Seminars since 2006


Monday, 19 February 2024 – Hybrid
Ian Bruce, Bayes Business School
The Successful Impact of Changing Philosophy and Methods of Charity Campaigning – Disability Rights and Benefits 1970 to 2010.

Monday, 5 February 2024 – Online event
Howard Lake (Giving X) and Sarah Hughes (Beacon Collaborative)
Charity sector digital infrastructure – the early days.

Monday, 8 January 2024 – Online event
Marina Jones, English National Opera
I want to die in the Auditorium.


Monday, 4 December 2023 – Online event
Paul Beard, UCL and The National Archives
Recordkeeping Cultures and the Voluntary Sector: A case study of Child Action Northwest.

Monday, 6 November 2023 – Hybrid event
Nick Bailey, University of Leeds
‘There is an abundance of work for all wounded soldiers… provided sobriety and good conduct are united’: Disabled ex-service men and their transition to civilian life in the Corps of Commissionaires – 1859 to 1939.

Monday, 23 October 2023 – Online event
Alexander Jackson, National Football Museum
A Chain of Sympathy: Voluntary and Charitable Action in English Football 1914 – 1918.

Monday, 26 June 2023
Mary Joannou, Anglia Ruskin University
Women’s Voluntary Activist in Early-Twentieth-Century Cambridge.

Monday, 12 June 2023
Wendy Wiertz, University of Huddersfield
Lacemaking, Women and Humanitarian Aid.

Monday, 15 May 2023
Sandip Kana, Kings College London
Voluntarism in an Age of Empire: Rethinking development in colonial India.

Monday, 27 March 2023
Esme Cleall, University of Sheffield
Saving the other at home and overseas: philanthropy and disability in nineteenth-century Britain and its Empire.

Monday, 13 March 2023
Helen Baczkowska (writer and ecologist), John Stewart (Campaign for Better Transport), Rebecca Lush (Transport Action Network)
Road Building in the UK over the last 50 years: the influence of campaign.

Monday, 27 February 2023 – postponed due to UCU industrial action.
Sandip Kana, Kings College London
Voluntarism in an Age of Empire: Rethinking development in colonial India.

Monday, 30 January 2023
Ciarán McCabe, Queen University Belfast
‘There is scarcely a greater plague that can infest society than swarms of beggars’: the ris and fall of the mendicity society movement in Ireland, 1815-45.


Monday, 12 December 2022
Michael Reeve, Bishop Grosseteste University Lincoln
An ‘article of luxury and need’: voluntary action, military welfare and the provision of cigarettes to soldiers during the First World War.

Monday, 17 October 2022
Daniel Laqua, Northumbria University
Writing Histories of Transnational Activism


Monday, 6 December 2021
Georgina Brewis, UCL Institute of Education; Angela Ellis Paine, University of Birmingham; Irene Hardill, Northumbria University; Rose Lindsey, University of Southampton; Rob Macmillan, Sheffield Hallam University
Co-curation and archival interventions: Reflections from an interdisciplinary project using voluntary sector records

Monday, 22 November 2021
Massimiliano Papini, Northumbria University
The Idea of Japan in Victorian Charity Bazaars: Fundraising, Orientalism and Transculturality in the North East of England, 1867—1912

Monday, 8 November 2021
George Gosling, University of Wolverhampton
The Shopkeepers of St Dunstan’s: From Blind Veterans to Businessmen and Breadwinners

Monday 11 October 2021
Michael Lambert, Lancaster University
The hospital that jack built: planning, moving frontiers, and the nationalisation of health services in Liverpool, 1929–78


Monday 9 March 2020
Sir Stuart Etherington
A witness seminar

Monday 24 February 2020
Marjorie Gehrhardt, University of Reading
Philanthropy at war: oeuvres de guerre in WW1 France

Monday 10 February 2020
Mary Clare Martin, University of Greenwich
Christian socialism and voluntary action: feminism, suffrage, and politics, 1880-1950


Monday 2 December 2019
Emily Barker, University of Greenwich
Intersecting Disciplines: Using Intersectionality in Histories of Migrant Children’s Play and Peer Groups

Monday 18 November 2019
Ellie Munro, University of Birmingham
Social work and voluntary action: the Seebohm Committee Report 50(ish) years on

