE Handbook of E-learning Research. SAGE.

Vavoula, G., Coleman, S., Rhys, J. (2015). Leicester Castle tells its story: visitor engagement with historic buildings through beacon-based mobile interpretation. London: Nesta.

Kukulska-Hulme, A., Sharples, M., Milrad, M., Arnedillo-Sánchez, I., & Vavoula, G. (2011). The Genesis and Development of Mobile Learning in Europe. In D. Parsons (Ed.), Combining E-Learning and M-Learning: New Applications of Blended Educational Resources (pp. 151-177). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-481-3.ch010

Vavoula, G., Sharples, M. (2009). Meeting the Challenges in Evaluating Mobile Learning: A 3-level Evaluation Framework. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 1(2), pp. 54-75. 

Vavoula, G., Sharples, M., Rudman, P., Meek, J., and Lonsdale, P. (2009). Myartspace: Design and evaluation of support for learning with multimedia phones between classrooms and museums. Computers & Education, 53(2), pp. 286-299. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.02.007

Vavoula, G.N., and Sharples, M. (2007). Future Technology Workshop: a collaborative method for the design of new learning technologies and activities. International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, 2(4), pp. 393-419. 


I have supervised projects on mobile family learning in science museums non-formal adult museum learning digital storytelling on school museum visits and the interpretive synergies between science and intangible cultural heritage. My current PhD students research: how use of the Smithsonian Learning Lab impacts teaching practices (Cantlow); intercultural dialogue through the co-creation of digital biographies of displaced objects (Cui); the role of social media interactions in shaping visitor engagement (Jiang); blended school museum visits in Singapore (Liao); stakeholder-informed criteria for the evaluation of museum technology for school groups (Lin); motion capturing intangible cultural heritage (Morris); co-design with young people in science museums (Skåtun); archaeological research in the digital and collaborative economy (Wilkins); and visitor-centred design of museum games (Yang).

I welcome inquiries from applicants interested in related areas (however I cannot admit new students until 2023). I am also keen to mentor/support excellent postdoctoral fellowship candidates in these areas (I have previously supported the preparation of and supervised three EU MSCA Fellowships).


I have been teaching on the School’s campus-based MA in Museum Studies on topics related to human-centred design methods interdisciplinary collaboration evaluation and digital learning. I also supervise Masters dissertations and contribute to the Distance Learning MA in Socially-Engaged Practice and MA in Museum Studies.

Press and media

The role of digital technology in fostering and sustaining learning and engagement with culture and heritage; the digital transformation of the museum experience; processes and methods in digital cultural heritage design.
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