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Victoria McMillan

Cultural and Museum Studies, Nottingham Trent University

Thesis title:

Place Matters: The potential of the Ecomuseum in the UK to connect communities to their landscape and help foster sustainable futures

My research explores the potential of the ecomuseum in the UK as a mechanism and process through which to promote a more holistic ecological approach to understanding place and asks how this might help combat ‘cultural severance’, (re)connecting communities with their landscapes, through promoting land connectedness, in a way that fosters empowerment, inclusivity, resilience and sustainability in the face of climate and ecological crisis. It will provide a new understanding of ecomuseum practice in the UK, developing the idea of land connectedness, and how it might be used as a framework for the stewardship of integral dynamic social-ecological systems that is place-based, community focused, polyvocal and collaborative. Explicitly transdisciplinary and intersectional in approach, my research will explore current discourse in heritage, geography, place and landscape studies and ecology. The study will synthesise concepts of biocultural landscapes , social-ecological systems  and multinaturalism with emerging practice of human-centred design, activism and polyvocality in the museum/heritage sector. Sharing many of these ideals, ecomuseums, unlike traditional museums, aim to safeguard heritage within its own landscape and through community leadership therefore present a powerful and democratic conduit through which to promote a holistic approach.

Research Area

  • Cultural and Museum Studies


  • Alison Arnold & Victoria McMillan (2004) The Development of Newark-on-Trent 1100–1750, as Demonstrated Through its Tree-Ring Dates, Vernacular Architecture, 35:1, 50-62, DOI: 10.1179/vea.2004.35.1.50
  • Katharina Massing & Victoria McMillan (2019) Discovering Southwell Project Consultation Report of Findings, http://www.discoveringsouthwell.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Discovering-Southwell-Consultation-Report-2019-web-version.pdf
  • Victoria McMillan 'Cailleach Song', 11/22, for Sensing the Land: Creative Responses from LRG's Isle of the Arran Critical Field Study, LRG LEX platform https://lex.landscaperesearch.org/content/isle-of-arran-critical-field-study-creative-responses/ 
  • Co-editor of Sensing the Land: Creative Responses from LRG's Isle of the Arran Critical Field Study, LRG LEX platform https://lex.landscaperesearch.org/content/isle-of-arran-critical-field-study-creative-responses/ 


  •  Favourite Places, Special Sites; Mapping a Landscape with a Community  - Heritage, Memory and Identity: Community Participation in Ecomuseums, (International), July 15th 2020, Architecture and Urbanism Research Group,  University of Leeds
  • Ecomuseums and Land-Connectedness; Fostering Sustainable Communities in the UK, (E-poster presentation) - M4C Research Festival: 07/06/21 – 10/06/21,   link to e-poster https://my.ltb.io/#/showcase/midlands4cities-digital-research-festival-2021/2021
  • UK & Ireland Ecomuseums In Practice  Co-organisor and host webinar 01/07/21
  • Natural Horizons; Interdisciplinary Dimensions of Space, Landscape & Environment: CDF co-organiser, chair and panel presenter - Land-Connectedness: An holistic framework for care and action. 24/02/22   http://natural-horizons.com/home
  • UK & Ireland Ecomuseums In Practice 2023 - Co-organiser and host of webinar 07/09/23  

Public Engagement & Impact


  • Exploring the potential of Ecomuseums in the UK to address climate and ecological crisis NTU Work in Progress Seminar Series 22/02/21

  • Land-Connectedness: a holistic heritage framework of understanding and care of more-than-human everyday landscapes. NTU CSICD Research Seminar Series 27/04/22

  • 'Putting ourselves out there in academia' 08/12/22, panel discussion on imposter syndrome for PGR's across the M4C university consortium (co-organiser and chair)

Special Events
  • ‘Routes in: Rethinking plural histories of rights of way' - AHRC All Our Footsteps project - Oxford Brookes University  13/09/22
  • Landscape Research Group Critical Field Study Trip Isle of Arran, 10/10/22 - 15/10/22
PhD Work Placement
  • Cateran Ecomuseum - project lead  'School of the Moon' pilot community engagement programme June 2022 - June 2023

Conferences/Workshops Attended

  • The Future of Mueseums Webinar NTU 25/09/20
  • Lost Spells: Launch Event and conversation with Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris 06/10/20
  • Developing an Impact Mindset for Research Webinar 08/10/20
  • Roundtable: Creating and Curating in a Time of Mass Extinction. Two Conversations on art, museums and the Sixth Mass Extinction. University of Leeds (Part of AHRC funded 'Thinking Through Mass Extinction' project & EU funded 'Extinction as Cultural Heritage' project   16/10/20
  • Museums Association 2020 Annual Conference:World Turned Upside Down: Exploring the Futures of Museums 2 - 6/11/20
  • NTU UN75 Conference 24 - 26/11/20
  • Landscape research Group Annual Symposium: Landscape and Goodness 5 - 10/12/20
  • Sustainable Futures Conference 2020 NTU Research Peak 16/12/20
  • Methods for Postcolonial Memory Studies, Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory - Research Seminar Series: Emily Keightley, Professor of Media and Memory Studies, Loughborough University, 20/01/2021
  • Why writing women back into the past can change the future Dr Janina Ramirez; St Anne’s College Oxford, 21/01/21

  • In case it was not clear already, we need a conservation revolution! A call for a convivial alternative, Prof. Bram Bűscher (Wayeningen University), Oxford Conservation Society Seminar, 04/02/21 

  • Heritage and Our Sustainable Future: Research, Practice, Policy and Impact, UK National Commission for UNESCO and Praxis at the University of Leeds, 22/02/21 – 02/03/21 

  • Coronavirus Conversations: Climate Crisis; Museum Association Webinar, Wed 03/03/2021

  • "Ancestors Speaking: Objects and Cultural Sovereignty in Native America"; UCLA/Getty Program’s Distinguished Speaker Series featuring Gabrielle Tayac,  Fri 05/03/21

  • Nottingham Environmental Conference 21/06/21 - 25/06/21

  • NTU Funding Strategies Conference 01/03/2022; presented Discovering Southwell Ecomuseum consultation project

    Nottingham Climate Action Panel – UfN 24/03/22

    Settler Colonialism, Slavery, and Necropolitics in Cancer Alley, USA, 11/05/22

    Research Seminar: Orli Fridman - Memory Activism and Digital Practices 18/05/22

    International conference: Grassroots Activism in History and Memory, Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory, NTU 19/05/22 – 20/05/22

    Midlands4Cities Research Festival 2022 13/06/22 – 16/06/22

    AALERT 4DM's Creative Reflections workshop; On the plurality of creative approaches, their diverse uses and impacts on landscape decision-making 18/11/22

Other Research Interests

  • Community Heritage
  • Biocultural Heritage
  • Landscape Studies
  • Ecology
  • Holistic Conservation Approaches
  • Archaeology 
  • Arts practices 


  • Museum Association
  • Landscape Research Group


  • Archaeology, BA Honors (First Class) - University of Nottingham 2001
  • Museum & Heritage Development, MA (Distinction) - Nottingham Trent University 2019