Skip to main content

Craig Barclay, MA MLitt PhD FSA MCIfA AMA

Head of Museums, Galleries & Exhibitions

Telephone: +44(0)191 3345690 (email at )


Dr Craig Barclay leads Durham University’s Museums, Galleries and Exhibitions Team, which is responsible for the care, development, interpretation, and display of the University’s world-class collections. He is a member of the Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures (CVAC) and the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies.


Having previously held posts at Aberdeen University, the Royal Mint Museum, the Yorkshire Museum and Hull & East Riding Museum, Craig Barclay joined Durham University in 2005 to lead its museums. Today he has responsibility for the management of the Oriental Museum, Museum of Archaeology, and Durham Castle Museum. He is also responsible for the University’s Western Art collections, Biological Science collections and for supporting the management of the diverse heritage collections held by Durham’s colleges.

As Head of Museums, Galleries & Exhibitions Dr Barclay is responsible for the management of world-class collections (including two ACE Designated Collections) of art and archaeology, as well as the delivery of a major exhibitions programme both in the UK and overseas. In addition, Dr Barclay and his museums team are heavily involved in the delivery of teaching across multiple courses, departments and faculties as well as the support and development of cutting-edge research. Internationally, Dr Barclay has contributed to the planning of major museum development projects in West Asia and museums capacity building initiatives in SE Asia, as well as collaborating with Durham’s UNESCO Chair on multiple projects in Nepal, Sri Lanka and East Asia.

Dr Barclay holds MA (1983) and MLitt (1988) degrees from the University of Aberdeen and a PhD (2009) from the University of York. He qualified as a Member of Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (MCIfA) in 1996 and as an Associate of the Museums Association (AMA) in 2003. Dr Barclay was until 2020 Regional Representative for the Islamic Art and Material Culture Subject Specialist Network (UK) and has served as the Commonwealth Association of Museums’ representative on the Commonwealth Consortium for Education.

Within the University, He is Chair of the Collections Strategy and Practice Working Group and a member of the Apprenticeship Levy Panel. 

Research Interests

  • Museums and Heritage Management
  • Asian Art & Archaeology
  • Numismatics
  • Ceramics
  • Civilian heroism in the 18th & 19th century
  • History of emergency aid organisations

Research Groups

  • Member, Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures (CVAC)
  • Member, Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies

Research Projects

Dr Barclay has worked on a wide range of research-led projects both in the UK and overseas. Major recent international projects have included:

  • Co-curation of Kapilavastu Museum development project, Nepal (2019 & 2023)
  • Participation in international planning workshop focussing on interpretation of the Buddha’s natal landscape, Nepal (2018)
  • Co-curation of major international exhibition Walking with the Buddha: Discovering the Natal Landscape of the Buddha, Taiwan (2018)
  • Co-curation of UNESCO-sponsored exhibition at Jaffna Fort, Sri Lanka (2018)
  • Co-curation of Resilience Within the Rubble exhibition at Kathmandu’s Earthquake Museum, Nepal (2018)
  • Co-leadership of International Museology workshop, Vietnam (2017)

Current research-led projects include the Heritage 360 and Heritage X initiatives, as well as working with academic colleagues at Durham University and Rutgers University (USA) as a member of the Advisory Board for the collaborative project: "Linking voices across time: a federated AI approach to connecting Japanese visual cultural heritage collections".

Awarded Grants

  • 2005-10 AHRC Core Funding for Oriental Museum £441,049
  • 2005-10 AHRC Core Funding for Museum of Archaeology £70,798
  • 2005-07 MLA Funding for Museums Conservation £54,968
  • 2010-11 DCMS DDF Funding (China) £100,000
  • 2010-11 DCMS/Wolfson (Egypt/Wolfson Gallery) £50,000
  • 2010-17 HEFCE Core Funding for Oriental Museum £480,000
  • 2011-12 DCMS/Wolfson (Japan Gallery) £87,600
  • 2012-13 Art Fund RENEW £50,000
  • 2012-13 ACE Strategic (Egypt) £70,000
  • 2012-14 ACE Strategic (S. Asia) £114,000
  • 2013-14 Sir James Knott (Archaeology) £25,000
  • 2013-14 DCMS/Wolfson (S. Asia) £83,250
  • 2014-15 DCMS/Wolfson (Egypt/Thacker Gallery) £97,250
  • 2017-23 HEFCE Museums Funding for Oriental Museum £487,000
  • 2018 DCMS/Wolfson (Silk Road Gallery) £50,000
  • 2019 Sir James Knott (Silk Roads) £12,000
  • 2021 Whitehead Trust (Bio Sciences Conservation) £7,000
  • 2023 DCMS/Wolfson (MacDonald Gallery) £104,50