Monday 04 November 2019
Justin Davis Smith, Cass Business School
Writing the history of the NCVO – the pros and perils of an insider perspective

Monday 21 October 2019
Christala Sophocleous and Dan Wincott, Cardiff University
Territory, timing and voluntary action: the Council of Social Service for Wales and a new historiography of the ‘British Welfare State’

Monday 23 September 2019
Alison Penn, Open University
Metaphysical Motherhood? The Case of St Michael’s Fellowship, 1903-1914

Monday 10 June 2019
Barry Knight, Centris
40 years of bumpy road
Read the paper

Monday 13 May 2019
Michael Nelles, The Institute of Conservation/University of Southampton
The uneven stage: conditions influencing the instigation of local historic buildings preservation groups in the mid-20th century

Monday 29 April 2019
Peter Grant, City University
The psychogeography of philanthropy

Monday 18 March 2019
Mel Wright
Sometimes there’s a breakthrough! Neighbourhood action and social support since 1977

Monday 4 March 2019
Alex Murdock, London South Bank University
How food got its bank: The background and evolution of food banking

Monday 18 February 2019
Aoife O’Leary McNeice, University of Cambridge
The British Relief Association and Global Philanthropy during the Great Irish Famine

Monday 4 February 2019
Colin Rochester, University of Kent
Hybrid Organisations Past and Present

Monday 21 January 2019
Andrew Jones
Jonathan Dimbleby’s Unknown Famine: Television, Humanitarianism and Politics in Britain


Monday 26 November 2018
Sean Crighton, Independent historian, British black history, slavery and abolition, 18th Century, labour, radical movements, and sport and culture
The Big Society in the First World War

Monday 12 November 2018
Caroline Diehl MBE, Social Founder Network/Media Trust
Social Founders: stories, history and legacy of some of the many wonderful founders who created the Voluntary Sector we know today

Monday 29 October 2018
Meg Venter, The National Archives
The past, present and future of charity archives

Monday 4 May 2018
Paul Mersh, University of Greenwich
The Military and voluntary action in Gravesend, Kent 1860 to 1872

Monday 16 April 2018
Lester Hillman
Blue Sky Thinking

Monday 12 February 2018
Marjorie Gehrhardt, University of Reading
The first charity shops? Salvation Army and Red Cross stores (1890s-1910s)

Monday 29 January 2018
Ann Nehlin, University of Stockholm
Building bridges of trust: child transports from Finland to Sweden during WWII
Listen to the podcast

Monday 15 January 2018
Beth Breeze, University of Kent
Invisibility and Infamy: exploring the history of fundraising in the UK
No podcast available


Monday 4 December 2017
Cathy Ross
Cloudesley: 500 years of Charity in Islington
Listen to the podcast

Monday 20 November 2017
Henry Irving, Leeds Becket University
Salvage Stewards: Promoting Recycling in the Second World War
No podcast available

Monday 6 November 2017
Shirley Otto
‘A Maverick’s Tale’: A Witness Seminar from an independent researcher who has been working with voluntary organisations since 1975
Listen to the podcast

Monday 23 October 2017
John Stewart, Glasgow Caledonian University
Richard Titmuss and Voluntary Action: From Problems of Social Policy to The Gift Relationship
Listen to the podcast

12 June 2017
Sian Roberts, University of Birmingham
Citizens of the world: Birmingham Quaker women, transnational voluntary service and the meaning of citizenship
Listen to the podcast

3 April 2017
George Campbell Gosling, University of Wolverhampton
Book Launch Seminar: Payment and Philanthropy in British Healthcare, 1918–48
Listen to the podcast

20 March 2017
Ruth Davidson, Kings College London
The Politics of Poverty: The Child Poverty Action Group, 1965-2015
Listen to the podcast

6 March 2017
Julian Simpson, University of Manchester
The first decade of the Overseas Doctors’ Association in the UK (1975-1985): model or ‘missed opportunity’?
Listen to the podcast

20 February 2017
Justin Davis Smith, CBE, Cass Business School
Witness Seminar: My Life in Volunteering in Three Stories
Listen to the podcast

