Partners across disciplines

Our collections are wide-ranging, as are our research partnerships.

We enjoy connecting researchers across disciplines and across collections.

We engage with historical and social science research, creative and design practice, and with participatory research. To help deliver research impact, we connect stakeholders with collections which hold meaning for them, drawing on the expertise and partnerships within our museums and collections.

Because the significance of the collections cuts across traditional disciplinary divides, they provide excellent opportunities for co-creation, innovation and knowledge transfer with the cultural, heritage, and creative sectors both in the UK and internationally.

University of Reading

Image of illuminated manuscript, a medieval book of hours
Horae BVM [Book of Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary] MS 2087, c. 1415-1435

Within the University of Reading, several research centres are closely involved with collections-based research, including:

Much of the research into our collections comes from the academic schools and departments in which they are fully embedded:

The University of Readingā€™s largest, centrally held collections (The MERL, Special Collections and Art Collections) are part of an enormous range of partnerships within both the University and the wider research community. This includes community and enthusiast groups. Many of these partnerships are structured around the collectionsā€™ coreĀ themes and strengths, with key examples including food and nutrition,Ā landscape and design and books, printing and publishing.


Digital humanities hub

Digital Humanities Hub in the University of Reading Library
Digital Humanities Hub, University of Reading Library
The Digital Humanities Hub is a collaborative in-house project to create a sustainable base for Digital Humanities that will enhance the quality of research at Reading. It promotes innovation through digital tools, methodologies, and engagement with developments in Digital Humanities as a field.

Read more about how weĀ supportĀ digital scholarship by providing collections based expertise, access to collections and engagement channels, acting as a repository and as a partner in research in to collections based practice.

Interdisciplinary work

Image showing a hard disk from the Dwoskin research project
Hard disk drive from the Dwoskin research project

Some examples of our current and past interdisciplinary work include:

Information Design and Architecture in Persuasive Pharmacy Space: combating AMR is an inter-disciplinary project bringing together academics and practitioners in graphic and information design, architecture, ergonomics and human factors, and pharmacy. The project aims to consider how to support one of the strategic aims of the UK 5-Year Antimicrobial Resistance strategy 2013ā€“18: that is to ā€˜improve the knowledge and understanding of antimicrobial resistanceā€™. This AHRC funded project uses our Lettering, Printing and Graphic Design Collections.

TheĀ Farm-level Interdisciplinary approaches to Endemic Livestock Disease (FIELD) project researched the past, present and future of endemic livestock diseases, from scientific, social scientific and historical perspectives. It aimed to improve farming practices and reduce incidents of disease. This Wellcome funded project used the Museum of English Rural Lifeā€™s collections.Ā 


The Legacies of Stephen Dwoskinā€™s Personal CinemaĀ examined the work and archive of experimental film-maker Stephen Dwoskin by bringing togetherĀ history, theory, artistic practice, digital forensics, data exploration and digital archives. This AHRC funded project used theĀ University of Reading Special Collections.