Learning about other people’s stories, and understanding the power of personal stories to create community connections and shape people’s lives, has always been a passion for Nicole Robert. Though she grew up in Issaquah, WA, her family is from south Louisiana and they maintained much of the distinct culture from that part of the country even after they moved to the state of Washington. Nicole, the proud mother of two young children, came out later in life and grappled with her own shifting identity. She found herself having to confront the limited representations of gender and sexuality that exist in the world at large and in museums specifically. Responding to these gaps, Nicole earned an M.A. in Museology from the University of Washington and recieved a PhD in Feminist Studies. Her research focused on the intersections of race, gender and sexuality in U.S. history museums.
In 2012, Nicole co-founded the Queering the Museum (QTM) project, whose first event, “Queering the (Art) Museum” was well received. In 2013, QTM is hosting a digital storytelling workshop for local LGBTQ individuals, and will present “Queering the (History) Museum” in collaboration with Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry. Nicole’s dissertation work connects queer theories, feminist theories and museological practices in what she is calling Critical Feminist Museology. This approach uses methods of critical reflection to create new conversations about race, gender and sexuality. By engaging with the systems that inform our ideas of “normal,” Nicole hopes to engender understanding of the ways in which educational institutions regulate gender, race and sexuality. Nicole enjoys teaching in both the formal institution of the university and the informal space of museums, and seeks to connect the practices of these two spaces in her future work.