Research outputs

Special Collections is keen to collaborate on research proposals based on our collections and we are able to provide support and guidance in developing such proposals. We have recently worked on a number of highly successful research projects.

Stuart Hall Archive project (2023-2026)

Funded by the University of Birmingham, this multidisciplinary project will expand understanding and engagement with the work of the celebrated cultural theorist, Professor Stuart Hall, and with his archive, held at the University of Birmingham. The archive contains material relating to most aspects of Stuart Hall’s professional and political life and will be fully catalogued over the course of the project and selected material will be digitised. 

The archive includes papers relating to published and unpublished research and to seminars and lectures, as well as recordings of radio and television broadcasts, covering his wide-ranging research and political interests over the course of his life. Stuart Hall was a Jamaican-British academic, write, cultural studies pioneer, public intellectual and teacher who was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1932. He taught at the University of Birmingham from 1964 to 1979, and was Director of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies.

The project is centred on the archive, and is split into three main strands: Conjunctures, Readings and Dialogues.

Healthy Minds and Active Bodies: the promotion of health and wellbeing by UK youth movements (2021-2023)

Funded by The Wellcome Trust, this 24-month project focused on cataloguing and preserving the archives of two influential youth movements:

  • The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)
  • The Youth Hostels Association (YHA)

Both archives are held at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham. The YMCA archive comprises 978 boxes and the YHA archive comprises 405 boxes; all of which required detailed cataloguing in order to realise their full research potential. Both collections include minutes, reports, publications, photographs and ephemera. Material documents the work of both charities in improving young people’s physical health, mental wellbeing, and general fitness.

The outcomes of this project are two fully searchable electronic catalogues which enable access and reveal the full research potential of these internationally significant collections. Engagement activities with academics, researchers, students and members of the public ensure that the collections are visible across a broad range of audiences.

Child health and welfare: enabling access to the Save the Children archives (2019-2021)

Funded by The Wellcome Trust, this 24-month project focused on cataloguing and preserving the Save the Children archive (1919–2002), held at the University of Birmingham. The archive comprises 2,000 boxes of printed material, including minutes, project reports and publications. They document the charity’s work in child health, nutrition and well-being. 

Health and welfare of children is the guiding principle of Save the Children, the charity established by sisters Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton. Its objectives are to: preserve children’s lives; relieve children’s distress; promote child welfare; and improve the conditions of children’s life. Jebb’s Children’s Charter, drafted in 1922, evolved into the Convention on the Rights of the Child as adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989. 

The project created a fully searchable electronic catalogue revealing the full research potential of this collection. We established an ongoing programme to catalogue files once they are more than 25 years old. We also preserved thousands of photographs and transparencies through repackaging activities.

New ideas

In the first instance please email the Cadbury Research library to discuss suggestions and ideas for proposals.