23 January 2017
Kerrie Holloway, Queen Mary University of London
‘The curtain raiser of modern relief’:British Humanitarianism during the Spanish Civil War
No podcast available


28 November 2016
Louis Carserides, LSE
Fighting the ‘Masterplan’: The Crystal Palace Community Association’s Battle to Preserve a Grade II* Historic Victorian Park, 2007–2013
No podcast available

14 November 2016
Syed Owais, University of Warwick
Lost in Translation: An Historical Institutionalist Analysis of Contingencies in social mobilisation by an NGO in Pakistan since 1989
No podcast available

31 October 2016
Susan Cohen, University of Southampton
Eleanor Rathbone, MP, and the work of the Parliamentary Committee on Refugees (London 1938–1944/5)
No podcast available

17 October 2016
Paul V Dudman and Rumana Hashen, Co Founders of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration working group on refugee archives
Democratic Access or Privileged Exclusion? Oral history, civic engagement and the importance of refugee archives
View the slides

3 October 2016
Charlie Chih-Hao Lee, University of Cambridge
The Workers’ Educational Association and the State: Professionalisation and the Decline of the Idealist Spirit, 1919-45
No podcast available

13 June 2016
Michael Passmore
The Untold Story of the St Pancras House Improvement Society: More than Charismatic Leadership
Listen to the podcast

16 May 2016
Caitriona Beaumont, London South Bank University
Not just a “club for girls” but “a women’s movement”: the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), citizenship and voluntary action in Britain during the interwar years
Listen to the podcast

14 March 2016
Charlotte Clements, University of Kent
More than just a ‘sticking plaster’? Voluntary youth clubs and associations in the lives of young people in London and Liverpool 1960-1985
No podcast available

29 February 2016
Pat Gay
Witness seminar: The study of volunteering and volunteer management
Listen to the podcast

15 February 2016
Marcella Sutcliffe, University of Cambridge
Humanities activists and humanitarian aid in the First World War: G.M. Trevelyan, the British Red Cross and the Italian wounded
Listen to the podcast

18 January 2016
Sarah Flew, London School of Economics
A Study of Philanthropy: the Charitable Account Books of Lord Overstone, 1844-1883
Listen to the podcast


14 December 2015
Andrew Rudd, University of Exeter and former Parliamentary Manager at the Charity Commission
Charity in the Georgian Era – Lessons for Today?
Listen to the podcast

30 November 2015
Bridget Lockyer, Canterbury Christ Church University
‘I never wanted to participate in a charity’: Women’s relationship to voluntary work within the UK Women’s Liberation Movement
Listen to the podcast

16 November 2015
Mike Locke, formerly of East London University and Volunteering England
Witness Seminar: A Place in a Community
Listen to the podcast

19 October 2015
Bryce Evans, Liverpool Hope University
National Kitchens during World War I
Listen to the podcast

15 June 2015
Jim Butcher, Canterbury Christ Church University
Volunteer Tourism: Development, Altruism or Narcissism?
Listen to the podcast

1 June 2015
Ian Bruce, CBE
Witness: The voluntary organisation environment 1965–75 compared to 2005–2015—a personal account

20 May 2015
Gaynor Humphreys and Jenny Harrow
Witness: Girls in Gower Street—commitment, confidence and carrying on in London’s ‘LCSS’ in the 1970s

11 May 2015
Alex Mold, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Patient Organisations and Health Consumerism in Britain, 1960s-2010s

27 April 2015
Gareth Millward, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Who decides how “safe” is “safe”? The pertussis vaccine scare and the Vaccination Damage Payments Act 1979
Listen to the podcast

16 March 2015
Marian Flint
‘People of our condition have not any right to expect stability, or certainty of subsistence’—Middle-class men’s experience of receiving charity in mid-nineteenth century England
Listen to the podcast

2 February 2015
Michael Nelles, University of Southampton
Saving Winchester: Voluntary Societies, Historic Buildings and Urban Redevelopment
Listen to the podcast

19 January 2015
Duncan Scott
The Making of a Social Researcher
Listen to the podcast


8 December 2014
Janine Stanford, The Children’s Society
Unexplored Riches in Medical History at The Children’s Society

24 November 2014
Matthew Grant, University of Essex
Historicizing Citizenship in Cold War Britain: Obligations, Voluntary Action, and Exclusion
Listen to the podcast

