2022 Conference

Voluntary Action History Society

7th International Conference

Voluntary Action in Changing Times: Creating History or Repeating It?

13-15 July 2022

University of Liverpool

Programme overview

Tuesday, 12 July 2022
19.00Pre-conference dinner for early arrivals. Booking required; e-mail  Pat Starkey patst@liverpool.ac.uk   Please note that this is not included in the conference feeThe Pen Factory
Wednesday, 13 July 2022
8.00-9.00Breakfast for early arrivals  Vine Court
10.30-12.00Registration and check-in   Tea & coffee  Social Space, First Floor, Hub502
12.00-13.00Plenary : Animal, Vegetable or Mineral: Can the Voluntary Sector Survive Hybridity? Colin Rochester, University of Kent  Flex 2
13.00-14.00Sandwich lunch  Social Space, First Floor  
14.00-15.30Parallel Paper Session A  Rooms Flex 1 & 2, Teaching Rooms 4 & 5  
15.30-15.45Tea & coffee  Social Space, First Floor  
15.45-17.15Parallel Paper Session B Rooms Flex 1 & 2, Teaching Rooms 4 & 5  
17.15-19.00Free time to explore or to rest   
19.00-20.30Dinner  Vine Court
20.30Voluntary Action History Quiz with George Gosling as Quizmaster https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philharmonic_Dining_Rooms  Philharmonic Dining Rooms
Thursday, 14 July 2022
8.00-9.00Breakfast  Vine Court
9.30-11.00Parallel Paper Session C  Hub502, Rooms Flex 1 & 2, Teaching Rooms 4 & 5  
11.00-11.30  Tea & coffee Bring and sell (or give away) session  Social Space, First Floor
11.30-13.00Parallel Paper Session D  Rooms Flex 1 & 2, Teaching Rooms 4 & 5  
13.00-14.00Sandwich lunch  Social Space, First Floor  
14.30-17.30    Outing to Royal Albert Dock, including talk and guided visit to International Slavery Museum and time for independent exploration https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/international-slavery-museum  Royal Albert Dock
19.30-20.00Drinks reception    Victoria Gallery and Museum
20.00-lateConference dinner   Jazz jollification: Home Brew (Colin Rochester’s band)Victoria Gallery and Museum    
Friday, 15 July 2022
8.00-9.00  Breakfast  Vine Court
9.30-11.00  Parallel Paper Session EHub502, Rooms Flex 1 & 2, Teaching Rooms 4 & 5  
11.00-11.30Tea & coffee  Social Space, First Floor
11.30-12.00Voluntary Action History Society AGM Flex 2
12.00-13.00Plenary Session:  Voluntary Action in Changing Times: Creating History or Repeating It? What have we learned?  Flex 2
13.00Sandwich lunch  Social Space, First Floor

Parallel Paper Sessions

Session A, Wednesday, 13 July 14.00-15.30

A1   Flex 2  Panel: Gender, generation and sociability at the grass roots, 1880-1914   Chair: Mary Clare Martin  
Mandy Barrie, The Women’s Co-operative Guild, 1883-1914: A study in local empowerment
Ruth Davidson, The local context: Suffrage and after, East Surrey, 1890s-1939
Mary Clare Martin, Gender, life course and sociability: Female activism at local, national and ecclesiastical level, 1880-1959
Claire Eustance, Branch culture and intergenerational relationships in the Women’s Freedom League in the interwar period
A2   Teaching Room 4  The impact of public opinion on voluntary action   Chair: Kerrie Holloway  
Anna Bocking-Welch, Donor demands and political controversies: Oxfam, Barclays and South Africa, 1970-90
Anna Maguire, Refugee resettlement, multi-culture and anti-racism in 1980s Britain
Peter Grant, Losing Trust? The National Trust, slavery and erasing history
A3   Flex 1The problem of the ‘poor’: two key thinkers   Chair: TBA  
Sheila Blackburn and Diane Frost, The persistence of poverty: Charles Booth as a Victorian social explorer among the London and Liverpool urban poor
Helen Clare Cromarty, William Penny Brookes and the Wenlock Olympian Games
A4   Teaching Room 5Blurred lines: Young people, voluntary action and the frontiers of the state   Chair: TBA  
Robert Snape, Voluntary youth work and the new philanthropy in inter-war Britain: The road to National Youth Service
Michael Lambert, The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in the era of the Curtis Crusade: Child welfare and the frontiers of the state, 1948-70

Session B, Wednesday, 13 July, 15.45-17.15

B1   Flex 2    Panel: Charity archives: Recent interventions and initiatives in a neglected archives sector   Chair: Georgina Brewis  
Paul Beard, Charity and voluntary sector archives at risk: Conceptualising and contextualising a neglected archives sector
Helena Smart, Charity archives in the collections of the Liverpool Central Library and Archives
Kathryn Preston, Charity Archives Development Plan
B2   Teaching Room 4What do women want? The battle for equality in social policy   Chair: TBA  
Alice McKimm, The women’s shelter movements in Scotland and England since 1971
Ruth Davidson, Whose family? Women’s rights and family policy in 1980s Britain
Michele Santoro, Women’s participation and social demands in the Italian 1960s: The case study of the CNDI (National Council of Italian Women) ZOOM
B3   Flex 1  Organising for ourselves: The role of volunteers and voluntary organisations in communities of interest and place   Chair: TBA  
Helen Monro, For self and community: The influence of voluntary associations in Victoria’s country towns, 1851-1901
Pat Starkey, The Liverpool Civic Service League
Christine Woyshner, The educational activities of African American voluntary organisations: The Black Elks, 1898-1954 ZOOM
B4   Teaching Room 5Business in the community: Commercialism and voluntarism   Chair:  
George Gosling, Localism, commercialism and the British charity shop, 1940s-1970s
Gillian Murray, The ‘co-operative imagination’: Scotland’s community business movement and the moral economies of deindustrialisation in the 1980s and 1990s

