Stop the Destruction of Ruskin College’s Archive

by Shaun Williams, a former Student at Ruskin College, Oxford.

It has come to light that Ruskin College, Oxford, the institute of higher education which has long-standing associations with  the labour and trade union movements has been destroying a great deal of valuable archival material.

The College has provided access to education since 1899 to mature students and others engaged in learning regardless of previous educational attainment or qualifications (and so has provided for many ‘a second chance’) and has been a source of records and artefacts connected with working class and adult education movements besides numerous political struggles in the past.

The destruction of documents, which are of great use to both historians and activists alike, has coincided with the College’s relocation from central to outer Oxford. Alongside this process (and mainly during the Summer vacation) large quantities of the archive were  permanently disposed of and shredded.

This act, which some may describe as vandalism, has had been advocated and fully sanctioned by some senior members of the College’s Administration who have made it their decisions that such items are of no longer any value to anyone.

This just goes to demonstrate that in an age of increasing marketisation within higher education sometimes the threat to educational resources isn’t always an external one made by politicians and bureaucrats, but an internal one made by an institution’s administration itself.

Some of the archive has already been saved by other institutions, members of staff, or students – that which hasn’t is by no means safe though.


So please sign the petition here to stop any further damage and safeguard that which remains

For further backgorund infomation Dr Hilda Kean, the former Dean of the College, has written the following article here

Sign up to the EAN Conference at SOAS London on October 28 here

Come to the EAN Speaking tour with Jeremie Bedard-Wien from CLASSE (Quebec) at Oxford. Details here


About educationactivistnetwork
The education activist network provides national coordination for trade unionists, academics, university workers and student campaigners fighting to defend jobs and education in the UK.

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