I am a social and regional historian with teaching and research interests in the history of the West Midlands region after 1700 and the history of ethnic minorities and anti-slavery. I am also Editor-in-Chief of the History West Midlands project.
My first degree was in History and Political Studies and I gained a PhD at the University of Leicester, financed by the Economic and Social Research Council, which explored the relationships between ideologies, industrialization, urban growth and schooling for the poor in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century England. I began working at the University of Birmingham in 2004.
Before then I taught in comprehensive schools, sixth-form colleges and further and adult education. In the late 1990s, I was Director of Lifelong Learning and Head of Humanities and Social Sciences in a local college. Between 2000 and 2004, I managed two history projects for Birmingham City Council, and worked as an examiner for the Open College Network. I also worked as a National Expert Advisor for the Heritage Lottery Fund. My initial work at the University was within the Centre for Lifelong Learning and the School of Education, where I was Lecturer in History and Heritage and successfully secured finance from the Heritage Lottery Fund and European Social Fund for two projects.
Since 2007 I have been a member of staff in the School of History and Cultures. Currently, I am Director of the Centre for West Midlands History, one of the research centres in the School, and Convenor of the MA in West Midlands History, as well as a teacher of undergraduate modules and supervisor of research students who specialize mainly but not exclusively in the history of the Midlands.
Outside of the School I have also worked on MA programmes at the Ironbridge Institute and developing approaches to Impact and Knowledge Exchange within the College of Arts and Law. I am also on the board of the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University and on the committee of the journal Midland History. I work extensively with local heritage organizations to develop research projects, teaching programmes and public engagement activities.
- Dissertation Supervision
- Special Subject: Britain, the slave trade and anti-slavery
- MA in West Midlands History
- I am also involved in developing a cross-disciplinary distance learning MA in Heritage and Identity with colleagues in Archaeology.
I am able to offer supervision in the following areas:
- The history of the West Midlands since 1700
- The social and cultural history of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
I have successfully supervised several research degrees since 2010. These include:
- Close Encounters: The Personal and Social Life of Anna Seward, 1742-1809 (with English), MLitt, 2011
- Robert Bage's contribution to social equality (with English), MLitt, 2011
- Elizabeth Cadbury, 1858-1951 (AHRC Collaborative PhD with Birmingham Archives and Heritage and the Centre for Quaker Studies), PhD, 2012
- Constructing the eighteenth-century woman: the life and education of Sabrina Sidney, PhD, 2013
- ‘To the Bull Ring!’ Politics Protest and Policing in Birmingham during the early Chartist period, MRes, 2014
- Samuel Johnson: a promoter of useful knowledge and social improvement, PhD, 2014
I am also supervising several research theses at the present time
- The cultural journey of Anne Yearsley 1753- 1806
- The carriage of goods in and out of Birmingham in the eighteenth century
- Industrialisation and urbanisation in Broseley, Shropshire
- The origins, development and influence of William Shenstone’s landscape design at the Leasowes, Halesowen
- Paying the price for industrialisation: the experience of a Black Country town, Oldbury, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
- Intellectual communities and industry in Shropshire in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
- The origins, development and influence of William Shenstone’s landscape design at the Leasowes, Halesowen
- Urban gardens in the West Midlands manufacturing towns of the eighteenth century
- George Edmunds and the making of Birmingham radicalism
- Entrepreneurial influence and technological change: the rise and decline of the West Midlands cut-nail trade, c.1811-1914
- The development of reformatory and industrial schools in Victorian Birmingham, 1850 to c. 1900
- Medical care in the workhouses in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, 1839-1912
- The development of a late nineteenth-century Birmingham suburb: Moseley, 1850-1900
- Reasons to remember: commemorating the great and the good in late Victorian and Edwardian Birmingham
- Birmingham exceptionalism, Joseph Chamberlain and the 1906 general election
- Birmingham manufacturing and its workforce during the Second World War
- Politics, governance and the shaping of Smethwick since 1945
My research and publications interests are in the history of the West Midlands with special reference to the Midlands Enlightenment of the late eighteenth century, the development of Birmingham and the Black Country and the history of ethnic minority communities. I have contributed to books on approaches to the study of local history and Matthew Boulton. I have also co-edited an edition of the journal Midland History on the history of ethnic communities in the Midlands. Other interests of mine include the impact of industrial development and the representation of heritage, past and present. My current projects include work on early Quaker industrialists, John Baskerville (the Birmingham industrialist and printer) and James Watt (the entrepreneur and inventor).
