Skip to Main Content
Main site homepage

Inclusive Reading List Toolkit

Selection of artefacts from Archives and Special Collections

How Archives and Special Collections Contribute to Diversity and Inclusion

Archives and special collections can be incredibly useful to people interested in inclusion, equality, and diversity research in a number of ways.

Firstly, these collections often contain primary source materials that can shed light on underrepresented and marginalized communities, histories, and perspectives.

Additionally, archives and special collections can provide evidence of past injustices and discrimination, which can be used to advocate for change and promote greater equality and inclusion. For example, a source may contain records of discriminatory practices or policies, such as redlining or segregation, that can be used to highlight the ongoing impact of past injustices on current social and economic disparities.

​Finally, archives and special collections can also serve as a means of preserving and celebrating the histories and achievements of diverse individuals and communities. By making these materials accessible and visible, archives and special collections can help to promote greater awareness and understanding of diverse experiences, and can help to ensure that underrepresented and marginalized communities are not forgotten or overlooked in the historical record.

More About Archives and Special Collections

King's College London Archives and Special Collections are responsible for managing and preserving the historical records of King's College London. The services provided by King's College London Archives and Special Collections include:

Access to the archives and special collections for research purposes. Assistance and guidance to researchers who wish to use the collections. Digitization of selected materials for preservation and access. Exhibitions, events, and outreach activities to promote the collections and engage with the wider community.

King's College London Archives and Special Collections hold a vast range of materials including:

Institutional records of King's College London, including records of academic departments, administrative units, and student organizations. Personal papers of former staff, alumni, and donors of King's College London, including correspondence, diaries, and photographs. Rare books, including early printed works, manuscripts, and incunabula. Art and artefact collections, including paintings, sculptures, and other items of cultural significance. The archives and special collections we hold are an invaluable resource for scholars, researchers, and members of the public who are interested in the history of the university, the city of London, and the wider world.

Archives and special collections are unique types of library collections that differ from other library collections in a number of ways:

Unique and rare materials

First and foremost, archives and special collections are typically composed of unique and rare materials that are not found in other library collections. These materials may include manuscripts, letters, photographs, maps, and other primary source materials that provide valuable insights into historical events and people. As such, archives and special collections are often the go-to resources for scholars, researchers, and historians.

Organised by provenances

Another key difference between archives and Special collections and other library collections is that they are often organized differently. While other library collections may be organized according to subject or format, archives and special collections are typically organized according to provenance, or the original creator or owner of the materials. This means that materials from the same creator or owner are kept together, allowing for a more complete picture of their activities and work.

More stringent access policies

Additionally, Archives and special collections often have more stringent access policies than other library collections due to the rare and unique nature of the materials. Researchers may be required to undergo special training or to provide identification in order to access the materials, and some materials may be restricted or require permission from the owner or creator for access.

 

Archives

The Archives at King's College London are responsible for collecting, preserving, and providing access to the historical records of the college. This includes administrative records, publications, photographs, and other materials that document the history and development of the institution, as well as the activities of its staff and students. The Archives also collect personal papers of individuals associated with the college, including alumni, faculty, and staff. The Archives serve as the institutional memory of King's College London, and its holdings are primarily used for research into the college's history.

 

Special Collections

Selected artefacts from special collections

Special Collections are focused on rare and unique materials that are not typically found in the general circulating collections of the library. These collections include rare books, manuscripts, maps, prints, photographs, and other materials that are considered to be valuable or important because of their age, rarity, condition, or provenance. Special Collections also include materials that are unique or unusual, such as artists' books, pop-up books, or ephemera. These collections are used primarily for research, teaching, and exhibition purposes.

While there is some overlap between the holdings of the Archives and Special Collections at King's College London, they have distinct collection policies, acquisition strategies, and usage guidelines.

Relevant Special Collections and Archives Content

Where do I start?

A curated list of relevant content is listed below. 

How do I consider and consult these resources?

When consulting primary source material for research that relates to diversity, inclusion, and equality, there are several things that researchers should consider:

 

  1. Historical Context
    Researchers should consider the historical context of the primary source material, including the social, political, and cultural norms and attitudes of the time in which it was produced. This can help them to understand the perspective of the author or creator of the source and to interpret the material in the appropriate context.
     
  2. Diversity of Voices
    Researchers should aim to consult a diverse range of primary sources that represent a variety of voices and perspectives. This can include materials produced by marginalized or underrepresented groups, as well as sources that challenge dominant narratives or viewpoints.
     
  3.  Intersectionality
    Researchers should consider the ways in which different forms of oppression and privilege intersect and interact with each other. This can include examining the experiences of individuals who may be marginalized on multiple axes, such as race, gender, sexuality, and disability.

Relevant Special Collections and Archives Content

The following are examples of archival and special collection material relating to ethnic minority groups and peoples. Other materials exist, and these are only samples.

The following are examples of archival and special collection material relating to women. Other materials exist, and these are only samples. 

The following are examples of archival and special collection material relating to disabled people. Other materials exist, and these are only samples. 

The following are examples of archival and special collection material relating to religious groups. Other materials exist, and these are only samples. 

The following are examples of archival and special collection material relating to sex and sexuality. Other materials exist, and these are only samples.

The following are examples of archival and special collection material relating to various age groups. Other materials exist, and these are only samples. 

We also have a series of exhibitions which may be of interest also. This includes:

Some other sources

Many other Libraries and Archives also include useful material.

These include:

Thank You - References and Credits