Julia Nicholson

Job summary

  • Co-managing a team overseeing and developing the Museum’s artefact documentation systems and the research visitors programme
  • Developing Museum policies and standards for collections, including the acquisitions and disposal policy (Collections Development Policy)
  • Curating special exhibitions and the development of permanent displays including Asian masks and platform case displays.
  • Oversaw the collections management and interpretation components of the Museum’s major projects, notably the four schemes supported by the MLA/DCMS Designation Challenge Fund from 2002 to 2008, and co-managed the Esmée Fairbairn-funded project ‘Pictures Worth a Thousand Words’ on the digitisation of artefact photographs and integration with the online object database
  • Co-managed the collections team working as part of the VERVE project 2012–17
  • Taking forward the Museum’s accreditation and outward loans programme
  • With particular interests in museum ethnography, textiles and India, Julia is a committee member for the Museum Ethnographers Group and Oxford Asian Textiles Group.


Julia studied for a BA in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and a Masters in Museum Studies at Leicester University. She worked at Cambridge University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology in 1981. From 1983, she worked at the Leicestershire Museums, Art Galleries and Records Service, for which she was Assistant Keeper of Indian Art, working with Gujarati communities from East Africa. In 1985, she conducted fieldwork in Gujarat. From 1990 to 1994 she worked for Oxfordshire County Museums and Libraries, initially as a curator in Banbury Museum and then overseeing libraries and museums for north Oxfordshire. She has worked at the Pitt Rivers Museum since 1994 on a job-share basis, initially with her husband Jeremy Coote and currently with Marina de Alarcon.

Selected projects, exhibitions and publications

•    Exhibition: Caribbean Expressions in Britain: an exhibition of contemporary art. Selected by Pogus Caesar, Bill Ming and Aubrey Williams in celebration of Caribbean Focus 1986. (Leicestershire Museum and Art Gallery, 1986). Curator. Selected tour to Central Museum and Art Gallery Northampton Oct to Nov 1986 and Cartwright Hall Bradford Nov 1986 to Jan 1987.
•    Catalogue/book: Caribbean Expressions in Britain (Leicestershire Museums, Art Galleries and Records Service, 1986). Author.
•    Exhibition: Jain Art and Culture, 25 centuries of an Indian Religion (Leicestershire Museum and Art Gallery, 1987). Curator.
•    Book: Jainism Art and Religion. (Leicestershire Museum and Art Gallery, 1987). Author. 
•    Exhibition and book: Traditional Indian Arts of Gujarat (New Walk Museum, Leicester, 1988). Curator and author.
•    Exhibition: The Coming of the M40: artist responses (Banbury Museum, 1990). Curator.
•    Exhibition: Dynamic Toys (Banbury Museum, 1992 and Kenya tour 1993–94). Curator.
•    Exhibition and publication: Transformations: the Art of Recycling (Pitt Rivers Museum, 2000–02). Exhibition curator and author with Jeremy Coote. Funded by the Arts Council, Crafts Council, Southern Arts and commercial sponsors.
•    Exhibition: Treasured Textiles (Pitt Rivers Museum, 2006). Curator with Zena McGreevy.
•    Exhibition and publication: Made for Trade (Pitt Rivers Museum, 2011–13). Curator and author with Faye Belsey. Part of the project ‘Ethnography Museums and World Cultures-RIME’. Funded with support from the European Commission.
•    Showcase exhibition: My Siberian Year 1914 to 1915, on anthropologist  Marie Antionette Czaplicka. (Pitt Rivers Museum, 2014–18). Curator with Faye Belsey.
•    Exhibition: Intrepid Women: Fieldwork in action 1910 to 1957.  (Pitt Rivers Museum 2018–19). Curator with Joanna Cole and Zena McGreevy.