Neal Spencer, Deputy Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, explores the challenges and opportunities facing great historical collections.

In conversation with Dr Carol Atack, Newnham Fellow and  Syndic of the museum, Neal Spencer will show how the Fitzwilliam is responding, with new acquisitions and new ways of reaching a wider public, and how  contemporary artists from David Hockney to Magdalene Odundo and Reza  Aramesh, all with works currently on display at the Fitzwilliam, engage  with artistic tradition in their work.

Dr Carol Atack

Dr Carol Atack

Dr Carol Atack is a classicist, who has taught ancient history and classical literature at the University of Warwick and St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford. Her PhD research on monarchy in Greek political thought has been published as The Discourse of Kingship in Classical Greece (2019). Her current research continues her work on fourth-century Greek political thought, with a particular focus on the political and ethical thought of Plato and Xenophon. She serves as associate editor for Greek political thought for the journal Polis.

A man standing before a hedge

Dr Neal Spencer

Dr Neal Spencer is Deputy Director (Collections & Research) at the Fitzwilliam Museum, where he leads on curatorial and research strategy, collections management, and the Museum’s Collections Development Strategy. As co-chair of the University’s Strategic Research Initiative Collections-Connections-Communities (2022-2025), Neal plays a key role in catalysing collections-based transdisciplinary research that both involves communities and creates societal impact. Holding a PhD in Egyptology (Cambridge, 2000), Neal’s research focuses on cultural entanglement and lived urban experience within the context of pharaonic imperialism in early Iron Age Nubia, as expressed through material and visual culture. Neal was previously Keeper of Nile Valley & Mediterranean Collections at the British Museum, and has directed research projects in Egypt and Sudan, and the British Museum’s International Training Programme.