Niki Ferraro

PhD student

School/Department: Museum Studies, Department of



Research Profile:

The impetus for my research is the unique nature of art and its institutions in relation to imperialism. Much work has been produced on the topic of empire and human science museums, however, far less analysis is available on art museums as a specific form. My project is a response to this knowledge gap and it contributes a specialised understanding of the connection between art museums and imperialism. Specifically, my research explores the relationship between British imperialism and the National Gallery (London). I am interested in the ways in which the British Empire has informed the practices of the Gallery, such as acquisition, display, and interpretation. The project is concerned with the National Gallery’s links to imperial wealth, governments, individuals, and ideologies. My research also asks how the distinctive nature of art, historically and currently shaped by imperialism and colonialism, comes into play in the relationship between the British Empire and the National Gallery? 


Through an archival and qualitative approach, my project generates a foundational understanding around the triangular relationship between art, empire, and art galleries. It is my hope that this contribution of knowledge will be utilised in future work within academia and museum practice. 




Ferraro, Niki. “In Conversation with Alice Procter: Museums, Decolonisation and Healing.” Museological Review no.26 (2022): 68-72


Spaces of Wonder, Wonder of Space: Encountering the Eighteenth Century Through Image, Object, and Text. Edited by Christine Smylitopoulos. Guelph: University of Guelph, 2018. Exhibition catalogue. 


Supervised by Dr Stacy Boldrick and Dr Katy Bunning. 
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