Welcome to the Voluntary Action History Society!

Our seminars are currently on hold. The Institute of Historical Research is not available for in-person seminars in the autumn term, and after the New Year it may be able to offer some limited facilities for some seminar groups in order to comply with social distancing rules. We are keeping a watching brief on what facilities will be available. We have for the moment rejected holding Zoom seminars, and we have looked into the possibility of holding in-person seminars at COVID-compliant venues (such as the Living Centre near the British Library) outside IHR. We will let you know as soon as possible what we will be doing and apologise to those confirmed speakers who are gallantly awaiting their moment. And please note we have a new seminar convenor – Mike Locke – who can be contacted on mike.s.locke@gmail.com.

2020 Annual General Meeting
Our AGM will take place on 30 November from 6-7pm via Zoom. We will be sending an invitation to all paid members soon, to which you can RSVP to receive dial-in details. If you haven’t received an invitation by 15 November, and you think you have paid your membership dues for this year, please do send an email to Meta Zimmeck on mzimmeck@btinternet.com.


24/10/20: Our 2019-2020 annual accounts are now available. You can find all our annual accounts on the ‘Annual Accounts’ page (under ‘About Us’).

29/09/20: The Covid-19 crisis has involved profound and acute challenges for many voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises. An online discussion will be held on 12 October, organised by the ESRC-funded Discourses of Voluntary Action Study in association with History & Policy, to look at how the changing role and contribution of voluntary action in social welfare can inform our response to and recovery from Covid-19.

This session will discuss this issue, drawing from the findings of a two-year research study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) which compared debates on the role and contribution of voluntary action in the 1940s and 2010s – two “Transformational Moments” in the shape and direction of social welfare services across England. You’ll hear a brief summary of the research (which you can read more about in this briefing), and then from four voluntary sector leaders, looking ahead to the role of voluntary action and the state in social welfare in the 2020s.

Date: 12thOctober 2020
Time: 4.00-5.30pm
Virtual place: Zoom, Please register via this linkhttps://bham-ac-uk.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ZBXRZgQNTPSxVDnA2C5p8Q

Introduced and chaired by Baroness Jill Pitkeathley, the event features a panel of speakers including:

Irene Hardill, University of Northumbria
Kathy Evans, Children England
Kayleigh Wainwright, UK Youth
Karl Wilding, National Council for Voluntary Organisations
Steph Harland, Age UK

01/07/20: Our International Conference, VOLUNTARY ACTION IN CHANGING TIMES: CREATING HISTORY OR REPEATING IT? will now be held on 7-9 July 2021 at the University of Liverpool. We have been working in partnership with the University, which has extended our contract at no increased cost. All speakers have indicated that they are still up for the conference next year, and we have room for additional speakers as well. If you are interested in giving a paper, please get in touch with Meta Zimmeck on mzimmeck@btinternet.com. This should be of interest to all of you who have now had time to progress on-going projects.

05/05/20: Meta Zimmeck has written a blog, entitled ‘Voluntary Action in Changing Times: Creating History or Repeating It? Some advice for researchers’, which you can read here.

19/03/20: Colin Rochester has reviewed Bob Snape’s recent book on Leisure, Voluntary Action and Social Change 1880–1939, which he calls a ‘major contribution to the historiography of voluntary action’. Read the review on our blog.


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