Dr JC Niala, Head of Research, Teaching and Collections

My work at the History of Science Museum is an amalgamation of my passion for exploring global histories, science, and the impact of museology.

Research summary

JD Niala Head of Research, Teaching & Collections

Dr JC Niala, Head of Research, Teaching & Collections at the History of Science Museum

My research involves unravelling the intricate threads of knowledge production in science, medicine, and technology through an interdisciplinary approach.

Human-Nature Dynamics

1918 Allotment (2021): In collaboration with the Oxford-based community project Fig, supported by The Humanities Cultural Programme at TORCH, I recreated a 1918-style allotment. This innovative project interweaved arts, horticulture, and history, and was honoured with the Social History Society's Public History Prize in 2022.

Museology and Global Histories

I am deeply involved in examining the histories and narratives of African, South Asian and History of Science collections, emphasizing egalitarian archiving practices and community participatory research.


My current research investigates the profound changes in milk production in the past two centuries in India, Kenya and the UK. Using interdisciplinary and collaborative research methods, it applies metrology as a tool by which to assess the impact on society, environment and economy.



JC Niala became Head of Research, Teaching and Collections at the History of Science Museum in 2022.

She previously worked at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London and most recently at Cambridge University Libraries as Head of World Collections.

She studied Social Anthropology at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford.


Recent publications

  • (with Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp & Juma Ondeng’) 'Facilitating Community Access to African Collections: Developing Collaborative Practice to Unpack Museum Protocol and Terminologies ' in Krmpotich & Stevenson (eds) Collections Management as Critical Practice (2023)
  • 'Rethinking Relationships and building trust around African collections', Journal of Museum Ethnography (2022)
  • (with Sherry Davis) 'The Missing Link: Community Contribution and Absence in Archaeology in East Africa', Bulletin of the History of Archaeology (2021)

Website: www.jcniala.com

Twitter  : @jcniala