School of the Arts, English and Drama

Postgraduate research

Sofia Mali

Photo of  Sofia Mali

PhD Student

Sofia holds a Bachelor in Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art from the Technological Educational Institution of Athens, Greece. After graduating in 2006 she worked as a conservator of works of art in several archaeological/historical sites and museums for the next five years. She is specialized in the conservation of wall paintings and byzantine icons.

In 2010-2012 she studied museology for her Master degree at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, winning the scholarship for the last semester due to her high rating.

Recently, she has been awarded a full-funded research studentship from the Loughborough School of the Arts, undertaking PhD from October 2013 and expects to complete in 2017.

Thesis Title:

The use of imagination and different forms of representation for the interpretation of historical exhibitions in museums.


Sofia’s research aims to study visitor’s use of imagination to interpret exhibitions of historical material in museums. Furthermore, the design and the construction of the exhibition context and meaning as well as the selection of the exhibition content made by museum professionals. Using semiotic analysis and cultural analysis, this research will explore the relationship between curatorial intentions and the experiences of visitors, paying particular attention to the constructive and interpretative actions of the visitors themselves.

Representations are widely used in museum exhibitions in order to provide visitors with historical elements regarding a specific topic. Through representations, museums give visitors the possibility to visualize and imagine for example the connections between the historical events and the displayed objects, so as to be able to interpret and learn.

Nevertheless, objects, narrations and representations of the past made in museums, do not have “one true story”. Objects from the past are open to many interpretations depending on the time, the personality, the social context and the sensory and emotional experience of the viewer.

Therefore, museums research, translate and communicate the social and cultural context of objects, people and their environment through different forms of representation and various communication means which, as will be shown, arise from visual culture.

By studying museums of different countries, she will have the opportunity to access different contexts, audience demographics, interpretive strategies, and so on and she will investigate how politics in these different settings affects visitors’ imagination and finally, the interpretation process.

In conclusion, through this research she will attempt to explain what representation is and how visual culture exists as forms of representation in museums.

Dr. Malcolm Barnard,  Senior Lecturer in Visual Culture
Prof. Marsha Meskimmon, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History & Theory

Mali, S., Lampropoulos, V. ( 2013 ) ‘Preventive conservation and museological study of the momument of early Christian Catacombs in Melos Island’, Journal Documenta Historiae, Nr.15, s. 1-19, Munchen, ISBN: 978-3-86544-180-7. Available at http://www.palaeo-bavarian-geological-survey.de/d/docs/h015.htm

Korakaki, D., Kouskouti, V. and  Mali, S., (2011) ‘Museum kit with theme: Santorin’s volcano’, Teaching of geosciences and environment at the Greek school, Conference of The Geological Society of Greece, 15 April , Athens:National and  Kapodistrian University and The Geological Society of Greece