Archives & Special Collections: Teaching and Research Support

A core element of the work Archives & Special Collections do is to draw upon our collections of many unique primary sources and diverse materials, to support teaching, learning and research.

Find out more about some of the ways we do this and opportunities available to teachers, students and researchers.

Teaching and Learning Support

With its wide range or subjects, materials and media, Archives & Special Collections  plays a strong role in supporting learning, teaching and research both within, and beyond, the University of Surrey.

We aim to provide a high level of learning and teaching support. Through our collection knowledge and professional expertise, we are able to engage with users in a variety of ways:

  • Induction sessions - These sessions introduce students to our collections and explain how to make the most of primary sources in their learning. The research room provides an ideal environment for working with rare books, archives and manuscript collections with assistance from our expert staff
  • Group teaching - Working with course leaders, we are able to develop a programme of taught and group work sessions based around the collections, which directly tie into a specific subject, or area, and give students a first-hand opportunity to work with primary source material. We can either deliver the session with a tutor, or can assist by making material available for sessions where the class is led solely by the course leader
  • One-to-one sessions with students - We are experienced in working with undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them to develop their ideas for research projects based on our collections; as such we can offer bookable one-to-one sessions, to enable students to discuss their dissertation proposals or research projects and discover what resources are available to support their work
  • Teaching support beyond the University – Archives & Special Collections are keen to welcome groups from beyond the University who wish to discover more about what we can offer and to engage in learning activities with our collections. We also embrace opportunities to visit interested groups and present details of our work and collections. If you are interested in drawing upon our collections for your teaching or for general interest please contact us to find out more about what we can offer

Research support

Our archives contain unique primary sources which offer immense scope for academic research across disciplines and at various levels. Many of our collections are relatively unexplored which means they offer plenty of potential for new discoveries. If you are interested in finding out more or have detected areas of our collections that could be helpful to your research please contact us. Our team are able to help support your research from initial ideas through to publication.

Research collaboration

Archives & Special Collections are keen to collaborate on research proposals drawing on our collections and are able to provide support and guidance on developing such proposals. Our archives have offered inspiration to a number of collaborative research projects. If you have a research idea the best place to start is by exploring our collections via our online catalogue and then contact us to discuss your ideas further. Please note that the level of engagement we can offer will depend on other departmental commitments.

In the past we have participated in projects funded by research councils, the Heritage Lottery Fund, JISC and charitable or private funders. Through these projects we are able to process collections, raise awareness of them through a range of engagement or educational activities, open up new areas of research with academic colleagues, explore new innovations and produce a range of outputs such as oral histories, dance reconstructions, web resources and publications.


Outreach and Public Engagement

A fundamental part of our service is to raise awareness of the collections we care for, in order to engage and stimulate a variety of different user groups and communities. We do this in a range of ways:

  • Talks and presentations – We give talks and presentations to local community or specialist groups. We are keen to develop this area of our work to collaborate with those such as local history groyps, art societies and student groups
  • Displays – we arrange displays of our material, often linked to an event or activity, and within our own display cabinets within our Research Room on campus
  • Institutional connections – we work with our Advancement and Marketing departments on projects and activities linked to our organisation’s heritage and alumni. We are always interested in exploring ideas with colleagues which promote and utilise our heritage
  • National campaigns and programmes – we participate in large national initiatives such as Heritage Open Days and Explore Your Archive in order to reach broader audiences and promote our collections
  • Exhibitions – we provide items from the archive collections for external exhibitions, particularly the E H Shepard collections, many of which are at national and international venues. If you are interested in borrowing items from our collections for exhibition purposes please contact us

Our social media channels provide a glimpse into our collections and the work we do, focusing on items within the collections, projects and information related to people featured in the collections. Please follow us on Instagram or visit our blog to learn more and engage with us.  

Where we are

University Library, George Edwards Building,  University of Surrey,  Guildford,  Surrey GU2 7XH,  United Kingdom T: +44 (0)1483 689235 F: +44 (0)1483 689500

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