Session C, Thursday, 14 July, 9:30-11.00

C1   Flex 2    Panel: Border crossings: Charity and voluntarism in Britain’s mixed economy of health care since 1948   Chair: George Gosling  
Steph Haywood, ‘The Victoria Hospital is dead, long live the Victoria Hospital’: The legacy of the first voluntary hospital established in the UK after 1948
Rosemary Cresswell, ‘Cinderella’ services, charity and the early NHS
Agnes Arnold-Forster, Mrs Iris Brook and the management of Guy’s Hospital’s charitable funds, 1948-1974
C2   Teaching Room 4Varieties of faith-based voluntary action   Chair: TBA  
Zhenzhen Zhou, Sympathy education and the NSPCC’s League of Pity, 1893-1913
Amy Grant, ‘A strange sanctuary’: State, hate, and God in late twentieth century Britain
Caroline Adams and Janette Young, Anglican women volunteers in Adelaide, post-World War I to the 21st century: From baking cakes to implementing ‘tap and go’ readers ZOOM
C3   Flex 1  Power to the people: Mobilising voluntary action for rights   Chair: TBA  
Boaz Berger, A double-edge sword? Mobilising voluntary action and British Parliamentary responsibility in the 1780s
Anna Bocking Welch, Richard Huzzey, Cristina Leston-Bandeira and Henry Miller, Petitioning and people power in twentieth century Britain: Pressure politics, public engagement and the multi-use petition
Michael Locke and Jurgen Grotz, The Volunteer Rights Inquiry – historical context and current questions
C4   Teaching Room 5What’s ‘wrong’ with the kids? Young people as a social problem group   Chair: TBA  
Elizabeth Kirkland, From metropole to Montreal: Exploring the risky migration experience of young domestic workers at the change of the twentieth century
Charlotte Clements: 130 years of Merseyside Youth Association: Co-production in histories of voluntary action ZOOM
Marta Starostina, AIESEC: Its economic, political and social challenges [AIESEC is international youth-run, non-governmental and not-for-profit organization that provides young people with leadership development, cross-cultural internships, and global volunteer exchange experiences]

Session D, Thursday, 14 July, 11:30 – 13.00

D1   Flex 2Developing new ways of raising funds   Chair: TBA  
John McLoughlin, Massachusetts and London in the 1640s: A case study in telling the history of fundraising and philanthropy
Marty Sulek, The last romantic war: The genesis of modern wartime humanitarian relief in the Crimean War of 1853-56
Carlo De Nuzzo, The ‘Famine de coton’ and subscriptions in the Journal de Rouen, 1861-63
D2   Teaching Room 4Doing ‘with’ or doing ‘for’: Local voluntary action   Chair: TBA  
Ellie Munro, Historicising voluntary action in Birmingham, 1965-2010
Suzanne Martikke, Is volunteering ‘doing with’ or ‘doing for’? Volunteering and social capital at a community-run library and a foodbank
D3   Flex 1    Do we ever learn? The relationship of the past to the present   Chair: TBA  
Wendy Wiertz, Creating and repeating history: Lace aid programmes in the First World War
Kerrie Holloway, ‘Conditions of an ant-heap’: Parallels between the Spanish refugees of 1939 and the contemporary Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh
Mike Locke, Volunteering in disasters: a review ZOOM
D4   Teaching Room 5What do women do? Varieties of engagement   Chair: TBA  
Jayne Lacny, Female philanthropic voluntary action: The battle for the hearts, minds and souls of Victorian sailors and their families
Philip Milnes-Smith, Once forgotten, never seen? Mary Wardell & the Convalescent Home for Scarlet Fever in Stanmore
Ana Kladnik, Women Firefighters at the Firefighting Olympics

Session E, 15 July, 9.30-11.00

E1   Flex 2Panel 4: Volunteering in community businesses: Review of recent research by Power to Change   Chair: Richard Harries  
Richard Harries, Volunteering in community business: A digest of recent work
Angela Ellis Paine, Volunteering in community business: Meaning, practice and management
Annabel Litchfield, Mylene Pacot and Sarah Thelwall, Valuing the contribution of volunteers to community businesses supported by the Community Business Fund
Rachael Archer, The role of volunteers in community businesses ZOOM
E2   Teaching Room 4An infinite variety of voluntary action: People step up   Chair: TBA  
Robert Piggott, A League of their own: Hospital Friends and the NHS
Henry Irving, Rubbish dumps, recycling bins and the frontier between state and voluntary action in Second World War Britain
Eleanor O’Keefe, The 32,000 different hands of history – a micro analysis of volunteering in Blood Swept Lands & Seas of Red ZOOM
E3   Flex 1    Useful knowledge: New thinking about voluntary action history   Chair: TBA  
Jurgen Grotz & Colin Rochester, The establishment of a research institution dedicated to volunteering in England: The Institute for Volunteering Research and its context, 1998-2018
Meta Zimmeck, ‘Proper’ voluntary action? ‘Proper’ history? Difficulties in writing a history of voluntary action and the provision of PPE during the pandemic
Rhodri Davies, Using charity history in practice

Contact us:

For information about the conference programme e-mail Meta Zimmeck:


For information about booking and other administrative issues e-mail Becki Harris: