Maria Paula Arias

Working title

Co-Branding the Museum: Museum Social Media Identity and Audience Perception


My research seeks to understand the relationship between brand-making practices (brand identity and strategy) and social media use in museums, beyond practical outcomes of audience engagement. Specifically, it seeks to explore the potential implications of such strategies as mediated experiences and spaces where user-generated content converges with museum-generated content.

Through an interdisciplinary approach and a mixed methodology, this research aims to answer the following questions:

  1. How does social media create, shape, and expand a museum’s brand identity?
  2. In what ways do museums' strategic processes (e.g. decision-making, values, partnerships) affect the use of social media towards brand construction?
  3. How do online audiences perceive the museum’s identity as shared on social media?
  4. In what ways do audiences affect the museum’s identity on social media (for example through the co-creation and shared authorship of information)?


My research interests lie at the intersection of social media, museum branding, and audience participation. Prior to my studies at The University of Manchester, I lived in Qatar where I worked as a research assistant after being awarded an MA with Distinction in Museum and Gallery Practice at University College London. I aim to continue exploring her research interests through the PhD in Museology programme in Manchester and to contribute to the growing inter-disciplinary digital humanities field.


  • Instagram Trends: Visual Narratives of Embodied Experiences at the Museum of Islamic Art, Museums and the Web 2018, 20 April 2018, Vancouver, Canada  
  • Visual Narratives: Museum Visiting Experience on Instagram, Researching Digital Cultural Heritage International Conference, 30 November 2017, Manchester, UK  
  • Visual Trends: Decoding the Visiting Experience at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, Museums in Arabia Conference, 13 October 2017, Manama, Bahrain  
  • Instagram and Performative Memories, Inclusive Museum Conference, 17 September 2017, Manchester UK



Twitter: @ariasmariap