Esteem Indicators

  • Museology Adviser to the Mohamed Ali Foundation (UK/Egypt)
  • Member, RLUK Decolonisation Taskforce
  • Member, Durham UNESCO World Heritage Site Research & Dissemination Group
  • Fellow, Society of Antiquaries (FSA)
  • Fellow, Royal Asiatic Society (FRAS)
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  • Fellow, Royal Numismatic Society (FRNS)
  • Recipient of Japanese Red Cross Order of Merit (Yuko-sho), Gold Class
  • Recipient of Thai Red Cross Medal of Appreciation, 2nd Class
  • Former DCMS Adviser on Treasure
  • Former Independent Assessor to DCMS National Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art
  • Former Commonwealth Association of Museums representative on the Commonwealth Consortium for Education
  • Former Member of Committee, National Museums Security Group
  • Former NE Regional Representative, Museums Association
  • Former North East Regional Representative, The Islamic Art and Material Culture Subject Specialist Network
  • Professional Adviser on the Assalam Museum Development Project in Al Madina Almonawarah, Saudi Arabia (2016)
  • Member of International Jury for the design of the Museum of Faith in Mecca, Saudi Arabia (2015)

Recent Publications (2013-2023)

Edited Volumes

  • Barclay, R., Ramsay, G., Miki, Y., Okubo, J. & Barclay, C. (eds.), Monogatari: the Art of Storytelling in Japanese Prints, (Friends of the Oriental Museum, Durham, 2022)
  • Coningham, R.A.E., Lin, R., Chang, R., Chien, M., Gong, M., Barclay, C., Lu, Y., Barclay, R., Tremblay, J. & Xian, Y. (eds.), Walking with the Buddha: Discovering the Natal Landscape of the Buddha, (FGS, Kaohsiung, 2018)

Chapters in Books

  • Barclay, R., Barnes, L., Ramsay, G., Barclay, C. & Armstrong, H., “‘Found in Store’: Working with Source Communities and Difficult Objects at Durham University’s Oriental Museum” in Bryant Davies, R. & Johnson-Williams, E.G. (eds.), Intersectional Encounters in the 19thC Archive: New Essays on Power and Discourse, (Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2022)
  • Barclay, C. & Barclay, R., “‘Not the Footballer’: Malcolm MacDonald and the Oriental Museum”, MacDonald, M. and Shaw, N. (ed.), The Pleasures and Pains of Collecting, (Friends of the Oriental Museum, Durham, 2018)
  • Barclay, C. & Barclay, R., “‘Filling the Gaps’: Reconsidering the Contribution of Henry, Earl Percy, to the Alnwick Castle Collection of Egyptian Antiquities”, in Doyen, F., Preys, R. & Quertinmont, A., (eds), Sur le Chemin du Mouseion d’Alexandrie. Études Offertes à Marie-Cécile Bruwier, (CENIM, Montpellier, 2018)
  • Barclay C., “Our Heroes of To-day’: The Royal Humane Society and the Creation of Heroes in Victorian Britain”, in Wendt, S. (ed.), Extraordinary Ordinariness: Everyday Heroism in the United States, Germany, and Britain, 1800-2015, (University of Chicago Press, 2017)
  • Barclay, C., “Our Heroes of To-Day” in James, S.L., Books for Boys: Literacy, Nation and the First World War, (Durham University, 2014)

Conference Proceedings

  • Barclay, C., “Celadon Ware and Durham University's Oriental Museum”, Longquan of the World: Longquan Celadon and Globalization International Paper Collection, (Palace Museum, Beijing/Lonquan, 2021)
  • Barclay, C. & Barclay, R., “‘Walking with the Buddha through the Collections of Durham University”, Coningham, R. et al (eds), Walking with the Buddha: Discovering the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha, Workshop Handbook, (FGS, Taiwan, 2018)

