Funded PhD Opportunity Museum Consumption: the influence of identity, culture and nostalgia in the creation of unique customer experiences

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Business and Management Studies


In the 21st Century and in the digital age consumers have focused on the use of technology to aid and co-create consumption. This has encouraged consumers to demand different experiences when consuming services in the ‘bricks and mortar’ environment. Recent emphasis on the high street has been to create leisure activities to increase footfall to town centres and to rejeuventate  empty buildings  and spaces. Within Northern Ireland this has been prevalent within the museum  environment as many themed museums have been developed and are delivering unique experiences to a carefully segmented marketplace. This has facilitated a shift in current thinking regarding the servicescape that museums are currently operating within. There is now more emphasis on institutional museum-audience interaction with studies to date focusing on consumers’ motivations and memories. There is a gap within current academic thinking on museum-audience discourse and the co-construction of memories within the servicescape.

Currently researchers focus on users ‘making sense’ and ‘making meaning’ of their museum encounters, but there is a need to provide a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of how users experience and ‘make sense’ of museums and their servicescape.  This gap in current research mirrors  the ‘outward’ focus museums have taken, shifting from a collection-based orientation to one more focused on engaging audiences (consumers). Within this context the consumer is now considered as central to the meaning making and identity construction.

The aim of this research is to extend the understanding of consumption  with respect to identity, meaning-making and native nostalgia focusing on the museum servicescape in N Ireland. The project will examine the unique customer experience created within this context and investigate these experiences in relation to identity, meaning-making and native nostalgia. This will enable the development of a contextual servicescape that includes these dimensions.

This project will follow a qualitative approach, which will provide a rich understanding of identity, meaning making and nostalgia in the context of the museum servicescape of N Ireland.  Data collection methods will ultilise a multiple case study approach including methods such as interviews, participant observation and focus groups.

Given the nature of this research a multidisciplinary approach will be taken, it will be necessary to make reference and draw knowledge from the political and legal environments in which museums in N. Ireland operate.

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement



    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

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Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Friday 26 October 2018
Interview Date
week commencing 29 October

Contact Supervisor

Dr Andrea Reid

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #319080 when applying for this PhD opportunity