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Dr Sam Aylett

Profile summary

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Professional biography

I am a visiting fellow at The Open University in the Department of Arts and Humanities and a member of the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies. I received my Ph.D. in History from the Open University in 2020 with my thesis which for the first time provided a comprehensive history of the Museum of London and gallery representations of London's imperial past, providing a holistic approach to galleries’ shifts from Victorian nostalgia to more equitable representations. My first monograph, Legacies of an Imperial City: The Museum of London 1976-2007, was published with Routledge in December 2022, and I am currently working on an edited collection, with my co-author Dr Matthew Jones, Empire, Museums and Decolonial Praxis, due to be published with Routledge in 2025. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Higher Education Academy. I also teach American history as it relates to labour, race, gender, and empire, at a Liberal Arts University in Berlin, Touro. 

Research interests

My research is on British imperial history in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and the history of museums. My research delves into museums as vital spaces for examining representations of empire and the public's interaction with its complex histories, spanning the UK, former British colonies, and Germany. My research approach is interdisciplinary, drawing from imperial history, material culture studies, museum studies, and critical heritage studies. This interdisciplinary lens allows me to grasp the multifaceted connections between culture, politics, and memory, enriching my understanding of historical narratives. One of the focal points of my research is the intersection between minority group demands for better representation and the heritage industry in the UK. Through this exploration, I aim to shed light on how these movements intersect with and influence narratives within the heritage sector, offering insights into Modern Britain's history and identity. As a scholar, I am committed to challenging conventional perspectives and fostering dialogue on issues of colonialism, race, and memory. Through rigorous scholarship, I aim to inspire new avenues of inquiry and understanding within academia and the broader public sphere.

Teaching interests

As a Visiting Fellow, I have contributed to module development and writing new module materials on African Resistance to Imperialism for the new A328 level 3 module: Empire 1492-1975. Before this, I taught on the predecessor A326 Module: Empire 1492-1975 as an assistant lecturer during my PhD. I teach externally both for Chichester University as an Associate Lecturer, and I am an Adjunct Professor at Touro University Berlin where I teach American history 1877-Present as it relates to labour, race, gender, and empire.

Impact and engagement

Books

Aylett., S, Legacies of an Imperial City: The Museum of London 1976-2007 (London: Routledge, 2022).

Edited Books

Aylett-Streitberg., S & Jones., M, Museums, Empire and Decolonial Practice (London, Routledge, 2025) ACCEPTED

Chapters

Aylett-Streitberg, S., & Streitberg., I,  '"Dead on arrival"; Public Perceptions of the Humboldt Forum'. In (eds), Aylett-Streitberg., S & Jones., M, Museums, Empire and Decolonial Practice, (London, Routledge, 2025) ACCEPTED

Guest Lectures

  • 'Pride, Empire and Postcolonial Approaches at the Museum of London 1976-1993', New Museum Conversations, 24 October 2018, Museum of London, London Wall.

Open Access Articles

  • Aylett., S. (2022) Networks of Influence: Peopling Collections at The Museum of London and Brooklyn Historical Society 1989-1994. Academia Letters, Article 4757. https://doi.org/10.20935/AL4757

Conference Presentations

Public Engagement

External collaborations

  • Adjunct lecturer for Touro College Berlin, where I teach a course on US History from 1877 - Present. 
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Publications

The Museum of London 1976-2007: Reimagining Metropolitan Narratives in Postcolonial London (2020-04-01)
Aylett, Samuel Paul Tobias
PhD thesis The Open University


The impact of architecture and space on understanding historical progress at the Museum of London (2020)
Aylett, Sam
Postgraduate Research Poster Competition, The Open University