Principal Investigators

Dr Karen Brown BA MPhil PhD is Director of the School of Art History’s Museums, Galleries and Collections Institute (MGCI) and Senior Lecturer in the School of Art History. She is currently overseeing several research projects relating to questions of community heritage and sustainability with particular focus on Scotland and the Global South. From 2016-2020 she is coordinating an international research project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme entitled “EU-LAC-MUSEUMS: Museums and Community: Concepts, Experiences, and Sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Jamie Allan Brown BA MLitt, GCRF Cultural Hub Project Coordinator, joined the Museums, Galleries and Collections Institute (MGCI) in the School of Art History in 2016 as Project Youth Programme Worker and Administrator for the international research project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme entitled “EU-LAC-MUSEUMS: Museums and Community: Concepts, Experiences, and Sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.” A graduate of the school’s MLitt Museum and Gallery Studies course, his experience includes managing, coordinating youth programmes and securing funding for diverse community volunteer projects across Scotland and internationally.


Ronald Martinez-Villarreal, Facilitator for the Regional and Community Museums Office of the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica. He leads participatory processes in cultural heritage management, advising committees of community museums such as the Network of Community Museums of Costa Rica. He has two bachelor’s degrees in education and studies in Sociocultural Animation, History and Museology. The scope of his work focuses on non-formal education and socio-cultural development for participatory community museums.

Professor Catherine O’Leary is the Director of the Cultural Identity and Memory Studies Institute (CIMS) at the University of St Andrews. Her research focuses on four main areas: contemporary Spanish theatre, censorship, gender and identity, and exile and cultural memory and much of her work consider the intersections between culture and the state under the Franco dictatorship in twentieth-century Spain.

Dr Althea Davies is the Course leader for at the School of Geography & Sustainable Development. Long-term human-environment interactions are her main area of interest, especially the effect of cultural and management legacies on conservation and socio-ecological resilience. Most of her work has been conducted in the UK uplands and mountains, and working with colleagues in Peru (Pastaza-Marañón, Amazonia Peruana) for 2 years to understand the social and ecological value of flooded forests and peatlands (turberas, humedales, ecosistemas inundados). Her background includes botany, environmental archaeology and environmental management, so most of her work is interdisciplinary, using methods from social and natural sciences.

Research Assistants

Ana S GonzĂĄlez Rueda holds a PhD in Museum and Gallery Studies from the School of Art History, University of St Andrews (2019).  Her recent publications include: “Possessing Nature: the Mexican Pavilion as a Site of Critical Analysis” in the Journal of Curatorial Studies (Autumn 2020), and “Meaningful Matter: Testing Feminist Pedagogies in the Exhibition Space”, part of the latest volume on the Deviant Practice research platform at the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, Netherlands). Ana has taught at the University of St Andrews and the University of Essex. She is a Researcher in Residence at the Decolonising Arts Institute, University of the Arts London (2020). She has also worked as Research Assistant of EU-LAC Museums.

John Large, Videographer Research Assistant. John first joined Community Crafts and Cultures in 2018 after volunteering for the EU-LAC Museums Bi-Regional Youth Exchange Program in 2017, following on from his cross-cultural Youth Work in Northern Ireland. In 2018, John joined as a part-time Videographer for the University of St Andrews, in which role he has continued to feel privileged to help record, edit and produce various documentaries, short films, presentations and publications, documenting the diverse communities’ intangible and tangible heritage through participatory research practices.

María Laura Villalobos Pacheco, Anthropologist with a degree on Archeology.  She has participated and directed projects in the different archaeological regions of Costa Rica. Since 2010 she has worked as an independent consultant carrying out socioeconomic studies, inspections, evaluations and archaeological rescues, both in the private sphere on environmental impact studies and in projects with the National Museum of Costa Rica and other public institutions. She has also worked as an entrepreneur, yoga teacher, conscious eating and living coach, and graphic design. Passionate about food sovereignty and cultural heritage issues.

Student Research Assistants

Leonie Leeder, Student Research Assistant. Currently a postgraduate student in the MLitt Museums and Gallery Studies course at the University of St Andrews. Leonie joined the Community, Crafts and Culture project as a Research Assistant in 2020 after working with the EU-LAC Museums project. Her current research involves community and ecomuseums in Costa Rica and is compiling an interactive timeline on the history of these institutions. Leonie’s research interests include Latin American cultural heritage and how indigenous communities can protect, preserve and celebrate their culture through community museums.

Yuyi Zhou is an Undergraduate Research Assistant working with Dr Karen Brown and Jamie Brown, conducting image research for projects focused on community heritage including CCC and the GCRF Cultural Heritage Hub. Yuyi is passionate about ecomuseums and their value for society including in China.

Funder Acknowledgement 

This project is funded by the Scottish Funding Council’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).


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