Researching student histories: Methodological and theoretical aspects

Event Details

  • Event date:
  • Venue:
  • CFP Deadline: 01/11/2021

Student life has changed radically over the last hundred years, and research is increasingly highlighting how changes in the student community, organising and experience has anticipated broader social and cultural changes. This is an apposite time to take stock of these shifts: 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the creation by students’ unions of the National Union of Students (NUS) in England and Wales. To celebrate, a series of events are being organised to highlight the history and work of students. Over the past few years research into the history of students’ unions/NUS, and student movements more broadly, has grown substantially. This scholarship has drawn attention to how students have negotiated issues around citizenship, service, politics, youth, sexuality, health, welfare and the very purpose of the university. This research has stimulated interest in and questions around sources, theories and methodologies: how can historians grasp and understand student life in the past, and what particular challenges and opportunities do student-produced materials present? 


We invite proposals for presentations which explore the methodological and/or theoretical aspects of conducting research on student, university and students’ union/NUS history, including but not limited to: 

  • approaches to using student press and media
  • finding and using oral histories 
  • material culture and ephemera 
  • tackling difficult topics in the archives

Presentations in a range of formats and covering a range of geographical locations are welcome. We welcome contributions from people at all stages of their careers including current students. 

We envisage a connected series of events across 2022, some online and some in person (COVID restrictions allowing) in February (press), July (oral history) and September (material culture). We hope that these events will result in a journal special issue. 

The full programme will be announced at a launch event in late 2021.

Please submit abstracts of 300 words outlining your potential presentation, and a short bio, to: by 4pm on Monday 1st November 2021. 

Organising committee: Dr Georgina Brewis, Dr Jodi Burkett, Dr Sarah Crook, Mike Day, Emily Sharp       

NUS100 CFP Final