Knowledge Matters blog

Behind the scenes at the British Library

27 January 2023

Voyages of discovery: Collaborative Doctoral Partnership projects at the British Library

Every year, we invite staff across the Library to propose new research themes for our Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) programme, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). CDP projects are created to reflect our wider strategic commitments to Living Knowledge, and offer exciting opportunities to bring under-researched collection areas to the fore.

In this blog we will meet three of our recent CDP students, Dominic Bridge, Jodie Collins and Naomi Oppenheim, and learn about their research projects. Find out more by watching their short video case studies.

Dominic Bridge

Dominic has a CDP studentship between the British Library and the University of Liverpool. His research focuses on music publishing in the 18th and 19th centuries, capitalising on the breadth and depth of our collections in this area. He shows how scores and musical manuscripts reflect the culture in which they were made, and particularly attitudes like patriotism and social expectations of women . Dominic benefited from many professional development opportunities during his CDP.

“Working on the [Beethoven] exhibition at the Library was a great opportunity … and I would not have the opportunity to do that anywhere else.”

Jodie Collins

Jodie shared her partnership with the University of Sussex, researching American political pamphlets published in between 1917 and 1945. Her CDP has offered her the chance to work with the Marx Memorial Library as well, and give people beyond academia an insight into what is available at the Library, and why our collections are important. Jodie enjoyed the public facing aspect of research that the Library offers.

“Doing a CDP is unparalleled in terms of access to resources … It’s kind of like the voyage of discovery.”

Naomi Oppenheim

Naomi was a CDP student based at University College London. Her research is about Caribbean publishing since the early 19th century, and specifically Latin-Caribbean publishing in post-war Britain. She was supported in engaging broader audiences, working on the ‘Caribbean Foodways’ project which emphasises the importance of food in understanding Caribbean culture through oral history interviews, which have been deposited in the Library’s Sound Archive. She also helped to develop the Windrush exhibition in 2018.

“Having that opportunity to funnel my research into a public facing exhibition is a once in a lifetime experience.”

These videos demonstrate how CDPs enable great opportunities in research and engagement for the Library, beyond just the topic of the individual PhDs. They are vital for bringing together researchers, curators, and members of the public, and stimulating future research.

To be added to the mailing list for our quarterly research e-newsletter, where you can find out about future PhD opportunities, please contact [email protected]

Saad Hujaleh

Research Information and Communication Apprentice