My initial research and publications were in the social history of mass schooling in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Since 2000, my interest has shifted to explore the history of the Midlands region. I managed and acted as editor of the Millennibrum Project (Birmingham City Council) from 2000 to 2002, which created a multi-media archive of Birmingham's history since 1945. I also managed and directed the research for the Revolutionary Players Project (Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery) from 2002 to 2004, which created a digital resource for students and researchers on the history of the West Midlands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: www.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk.
I also ran the Joseph Priestley and Birmingham Project which resulted in an edited publication, Joseph Priestley and Birmingham (2005), an exhibition, town trail and DVD, Joseph Priestley: an eighteenth-century scientist (2007). I also ran the Joseph Priestley and Birmingham Project which resulted in an edited publication, (2005), an exhibition, town trail and DVD, (2007).
Malcolm discusses his research into the West Midlands enlightenment and the development of minority communities
I believe in working collaboratively with heritage organisations, community groups and independent scholars who have an interest in historical research and the creation and dissemination of knowledge. I have acted as a consultant for Hindu and Muslim history projects in Birmingham and worked on the advisory boards of three projects for Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery: Equiano, Matthew Boulton 2009 and Birmingham: a City in the Making. I have been a National Expert Advisor for the Heritage Lottery Fund and a member of the Heritage Committee of Birmingham Civic Society and co-chair of the Heritage Committee of the Lunar Society. I have also lectured to community groups and local and national heritage organizations on historical subjects and diversity issues. I am a trustee of the Black Country Living Museum, Vice President of the Pen Trade Museum.
I believe in working collaboratively with academics outside of History and to this end, I am helping to develop a cross-disciplinary project on James Watt with academics in other schools, heritage organisations and local communities. I am also collaborating with Professor Caroline Archer of Birmingham City University to develop a range of projects devoted to John Baskerville.
- Birmingham: A History of the People and the City (Birmingham, Birmingham City Council, 2005)
- Celebrating Sanctuary: Birmingham and the Refugee Experience 1750-2002 (Birmingham, 2001 and 2002)
- Editor, ‘The West Midlands Enlightenment’, History West Midlands, vol. 1, Issue 1, Spring 2013
- Editor, ‘Moving into the West Midlands’, History West Midlands, vol. 1, Issue 2, Summer 2013
- Editor, ‘The Word in the West Midlands’, History West Midlands, vol. 1, Issue 3, Winter 2013
- Editor, ‘Glass and Glassmaking’, History West Midlands, vol. 2, Issue 1, Spring 2014
- Editor, ‘Joseph Chamberlain: Man, Politician and Icon’, History West Midlands, vol. 2, Issue 2, Summer 2014
- Co-editor with Professor Ken Quickenden and Dr Sally Baggott, Matthew Boulton - Enterprising Industrialist of the Enlightenment (Ashgate, forthcoming 2013)
- Co-editor with Dr Rajinder Dudrah, Ethnic Community Histories in the Midlands, Special Edition of Midland History, vol. 36, no. 2, Autumn 2011
- Co-editor with Philip K Wilson and Elizabeth A Dolan, Anna Seward’s Life of Erasmus Darwin (Studley, Brewin Books, 2010)
- Editor, Matthew Boulton: a Revolutionary Player (Studley, Brewin Books, 2009)
- Co-editor with Mahdoom Chishti, Lok Virsa, Exploring the Muslim Heritage (Studley, Brewin Books, 2008)
- With Professor Ruth Watts, Eighteenth Century Education: discourses and informal agencies, Special Edition of History of Education, 2008
- Editor and main contributor, Joseph Priestley and Birmingham (Studley, Brewin Books, 2005)
- Editor and main contributor, Millennibrum Edition of the Birmingham Historian, October 2001
- Editor, Black Country Partnership for Learning Widening Participation Project, Final Report (Dudley, 2000)
- Editor, Education and Employment: Initiatives and Experiences 1780 to the Present (Leicester, History of Education Society, 1989)
Contributions to books
- ‘The Death of Matthew Boulton 1809: Ceremony, Controversy and Commemoration’, in Sally Baggott, Malcolm Dick and Ken Quickenden (eds), Matthew Boulton - Enterprising Industrialist of the Enlightenment (Ashgate, 2013).