Journal Articles

  • Barclay, C., “Agustin Olmedo and the Casiguran Earthquake, 1968”, LSARS Journal, 102 (2021)
  • Barclay, C., “Malcolm MacDonald and the Chinese Collections of the Oriental Museum, Durham”, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, (2020)
  • Barclay, C., “From the Archives: Case of resuscitation by His Imperial Highness the Emperor of Russia”, Royal Humane Society Annual Report (2020)
  • Coningham, R.A.E., Acharya, K.P., Barclay, C.P., Barclay, R., Davis, C.E., Graham, C., Hughes, P.N., Joshi, A., Kelly, L., Khanal, S., Kilic, A., Kinnaird, T., Kunwar, R.B., Kumar, A., Maskey, P.N., Lafortune-Bernard, A., Lewer, N., McCaughie, D., Mirnig, N., Roberts, A., Sarhosis, V., Schmidt, A., Simpson, I.A., Sparrow, T., Toll, D.G., Tully, B., Weise, K., Wilkinson, S., Wilson, A. 2019.” Reducing disaster risk to life and livelihoods by evaluating the seismic safety of Kathmandu’s historic urban infrastructure: enabling an interdisciplinary pilot”, Journal of the British Academy, 7(S2) (2019)
  • Barclay, C., “Roundtable on Commonwealth Organisations and the People’s Commonwealth: Common Purpose or the Parting of the Ways?” Commonwealth Association of Museums Bulletin, 25 (2014)
  • Barclay C. & Barclay R., “Spalding Gallery of Japan, Durham: Durham’s Japanese Culture Capsule”, Museums & Heritage, (Spring 2014)


  • Barclay, C., “The Coins”, in Evans, D.H. (ed.), Excavations at the Austin Friary, Hull, 1994 and 1999: Vol. 2. Artefacts, Analysis, and Scientific Dating, (HAP, 2023). In press
  • Barclay, C., “The Coins”, in Shakespeare, C., Clark, J., Garner-Lahire, J., Oram, R. and Toop, N. (eds.), Eilean Donan Castle, Exploring a Highland Icon: Archaeological Research Excavations 2009 to 2017, (Oxbow, Oxford, 2023)
  • Barclay, C., “Roman Coin List”, in Clark, J., Garner-Lahire, J. & Spall, C. (eds.), Lincoln Castle Revealed: The Story of a Norman Powerhouse and its Anglo-Saxon Precursor, (Oxbow, Oxford, 2021)
  • Barclay, C.P., “Coins” in J. Adams & R. Daniels (eds), Archaeological Excavations at Piercebridge, County Durham, 2017, (Tees Archaeology, 2017)
  • Barclay, C. “The Coins” in Garner-Lahire, J. (ed.), Excavations at the Minster Library, York 1997, (BAR, 2016)
  • Barclay, C. and Millett, M., “The Coins from the Burnby Road Excavation” in Halkon, P., Millett, M. and Woodhouse (eds.), H., Hayton, East Yorkshire: Archaeological Studies of the Iron Age and Roman Landscapes 1, (Leeds, 2015)
  • Barclay, C., “Coins”, in Martin, L., Richardson, J. & Roberts, I. (eds.), Iron Age Settlement at Wattle Sykes, (WYAS, 2013)


  • Barclay, C., Review of Lin, J.C.S. & Li, X., China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors in Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies, 8.2 (2018)
  • Barclay, C. & Barclay, R., Review of Lau, S. & De Lucy, J. (eds.), Chinese Labour Corps: Photographs from the WJ Hawkings Collection in Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies, 8.2 (2018)
  • Barclay, C., Review of Williams, I., Created in Canton: Chinese Export Watercolours on Pith, in Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies, 6 (2016)
  • Barclay, C. & Barclay, R., Review of Yang Liu, China’s Terracotta Warriors: the First Emperor’s Legacy in Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies, 4 (2014)
  • Barclay, C. & Barclay, R., Review of Johnston, J., & Chan Lai Pik, 5,000 years of Chinese Jade: featuring selections from the National Museum of History, Taiwan and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution in Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies, 4 (2014)
  • Barclay, C. & Barclay, R., Review of Mackenzie, C., Masterworks of Chinese Art: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies, 4 (2014)

Current Supervision Students

  • Mr Sun Yu, PhD Candidate, Department of Archaeology (Human-bird hybrid Images in the Ancient Asia)