27 October 2014
Don Harrison
Learning from Britain’s Development NGOs: A Case Study of Oxfam’s Education Department during the Development Decades 1960–1980
Listen to the podcast

13 October 2014
Andrew Jones, University of Birmingham
The Humanitarian Industry in Britain: An Early History of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), 1963–1985
No podcast available

23 June 2014
Bill Squire
Some Reflections on Philanthropy with Special Reference to Higher Education
Listen to the podcast

9 June 2014
Thomas Davies, City University London
International NGOs: New Directions for Historical Research
Listen to the podcast

12 May 2014
Michael Weatherburn, Imperial College London
Work Motivation Experiments in the Interwar Cocoa Works
Listen to the podcast

20 March 2014
Ann Nehlin, University of Stockholm
Exporting Visions and Saving Children – The Swedish Save the Children Fund
Listen to the podcast

3 March 2014
Christopher Dyer, University of Leicester
Late-medieval Methods of Poor Relief
Listen to the podcast

17 February 2014
Michael Brophy CBE, Witness
Witness: A Personal Account of the Changes in the Charity Sector, 1980–2010, with Reflections on What Next
Listen to the podcast

3 February 2014
Sir Brian Harrison, University of Oxford
Voluntarism and Democracy in Britain since the 1790s
Listen to the podcast

27 January 2014
James Crossland, Murdoch University
Spying on Charity: The Allied Investigation into Red Cross Espionage in North Africa, 1942–43
No podcast available

20 January 2014
Elizabeth Crawford
Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Frye’s Two Roles: Volunteer Suffragist/Paid Suffrage Organiser (1906–15)
Listen to the podcast

13 January 2014
Colin Rochester, Birkbeck, University of London
Revisiting the Roots of Voluntary Action
Read Colin’s paper


2 December 2013
Sarah Mills, Loughborough University
‘Citizen Scout’: The Historical Geographies of Scouting in Britain
No podcast available

4 November 2013
David Billis, Witness
Building a Theory of the Voluntary Sector: Reflections on Past Policy and Practice
Watch the film

20 May 2013
Kevin O’Sullivan, Galway University
All Kinds of Everything: NGOs and the ‘Globalisation’ of Ireland
No podcast available

4 May 2013
Barry Doyle, University of Huddersfield
Voluntary Action and the History of Leisure: An Overview
Mark Freeman
Education and Self-improvement
Natasha Vall
Culture and the Arts
Bob Snape
Social and Co-operative Cultures
No podcast available

11 March 2013
Claudia Soares, University of Manchester
A Permanent Environment of Brightness, Warmth and Homeliness: Children’s Experiences of Institutional Care in the Waifs and Strays Society, 1881–1914
Listen to the podcast

25 February 2013
Emma Peplow, London School of Economics
Taking the Field: Telling the Stories of Grassroots Cricket
Listen to the podcast

14 January 2013
Marcella Sutcliffe, University of Cambridge
A Liberal Education for ‘Citizens’: The Case of the Working’s Men College (1854–1914 ca.)
Listen to the podcast


3 December 2012
Emily Baughan, University of Bristol
Saving the Children: Humanitarian Internationalism in Europe, 1919–1939
No podcast available

19 November 2012
Leanne Green, Manchester Metropolitan University
Advertising War: The Visual Imagery of Charity Campaigns in the First World War
View the slides
Listen to the podcast

22 October 2012
Bob Snape, University of Bolton
The New Leisure, Voluntarism and Well-being in Inter-war Britain
Listen to the podcast

18 June 2012
Jennifer Jones, La Trobe University, Australia
Save Aboriginal Children: Save the Children Aboriginal Preschools, White Volunteers and the Rural Colour Bar
Listen to the podcast

21 May 2012
Chris Woolgar, University of Southampton
Food Alms for the Poor in Late Medieval England
No podcast available

12 March 2012
Laura Balderstone, University of Liverpool
Mapping Membership: A Social and Spatial Analysis of Associational Activity, 1950–2005
Listen to the podcast

27 February 2012
Nigel Goose, University of Hertfordshire

The Historical Geography of Philanthropy in England and Wales
Listen to the podcast

