Spreading the Word


Background to the project

In December 2014, the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund awarded the Cadbury Research Library (CRL), University of Birmingham, £94,468 for a two-year project called ‘Spreading the Word’. It aims to significantly improve the understanding, appreciation and use of the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts by:

1)      Investigating and documenting the untold stories behind the manuscripts,

2)      Testing new strategies to engage a larger, more diverse audience with this significant collection, and

3)      Offer paid work-based training for students interested in a career in the heritage sector.

The project crossed over with the University’s announcement and subsequent press coverage and public exhibition surrounding the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript. This created additional opportunities for engagement which were not predicated in the original project plan.

project-overviewHighlights of the project

Work with trainee teachers

Trainee teachers investigate manuscripts during a handling session.


Students from Dudley during a handling session.


University of Birmingham student internships

Shantok, Mingana Collection intern, prepares a jigsaw puzzle for the University's Community Day.


Creative project with women's community group

Photographs from the celebratory event held in November 2016, with members of the Go!-Woman Alliance to celebrate the completion of their book binding project and temporary exhibition.




History Quest

University of Birmingham Schools Engagement event - cuneiform tablets