- ‘Locality and diversity: minority ethnic communities in the writing of Birmingham’s history’, in Christopher Dyer et al, Local History: New Directions after Hoskins (University of Hertfordshire Press, 2011)
- With Philip K Wilson and Elizabeth A Dolan, ‘Introduction’, in Anna Seward’s Life of Erasmus Darwin (Studley, Brewin Books, 2010)
- ‘Introduction - Matthew Boulton: a Revolutionary Player?’, in Dick (ed.), Matthew Boulton: a Revolutionary Player (Studley, Brewin Books, 2009)
- ‘Sunday School’ and ‘Public Library’, in Gary McCulloch (ed.), The International Encyclopaedia of Education (Routledge and Taylor and Francis, 2007)
- ‘Introduction: Joseph Priestley and Birmingham’, ‘Joseph Priestley: A Timeline’, ‘Joseph Priestley, the Lunar Society and Anti-slavery’, ‘Joseph Priestley and America’, ‘Joseph Priestley: A Guide to Further Study’ and ‘The Words of Joseph Priestley’, in Dick, Joseph Priestley and Birmingham (Studley, Brewin Books, 2005)
- ‘Introduction’ in Mohsen Keiany, Conflict and Spirituality, Exhibition Catalogue (Birmingham, 2004)
- ‘In some ways I think I am English: Personal and Cultural Identities in Birmingham 1945-2003’, in Chris Hart (ed.), Approaches to Englishness, Past Present and Future (Birmingham, 2003)
- ‘Travelling through Time: Migration and the Black Experience’, in Ian Grosvenor, et al (eds), Making Connections: Birmingham Black International History (Birmingham, Black Pasts, Birmingham Futures Group, 2002)
- ‘Introduction’ and ‘The Theory and Practice of Pre-Vocational Education 1780-1840’, in Dick (ed.), Education and Employment: Initiatives and Experiences 1780 to the Present (Leicester, History of Education Society, 1989)
- ‘Religion and the Origins of Mass Schooling: The English Sunday School, c. 1780-1840’, in V A McClelland (ed.), The Churches and Education (Leicester, History of Education Society, 1984)
- ‘Urban Growth and the Social Role of the Stockport Sunday School, c. 1780-1833’, in John Ferguson (ed.), Christianity, Society and Education (London, SPCK, 1981)
- With Rajinder Dudrah, ‘Introduction: Ethnic Community Histories in the Midlands’, Midland History, vol. 36, no. 2, Autumn 2011
- ‘Birmingham Anglo-Jewry c.1780 - c.1880: Origins, Experiences and Representations’, Midland History, vol. 36, no. 2, Autumn 2011
- With Ruth Watts Eighteenth-century education: discourses and informal agencies, History of Education, vol. 37, no. 4, July 2008
- ‘Discourses for the new industrial world: industrialisation and the education of the public in late eighteenth-century Britain’, History of Education, vol. 37, no. 4, July 2008
- ‘Promoting Joseph Priestley: The Joseph Priestley and Birmingham Project’, Local History Magazine, No. 100, Jan/Feb 2005
- ‘Staffordshire’, Your Family Tree, September 2004
- ‘Wolverhampton’, Your Family Tree, March 2004
- ‘The Myth of the Working-class Sunday School’, History of Education, 1980, Vol. 9, No. 1.
E-learning and web-based publications
- Joseph Priestley: an eighteenth-century scientist, DVD (Manchester, 2007). This DVD was described by the Schools Science Review, September 2008, 90, 330 as a ‘detailed, small-scale resource, which clearly describes the significance of Joseph Priestley's scientific experiments, whilst providing a fascinating insight into what it was like to be a scientist in the eighteenth century. This is an excellent example of an ICT resource that brings to life the How science works aspect of the national curriculum’.
- The Lunar Society, 2005 World English Edition of Encarta Encyclopaedia CD ROM (London and New York, Websters Multimedia, 2004).
- Editor of and main contributor to www.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk (Birmingham, 2003-2004). The website has been peer reviewed and described on Intute: Arts and Humanities (JISC, University of Oxford, Manchester Metropolitan University, Arts and Humanities Research Council) in the following terms:
Revolutionary Players is an excellent web site that explores the role of people and places in the West Midlands in the Industrial Revolution. The site is published by Birmingham Museums and Art Galleries as part of the Digital Midlands Consortium. The site charts the development of the Industrial Revolution from 1700-1830 using a wide selection of primary source material taken from libraries, museums and archives in the West Midlands. This content can be explored in several ways: by searching the digital library of primary sources, the image gallery or biographies; by browsing through content by county, theme or timeline; or by using one of the excellent learning journeys available. (Source)
- With Rajinder K Dudrah, New Communities in Handsworth, www.digitalhandswoth.org.uk (Birmingham, 2003)
- Celebrating Sanctuary: Birmingham and the Refugee Experience 1750-2002 www.birmingham.gov.uk (Birmingham, 2002).
- Editor and main contributor to Millennibrum: Bringing Birmingham History to Life CD-ROM (Birmingham, Birmingham City Council, 2002)
- Editor: www.millennibrum.org (Birmingham, 2000-2001)