30 January 2012
Gareth Millward, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Disability and Voluntarism in Britain, 1965–1995: An Effective Force in Policy Making?
Read his blogpost
Listen to the podcast

16 January 2012
Berry Mayall, Institute of Education, London
English Children’s Work during the Second World War
Listen to the podcast


5 December 2011
Mark Freeman, University of Glasgow
‘A Movement that Moves’: The Settlement in Britain after the First World War
View the slides
Read his blogpost
Listen to the podcast

7 November 2011
Chris Nottingham, Glasgow Caledonian University
From ‘Cruelty Men’ to ‘Rottweilers’: The Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cuelty to Chlidren and Child Protection, 1960–2000
Read his blogpost
Listen to the podcast

24 October 2011
Kate Bradley, University of Kent
The Hoxton Cafe Project: Following the Fault Lines of Community, Welfare and Perception
Read her blogpost
Listen to the podcast

10 October 2011
Sarah Flew, Open University
Two Tier Philanthropy: The Philanthropists who Funded the Bishop of London’s Fund and the Work that Fund Financed, 1863–1914
View the slides
Read her blogpost
Listen to the podcast

20 June 2011
George Campbell Gosling, Oxford Brookes University
For the Sick Poor? Payment and Philanthropy in the Pre-NHS Voluntary Hospital System, c.1900–1948
View the slides
View the handout
Read his blogpost
Listen to the podcast

23 May 2011
Clare Hickman, University of Bristol
Nineteenth-Century Voluntary Organisations and Urban Green Spaces
Listen to the podcast

14 March 2011
Raluca Musat, University College London
Transforming the Peasant: Mind, Body and Soul. Student Volunteers in Rural Romania, 1934-1938
Listen to the podcast

14 February 2011
Charles Smith, University of Loughborough
Gay NGOs and the Formation of a ‘Gay Community’ in England, 1967–1985
Listen to the podcast

17 January 2011
Roger Stern
Victorian Military Philanthropy
No podcast available


6 December 2010
Caitriona Beaumont, London South Bank University
The Myth of the 1950s Housewige: Voluntary Women’s Organisations and the Challenge to Idealised Domesticity in Post-war Britain
View the slides
Listen to the podcast

22 November 2010
John Lee, University of Bristol
Following ‘The Absent-minded Beggar’: A Case-history of a Fund-raising Campaign of the South African War
View the slides and screencast
Listen to the podcast

25 October 2010
Eve Colpus, University of Oxford
The Geography of the Matter: Transnationalism and Interwar British Women’s Philanthropy
Read her blogpost
Listen to the podcast

27 September 2010
Clare Mulley
Eglantyne Jebb, 1876–1928: Unlikely Children’s Champion?
Listen to the podcast

21 June 2010
Lesley Hall, Wellcome Library, London
To Create Community: Some Contrasting Interwar Initiatives in the UK
Listen to the podcast

24 May 2010
Alex Mold, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Making the English Patient (Consumer): Patient Groups and Health Consumerism, 1960s–2000s
Listen to the podcast

26 April 2010
Stephen Butters, Former Trustee of the RVA
Returned Volunteer Action from 1966 to 2006: An Assessment of the Life Cycle of the Fly in the Ointment of the British Returner Volunteer Programme
Listen to the podcast

22 March 2010
Barry Doyle, University of Huddersfield
The Culture and Politics of Hospital Contributory Schemes in Leeds
View the slides
Listen to the podcast

22 February 2010
Matthew Grant, University of Manchester
Patriotic Volunteers in Cold War Britain
Listen to the podcast

23 January 2010
Special Seminar Commemorating a Century of Councils for Voluntary Service
Keith Laybourn, University of Huddersfield
The Guild of Help and the New Edwardian Philanthropy, c.1904–1919
Colin Rochester, Roehampton University
‘The Service of the Community is Best Fulfilled by Communities of Service’: A Hundred Years of the London Voluntary Service Council
Oliver Blaiklock, Institute of Historical Research
On the Development of the Citizens Advice Bureau
John Lansley, Former Employee of the Liverpool CVS
The Liverpool Council for Voluntary Service
View the slides
View the handout
View the slides
Listen to the podcast


