I joined the Division of History and Politics as Lecturer in Heritage in June 2018. Prior to this, I was a Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of York, where I worked on the Profusion-theme of the AHRC-funded Heritage Futures research programme (https://heritage-futures.org). I continue my Heritage Futures involvement as an Affiliated Researcher, and am also linked to the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage in Berlin (http://www.carmah.berlin/people/).
Trained as a Social Anthropologist (PhD Manchester, 2011), I have worked on a range of interdisciplinary projects that span my interests in organisational anthropology, contemporary museum practice and theory, cultural heritage, and ethnographic methodologies (including the sensory, visual, and creative knowledge-exchange).
I am a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and a member of the Association of Social Anthropologists, Museums Association, Museum Ethnographers Group, and the Association of Critical Heritage Studies. After several years as Reviews Editor, I now sit on the Editorial board for 'Anthropology in Action: Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice'.
My main research interest in the field of cultural heritage is the theory and practice of contemporary museums, which I often approach through the lens of organisational ethnography. I am especially interested in changing ideas of what museums are (or what they could be in the future), and how these ideas are experienced and articulated through the everyday practice of professionals working in these institutions.
My PhD (Manchester, 2011) explored the legacy of a major refurbishment of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, which was intended to increase the museum’s social value and impact. My starting point was questions such as ‘what does it mean to be a curator in an object-based, multidisciplinary, and storytelling museum?’. Grounded in twelve-months on-site ethnographic fieldwork - following the work of curators, conservators, managers, designers, cleaners, and volunteer tour-guides, amongst others - I argued for an expanded understanding of who and what implements, sustains, and ultimately shapes the dynamics of museological change (e.g., Morgan, 2018).
Since then, I have developed my interest in professional work, identity, and the 'hidden' or ‘overlooked’ elements of organisational life in new research contexts. As a postdoctoral researcher at Loughborough University, I worked on two interdisciplinary and applied projects to generate ethnographic accounts of ‘tacit’ ways of knowing how to work safely. My research revealed the role of the sensory, affective, embodied, and improvisational, and developed ‘short-term’ ethnographic methods as ‘intense routes to knowing’ (Pink and Morgan, 2013) including autoethnographic (Morgan and Pink, 2017).
Since 2015, I have been working on the Profusion-theme of the AHRC funded Heritage Futures research programme: https://heritage-futures.org/profusion/. I examine the everyday future-keeping practices of householders and smaller museums faced with material and digital abundance and the complex yet subtle values, emotions, and judgements that shape these selection. I have explored a range of sub-topics, including contemporary collecting, significance assessment, and disposal in museums (e.g., Macdonald and Morgan forthcoming; 2018).
Currently I am pushing my interest in heritage futures and values into a new area of ‘disaster heritage’. I hope to develop a project looking at the role of heritage in post-disaster urban environments by drawing on the case of the Christchurch (New Zealand) earthquakes (https://heritage-futures.org/tomorrow-starts-here-earthquakes-heritage-and-the-rebuilding-of-a-city/). More broadly, I engage with non-representational theory (especially Assemblage and Actor Network); phenomenological anthropology; material culture, critical heritage and museum studies approaches.
Morgan J & Sarah P (2018) Researcher Safety? Ethnography in the Interdisciplinary World of Audit Cultures. Cultural Studies - Critical Methodologies, 18 (6), pp. 400-409. https://doi.org/10.1177/1532708617745094
Morgan J (2018) Assembling the New: Studying Change Through the 'Mundane' in the Museum as Organization. Museum and Society, 16 (2), pp. 157-170. https://journals.le.ac.uk/ojs1/index.php/mas/article/view/2799
Macdonald S & Morgan J (2018) What not to collect: Post-connoisseurial dystopia and the profusion of things. In: Schorch P & McCarthy C (eds.) Curatopia: Museums and the Future of Curatorship. Manchester: Manchester University Press. https://doi.org/10.7765/9781526118202.00010
Bartolini N, Breithoff E, DeSilvey C, Fredhiem H, Harrison R, Holtorf C, Lyons A, Macdonald S, May S, Morgan J & Penrose S (2018) Assembling Alternative Futures for Heritage. Context, (155), pp. 22-24. http://ihbc.org.uk/page55/context_archive/index.html
Macdonald S & Morgan J (2018) How can we know the future? Uncertainty, transformation, and magical techniques of significance assessment in museum collecting. In: Assessment of Significance: Deuten - Bedeuten - Umdeuten. Assessment of Significance: Interpretation - Implication - Reinterpretation, 11.05.2017-13.05.2017. Berlin, Germany: Deutsches Historisches Museum, pp. 20-26.
Pink S, Morgan J & Andrew D (2017) Making theory, making interventions: Doing applied scholarship at the inbetween. In: Pink S, Fors V & O'Dell T (eds.) Theoretical Scholarship and Applied Practice. Studies in Public and Applied Anthropology, 11. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 97-117. https://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/PinkTheoretical
Morgan J & Macdonald S (2017) Curating profusion: from connoisseurship to mediation (Presentation) Museumslabor Seminar Series, Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage, Humboldt University, Berlin, 16.01.2017-16.01.2017. http://www.carmah.berlin/events/talk-sharon-macdonald-and-jennie-morgan-curating-profusion-from-connoisseurship-to-mediation/
Pink S, Waterson P, Dainty A, Cheyne A, Haslam R, Gibb A, Morgan J, Hartley R, Finneran A & Bust P (2016) Interdisciplinary research for occupational safety and health knowledge. Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, 14 (1), pp. 22-33. https://doi.org/10.1080/14773996.2016.1235832
Bartolini N, May S, Morgan J & Penrose S (2016) Processes and Challenges of Early Career Researchers. Past Matters, Research Futures - Conference for Early Career Researchers, London, 12.12.2016-13.12.2016. https://heritage-futures.org/performing-processes-challenges-early-career-researchers/
Gibb A, Pinder J, Bust P, Cheyne A, Dainty A, Fray M, Finneran A, Glover J, Hartley R, Haslam R, Jones W, Morgan J, Pink S, Waterson P & Yolande Gosling E (2016) Engagement of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in occupational safety and health: Project know-how. Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. Leicester. https://www.iosh.co.uk/Books-and-resources/Health-and-safety-in-a-changing-world/SMEs-and-micro-organisations-engagement-with-occupational-safety-and-health.aspx
Morgan J (2013) Examining the ‘flexible museum’: exhibition process, a project approach, and the creative element. Museum and Society, 11 (2), pp. 158-171. https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/museumsociety/documents/volumes/morgan
Morgan J (2012) Morgan, J. (2012) 'The cleaning cupboard: An ethnographic look at the production of newness at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum'. In: F. von Bose, K. Poehls, F. Schneider, and A. Schulze (Eds), Museum-X, Panama Verlag, pp.56-64. In: von Bose F, Poehls K, Schneider F & Schulze A (eds.) Museum-X. Museum-X, Berliner Blätter 57/2011. Berlin: Panama Verlag. https://www.panama-verlag.de/programm/museum-x/