Stuart Hall Archive Project: Conjunctures, Dialogues, Readings

The Stuart Hall Archive Project is a major multi-disciplinary research project that will expand public understanding and engagement with the work of the celebrated cultural theorist, Professor Stuart Hall.

Launched in July 2023, the project has financial support from the University of Birmingham for an initial three year period.

Stuart Hall was a Jamaican-British academic, writer, cultural studies pioneer, public intellectual and teacher who was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1932. As a leading public intellectual, Hall made significant interventions in the cultural and political life of Britain, was foundational to the development of a new research field (cultural studies), and contributed to major political and cultural debates throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Hall was Director of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham from 1964 to 1979.

Aims and objectives

Using the papers of Stuart Hall, deposited at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham, the Stuart Hall Archive Project has two inter-related research aims:

  • to forge a new space for dialogue between Hall’s intellectual and political legacy and contemporary questions arising from present constituencies and communities using the archive as a catalyst;
  • to explore the history of his intellectual and political formation and development at specific conjunctures as that is evident in the archive.

These aims are supported by the following objectives:

1)    Conjunctures: To develop a programme of engagement with the ‘extended Caribbean’, cultural and social diasporas, and minoritized communities, that platforms new questions, knowledges, practices, and pedagogies. Led by Prof Pat Noxolo with Rita Gayle.

2)    Dialogues: To digitise the archive and to develop new methods of engagement with the materials to make those more accessible and to introduce new questions of historical and contemporary relevance. Led by Rebecca Roach with Katy Parsons.

3)    Readings: To recover previously unpublished or under-appreciated work by Stuart Hall and situate that work in his intellectual and political formation and development. Led by Nick Beech.

A key outcome of the research is to establish a permanent platform for further research and public outreach that extends Stuart Hall’s legacy in Birmingham and beyond.

Research team

The Archive

Hall’s papers were deposited at the Cadbury Research Library in 2018 and opened in 2019. Consisting of 89 boxes, containing representative material—in the form of papers, including unpublished reports, essays, scripts and speeches; teaching material; correspondence; editorial material; notes; ephemera and cuttings; and both audio recordings and video cassettes; covering a period from c.1950 to c.2010—the archive is a unique resource.

The following periods are well represented (for fuller details visit the Cadbury Research Library):

  • c.1956¬–1962: during which Hall was an editor of the Universities and Left Review and subsequently New Left Review, and contributed to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) [9 boxes]
  • c.1968¬–1979: during which Hall was Acting and then Director of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) [13 boxes]
  • c.1979¬–1997: during which Hall was Professor of Sociology at the Open University – much of the material from this period is audio-visual in nature [7 boxes, 6 of which contain magnetic tapes – audio and audio-visual]

A very large amount of the material (50 boxes) remains unsorted, with drafts of published and unpublished essays and books; teaching syllabi and lectures; academic and public talks; and correspondence that relate to all of the periods set out above and later. Because Hall engaged across distinct institutions and specific practices and disciplines, deliberately and actively seeking to disrupt distinctions and boundaries, his papers are particularly rich and complex for contemporary study, directly linking together the minutiae of intellectual life from the mid-twentieth century to the present with the array of cultural and social structures and events through which that intellectual life was lived. Nor can Hall’s papers be understood in isolation—a number of institutional archives and personal paper depositories can be brought into relation with Hall’s papers in order to understand his formation and development, and to bring his work into dialogue with contemporary concerns and questions.

The current finding aid for Stuart Hall’s papers can be found here:


VIDEO: project overview

Contact the team

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