Deniz Ünsal

Assistant professor

Communication & Culture

Deniz Ünsal is a cultural anthropologist and museum and heritage studies scholar with a research focus on cultural policies, equity, diversity and inclusion. With an expertise in working with tangible and intangible cultural heritage, exhibition development and heritage planning, she critically examines processes of meaning-making, interpretation, representation and power in museums and heritage sites.

She embraces community partnerships and community-based research in knowledge creation and dissemination. Deniz is actively involved in community work with several nonprofits in the field of EDI, human and social development. She is grateful to live and work on the ancestral lands of Xwsepsum and Lekwungen nations who have been safeguarding the resources, stories and teachings of these lands from time immemorial.


Before joining to the School of Communication and Culture as an Assistant Professor in 2021, Deniz taught courses on intercultural and global communication at Royal Roads University and anthropology at the University of Victoria. Until 2015, she had been an Assistant Professor in the Arts and Cultural Management Program at the Faculty of Communication of Istanbul Bilgi University and also had served as head of undergraduate and graduate programs in the same university.

As for her professional work, Deniz started her museum career as an assistant curator at Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam in 2001, worked in collections management at Istanbul Modern Museum of Art, collaborated with several local and national museum projects in Turkey such as Ecomuseum Zavot in Kars and the Museum of Troy which opened in Çanakkale in 2018. Deniz contributed to various local and regional arts and heritage planning projects and consulted to municipalities, nonprofits and UNESCO world heritage site management directorates in Turkey and the Netherlands.


Certificate in Digital Production, Writing and Design

Camosun College

Certificate in Learning and Teaching

University of Victoria

PhD in Anthropology

Columbia University

MA in Social and Cultural Anthropology

Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

MA in European Studies

Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

BSc in Political Science and Public Administration

Middle East Technical University, Turkey


Outstanding New Associate Faculty Award

School of Communication and Culture, Royal Roads University


Ünsal, D. (2019). Positioning museums politically for social justice, Museum Management and Curatorship, 34:6, 595-60

Ünsal, D. (2014). The Reconquest of Constantinople: Reflections on the contemporary landscape and Panorama 1453 History Museum in Istanbul. In Koçak, D. Ö., Koçak, O. K., & Aksel, B. (Eds.). Whose city is that? Culture, design, spectacle and capital in Istanbul. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.283-301