Personal profile

Research interests

My research investigates gender-diverse young persons’ lived experiences that remain largely hidden in public discourse about GRT (Gypsy, Romany and Traveller) communities, and in broader representations of LGBTQ+ communities in the UK.

I seek to explore the untapped potential of heritage sites such as museums, archives and cultural community platforms – both as online and physical spaces - to provide a medium through which to enable young GRT persons to explore and celebrate the formation of their gender identity and ethnicity through an intersectional methodology.

The project will also examine the role of arts practitioners as curators of public identity formation and consider how young persons from marginalised backgrounds might be empowered through their engagement with these practitioners and the wider arts and heritage community.

This innovative, interdisciplinary research project uses creative methodologies to produce evidence of the lived experiences of GRT gender diverse youth in the UK, via socially engaged co-produced, participatory, community-based methods.

My project is in collaboration with Traveller Pride, Mermaids, and Queer Britain Museum.

Scholarly biography

Shaan Rathgeber Knan (he/him) is a heritage practitioner, educator and doctoral researcher at the University of Brighton, United Kingdom.

Having been awarded with a Techne PhD stipend, Shaan’s cross-disciplinary research is with young, gender diverse Gypsy, Roma and Travellers in heritage. His creative practice fieldwork is in collaboration with Queer Britain Museum, London UK.

Since his MA degree in Theatre Studies, Psychology and Communication Studies, at the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany, Shaan has worked with numerous academic and non-academic institutions, most recently, as a research assistant and consultant for Middlesex University, Buckinghamshire New University and Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. He has presented this work internationally at over 20 academic institutions, the most recent (September 2023) being at The University of Victoria (Transgender Archives), Canada, where he was awarded with a guest fellowship to research organisational histories of trans organisations in North America.

His work has been published in the Journal of the UK Oral History Society (2020), and in a essay publication ‘The Wisdom of Transkeit’ (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2022). He is the author of A Roadmap to Inclusion, Supporting Trans People of Faith’ (GIRES).

He has spearheaded a number of landmark heritage projects Rainbow Jews , Twilight PeopleRainbow Pilgrims,  A Legacy of Kindness , and Through a Queer Lens at Jewish Museum London.

Shaan’s passion is to help undo historical erasure of marginalised communities and bring about social change.


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • LGBT+
  • creative methods
  • Gypsy Roma TRaveller
  • Intersectionality
  • Participatory research
  • Queer Studies
  • Heritage
  • Museums
  • marginalisation


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