7 December 2009
Georgina Brewis, Institute for Volunteering Research
John Hailey, City University

Other Times, Other Places: Parallels from Historical Research and International Practice
Listen to the podcast

23 November 2009
Elizabeth Harvey, University College London
Fashioning Mothers of the Next Generation: Philanthropy in Birmingham and Sydney, 1860–1914
Listen to the podcast

26 October 2009
Timothy Cook
The History of the Carers’ Movement: A Remarkably Successful Story. Why?
Listen to the podcast

28 September 2009
Lynsey Cullen, Oxford Brookes University
The First Lady Almoner: The Appointment, Position and Findings of Miss Mary Stewart at the Royal Free Hospital, 1895–1899
View the slides
Listen to the podcast

6 July 2009
Jordanna Bailkin, University of Washington
Young Britons: Voluntary Service Overseas and Critiques of “Development” in the Age of the Adolescent

15 June 2009
Stephen Soanes, University of Warwick
‘Half-way Homes’: The Geographical Distribution of Voluntary Mental After-Care Charity in Relation to Public English Asylums, 1879–1939

18 May 2009
Bridget Yates, University of Gloucester
“Treasuring Things of the Least”: Volunteer-run Village Museums in England in the 1920s and 1930s

27 April 2009
George Campbell Gosling, Oxford Brookes University
“Towards Unification”? The Hospital Contributory Scheme Problem in Bristol before 1948

16 March 2009
Carmen Mangion, University of Manchester
Objects of Charity: Hospital Care and the Deserving Poor in Nineteenth-Century St Helens

27 January 2009
Janet Greenlees, Glasgow Caledonian University
Voluntary Hospital or Corporate Control?: The Lowell Corporation Hospital, 1840–1930


14 November 2008
Alex Mold, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Voluntary Organisations and Illegal Drugs

13 October 2008
Ruth Davidson, Royal Holloway, University of London
Women’s Health, Educational and Welfare Work in Interwar Surrey

22 April 2008
Alannah Tomkins, Keele University
Retirement from the Noise and Hurry of the World? The Experience of Almshouse Life 1650–1850

26 February 2008
Georgina Brewis, University of East London
‘Fill Full the Mouth of Famine’: Voluntary Action in Famine Relief in India 1877–1900


27 November 2007
Pat Starkey, University of Liverpool
Club Feet and Charity: Children and the House of Charity, Soho

16 October 2007
Jenny Carson, University of Manchester
“Fishers of Men Not Distributors of Fish in Tins”—The Friends Relief Service in Germany after the Second World War

12 June 2007
Kate Bradley, Centre for Contemporary British History, University of London
Re-discovering Sources of Voluntary Action History: Toynbee Hall and Its Archives

8 May 2007
John Mason
Rowton and the Poor Man’s Hotel: An Experiment in Conservative Philanthropy

17 March 2007
Religion and Voluntary Action in Britain 1960s–1980s (Special Saturday Seminar)
Helen Cameron, Wesley Centre, Oxford Brookes University
Make Love Not War: The Impact of the 1960s on the Salvation Army in the UK
Liza Filby, Centre for Contemporary British History, University of London
“Two Nations, One Church?” The Church of England, the Welfare State and Volunteerism under Thatcher

6 February 2007
Jonathan Morgan, Dr William’s Library
St John Ambulance


11 November 2006
The First World War and Volunteering (Special Saturday Seminar)
Peter Grant, City University
Mobilizing Charity, Volunteering in the First World War
Meta Zimmeck
Fighting On: Ex-servicemen’s Organisations’ Campaign for Jobs after the First World War

5 October 2006
Alison Penn
‘From the Rescue of Fallen Women to the Support of Vulnerable Familes’: A History of the St Michael’s Fellowship 1903 to the Present

6 June 2006
Gillian Wagner
Thomas Coram: 18th Century Volunteer Campaigner and Fundraiser

2 May 2006
Sybil Oldfield
Jeanie An Army of One: The Life and Work of Mrs Nassau Senior 1828–1877

9 February 2006
Susannah Morris, London School of Economics
The Greatest Philanthropic Tradition on Earth? Measuring the Extent of Voluntary Activity in London, 1874–1914