Professor Ross Parry

Director, Institute for Digital Culture


I am the founding Director of the university's inter-disciplinary Institute for Digital Culture - working with the culture sector globally to support its adaption to a digital world.

With Art UK and the Collections Trust, I co-lead the national Museum Data Service (MDS) - a transformative service that aims to connect and share the tens of millions of object records across all 1,700 accredited UK museums. This landmark initiative is a joint initiative by and the Institute for Digital Culture, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Digital Accelerator Program, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s National Infrastructure for Digital Innovation and Curation for Arts and Humanities (iDAH).

I am also co-investigator on The Sensational Museum - a £1m interdisciplinary research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, that is designing and creating sensory interventions that are accessible to all – using what we know about disability to change how museums work for everyone.

I lead the international research consortium ('One by One' - building digitally confident museums) am a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy Board member for Attenborough Arts Centre (Leicester) and one of the founding Trustees of the Jodi Mattes Trust - for accessible digital culture.

Currently I serve as a member of the UK Research and Industry’s Steering Committee of its £19mn digital cultural heritage initiative ‘Towards a National Collection’. With Dr Vince Dziekan (Monash) I am co-editor of the Routledge book series ‘Critical Perspectives on Museums and Digital Technology’.

Previously I have been: Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Digital) (2016-2019); and Academic Director of the College of Social Sciences Arts and Humanities (2013-2016).

In 2018 I was listed in the Education Foundation’s ‘EdTech50’ - the fifty most influential people in the UK education and technology sectors. 


I theorise and historicise the ways that technology (both digital and pre-digital) has been used managed created and understood by museums.

As principal investigator:

AHRC National Infrastructure for Digital Innovation and Curation for Arts and Humanities (iDAH), ‘Consolidating the Museum Data Service as Research Infrastructure’, with Art UK and the Collections Trust. £330,000 (2023-2025).

NEH/AHRC ‘UK-US New Directions for Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions’ scheme ‘3 by 3: Modelling new digital leadership in museums’. £250,000 (AHRC) + £115000 (NEH) (2020-2021).

AHRC ‘UK-US Collaboration for Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions: Partnership Development Grant’ scheme ‘2 by 2: Structuring Museums to Deliver New Digital Experiences’. £100,000 (2020).

AHRC Standard Grants call 'One by One: building the digital literacies of UK museums'. £503,000 (2017-2020).

AHRC BT Research Networking Pilot Funding for ‘LIVE!Museum: visitor and institutional contexts for digital labelling and in-gallery connectivty’ with the Collections Trust and System Simulation Ltd., £12,096 (2009-2011).

AHRC Collaborative Research Training programme, ‘The Digital Heritage Research Training Initiative’, in collaboration with the University of Manchester, University of Glasgow, University of Newcastle and the Collections Trust., £53,000 (2008-2010).

AHRC Research Workshops (Museums and Galleries) Scheme for a nine-month project investigating ‘UK Museums and the Semantic Web’, with project partners MDA and the 24 Hour Museum, £15,000 (2006-2007).

HEROBC Innovation and Regional Fellowship award for a six-month ‘Innovations Fellowship’, to develop an in-gallery digital labelling system (‘LIVE!Labels’), £14,000 (2005-2006).

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award to fund a project entitled ‘Sustaining public-facing digital assets in museums’, with Simulacra Ltd and the Museum of London, £36,000 (2005-2010)

DTI’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership award - to work on a two-year project with a new media company (MacKenzie Ward Research Ltd.) to develop e-learning software for the cultural heritage and tertiary education sectors, 2001, £97,000 (2001-2003)

As Co-Investigator:

AHRC Standard Research Grant scheme, ‘The Sensational Museum: The Practice and Provision of Trans-Sensory Collecting and Communicating’, with Royal Holloway University of London, University of Westminster and University of Lincoln. [PI, Prof. Hannah Thompson], £998,000 (2023-2025)

AHRC ‘Circuits of practice: Narrating modern computing in museum environments’ with the University of Loughborough (PI Dr Simone Natale) £250000 (2020-2021).

AHRC Creative Economy Knowledge Exchange Projects Call - for ‘CATH (Collaborative Arts Triple Helix)' with the University of Birmingham [PI Dr Richard Clay] £247000 (2012-2014). EPSRC

AHRC Research Networks Call, to fund ‘Transforming Thresholds’, with the University of Birmingham, investigating museum foyers and entrance spaces and the media used within them [PI, Dr Ruth Page], £28,000 (2012-2014).

AHRC - Science and Heritage programme for ‘Representing Re-Formation: Reconstructing Renaissance Monuments’ (PI Prof. Philip Lindley) £497907 (2009-2013)

PPARC for a project entitled ‘Space Now: Today’s News from Space’, with the National Space Centre, Leicester (PI, Rev. Kevin Yates], £100,000 (2006-2007).




Parry, R., Foti, P. & Natale, S. (2021). 'When Digital Becomes the Object: Developing Computing Histories in Museums.' MW21: MW 2021. Published February 1, 2021.

Parry, R. (2019). 'How Museums Made (and Re-Made) Their Digital User', in T. Giannini & J.P. Bowen (eds.), Museums and Digital Culture. Springer Series on Cultural Computing (Springer), pp. 275-293.

Drotner, K., Dziekan, V., Parry, R. & Schrøder, K. (eds) (2019). The Routledge Handbook of Museums, Media and Communication (Routledge).

Malde, S., Kennedy, A & Parry, R. (2019). Understanding the Digital Skills & Literacies of UK Museum People. Phase Two Report, One by One (Leicester: University of Leicester).

Parry, R., Page, R. & Moseley, A. (eds) (2018). Museum Thresholds: the Design and Media of Arrival (Routledge).

Parry, R. (2013). 'The End of the Beginning: Normativity in the Postdigital Museum', Museum Worlds, vol. 1, 24-39.

Parry, R. (2013). 'The Trusted Artifice: Reconnecting with the Museum's Fictive Tradition Online', in K. Drotner and K. Schrøder (eds) Museum Communication and Social Media: The Connected Museum (New York and Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge), pp. 17-32.

Parry, R. (2011). 'Transfer Protocols:  Museum Codes and Ethics in the New Digital Environment', in J. Marstine (ed.) Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics: Redefining Ethics for the Twenty-First Century Museum (Routledge), pp. 316-331.

Parry, R. (ed.) (2010). Museums in a Digital Age. Leicester Readers in Museum Studies (Abingdon and New York: Routledge).



First Supervisor on the following PhD projects:

  • Models of empathetic digital skills development in the culture sector
  • Digital accessibility in arts centre programming
  • Materiality and authenticity in digital sound archives
  • Fictive identity crafting in heritage organisations
  • Platforms for community heritage in Egypt
  • Online museum learning resources for schools

Previous PhD students supervised (as First Supervisor):

  • Production of scripts for museum media (Dr Rachel Teskey)
  • How museums interact with the expert web (Dr Blaire Moskowitz)
  • The museum as platform for sound culture (Dr Stefania Zardini Lacedelli)
  • Experiencing of in-gallery digital interactives (Dr Jingyu Peng)
  • Data literacy within museums (Dr Lauren Vargas)
  • Convergent media and production in museums (Dr Peter Annhernu)
  • How the twentieth century curated the motor car (Dr Pal Negyesi)
  • Collecting computer-based technology at the Smithsonian Institution (Dr Petrina Foti)
  • Cultivating innovation with digital media in museums (Dr Haitham Eid)
  • Museums pop music culture and the web (Dr Kathleen Pirrie Adams)
  • Measuring the impact of museums’ social media (Dr Elena Villaespesa)
  • Designing in-gallery digital media for children (Dr Amy Hetherington)
  • Sustainability of digital resources in museums (Dr Jeremy Ottevanger)
  • Displaying of devotional objects online (Dr Alex Whitfield)
  • Podcasting in museums (Dr Lena Maculan)
  • Mobile media for curating everyday life (Dr Kostas Arvanitis) 


My teaching attempts to historicise and theorise the development and implementation of digital technology in the museum and culture sector. I teach across the School's programmes (both campus-based [full-time] and distance/flexible learning [part-time]) particularly in the areas of:

  • digital transformation and change
  • workforce digital skills
  • accessible/universal digital design
  • data and information management
  • in-gallery interactivity
  • models replicas and copies

I have also served as PhD external examiner for:

  • Kings College London (2023 2017 2018)
  • University of Leeds (2021)
  • University of Manchester (2021)
  • De Montfort University (2021)
  • University of Westminster (2020)
  • University of Amsterdam (2020)
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (2019)
  • UCL (2017 2014)
  • Goldsmiths University of London (2015)
  • University Copenhagen (2015)
  • IT University of Copenhagen (2014)
  • University of Birmingham (2014)
  • University of Loughborough (2008)
  • University of Central England (2007)
  • University of Melbourne (2005)
  • University of South Australia (2003) 

Press and media

I am always happy to speak about:

- the relationships between museums/galleries and technology;

- the use of digital media in museums and galleries (for exhibitions visitor experiences managing collections and organisational operation);

- how these interactions relate to ‘digital culture’ more widely nationally and internationally. 


Member of the 'AHRC/UKRI Towards a National Collection: Opening UK Heritage to the World' Steering Committee (2019 to present).

Advisory Board Attenborough Arts (2019 to present).

Chair of Trustees for the Jodi Mattes Trust - for accessible digital culture (2013 to present): (trustee since 2009).

Member of the International Scientific Advisory Board for the Danish research and development programme 'Our Museum' funded by Nordea-Fonden and Velux Fonden (2017 to 2021).

Member of the national JISC Horizons Group (2018 to 2019).

Member of the International Scientific Advisory Board for the research project ‘Learning 2.0’ managed by DREAM (the Danish Research Centre on Education and Advanced Media Materials) at the University of Southern Denmark (2011-2015).

Member of the national JISC Content Advisory Group (2012-2014).

Editorial Board of The Science Museum Group Journal (2019 to present).

Editorial Board of the Journal of Museum & Culture (Chinese Association of Museums (2018 to 2019).

Academic Advisory committee member Tate Papers (2014-2016).

Elected national Chair of the Museums Computer Group (2008-2011) 


Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2018)

Students' Union Academic Award (2017, 2014 and 2012)

‘Inspiring Leader’ University ‘Discovering Excellence’ Award (2016) 

Visiting Professor Roskilde University and University of Southern Denmark (2012)

Tate Research Fellow (2009-2012)

A University Teaching Fellowship (2007)

HEROBC / HIRF Innovations Fellow (2005) 


[invited keynote] Ross Parry 'Building a Digital Commons: Museums open collaboration and the goal of societal impact' presented online to Vores museums afslutningskonference Copenhagen (Denmark) 12 May 2021.

[invited keynote] Ross Parry & Vince Dziekan 'Critical Digital: Museums and their Postdigital Circumstance' presented online to Art Museums & Digital Cultures International Conference Lisbon (Portugal) 22 April 2021.

[invited keynote] Ross Parry 'Our Digital Maturity: Why Now is the Time for Empathy Equity and Community in Museum Technology' presented online to El I Congreso Internacional de Museos y Estrategias Digitales (CIMED21) Valencia (Spain) 25 March 2021.

[invited keynote] Ross Parry 'The Role of the Digital Turn in Museums’ Turn to Digital' presented online to 'The Art Museum in the Digital Age - 2021' The Belvedere Vienna (Austria) 11 January 2021.

[invited paper] Ross Parry '‘Building Digitally Confident Museums’ presented at the National Taiwan Science Education Center Taipei (Taiwan) 13 January 2020.


Originally my background was in Renaissance studies. Having worked for a firm of architects and the BBC World Service I was awarded a university doctoral award in 1994 with the University of Southampton's Department of History and Digital Libraries Research Centre - which became the CDLR part of the Intelligence Agents Multimedia Group (IAM).

I was Visiting Professor Roskilde University and University of Southern Denmark (2012). From 2017 to 2021 I was a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board for the Danish research and development programme 'Our Museum' funded by Nordea-Fonden and Velux Fonden. And from 2011-2015 I was a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board for the research project ‘Learning 2.0’ managed by DREAM (the Danish Research Centre on Education and Advanced Media Materials) at the University of Southern Denmark.

Media coverage

Previous press and media coverage has included:

‘Front Row’ - Radio 4 7:15pm 20 April 2011 []

Lightfoot L. (2012 19 June) ‘Apps to bring museum studies to life’. The Guardian Education Guardian. p. 3. [] 


Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) (awarded 2018)

PhD - University of Southampton Department of History (July 2001).

MA (with distinction) Early Modern European Culture (October 1995)

BA hons. History (July 1994) 

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