University of Leicester
2021 Al Mazrouei DFG PHD.pdf (3.19 MB)

UAE Museums Integrating Female Empowerment Approaches to Capture Marginalized Emirati Women’s’ Voices For Preserving Intangible Cultural Heritage

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posted on 2021-11-26, 13:26 authored by Dana S. F. Al-Mazrouei
This research reframes the contemporary perspective of museum and heritage studies by exploring how the role of Al Dhafra women as cultural heritage protectors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can act as models for female empowerment. This research contributes to global knowledge of production and safeguarding of intangible heritage practices by investigating how Al Dhafra women have transformed the UAE cultural heritage landscape. This under-researched area relates to the correlation between intangible heritage and female empowerment, examined on a cultural level, to illustrate the positive impact on the international field of museum studies, especially in relation to the areas of collaborative practice and community engagement.
The study examines how cultural heritage can be preserved through empowerment of women in rural regions. It presents an understanding of cultural heritage preservation in the UAE linked to the cultural identity of the local community. The research methodology for this study involves qualitative research methods of individual, in-depth interviews, and focus groups held in the Al Dhafra region and in UAE cultural institutions. The thesis demonstrates how Al Dhafra women express their feelings of empowerment through their role as cultural protectors of the UAE’s intangible cultural heritage (values, beliefs, knowledge, skills, and storytelling) and tangible cultural heritage (handicrafts).
This thesis provides recommendations for governmental organizations and museums to support empowerment of women through their community engagement programmes; its further theoretical contribution is a new model for female empowerment through intangible and tangible cultural heritage protection.



Nuala Morse; Sheila Watson

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Museum Studies

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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