Black Country Living Museum and University of Wolverhampton have an established and developing research partnership. Our partnership work focuses on local communities here in the Black Country, both now and in the past. Our work explores the history of the area and how that history informs our understanding of ourselves and our communities. Our projects look at architecture and the built environment, the history of people and places, and health and wellbeing. Examples include:

Community-led research into sense and memory

“Snidge Scrumpin’” is an example of collaborative, community-led research into sense and memory. The project is led by the School of Humanities but draws upon Psychology, Philosophy and English Literature; using BCLM as a context for
research enables the project to reach beyond the University and into the heart of the Black Country community, and provides a bank of research from which the Museum’s interpretation can draw.

Future collaborations

Both the Museum and the University have established networks of teaching and learning which provides potential for innovative research. The Museum acts as a cultural education partner for Arts Connect at the University, which undertakes research for the sector, and offers training programmes and funding for research projects. The Museum also works with the Institute of Education, School of Architecture and Built Environment, the Faculty of Arts and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills. There is a huge potential to draw on existing skills from all sides, and to develop new avenues of research within both the University and the Museum.

BCLM: Forging Ahead – infant welfare centre, then and now

BCLM’s major development project, Forging Ahead also draws on crossdisciplinary
research. By working with academics from the University’s School of Social, Historical and Political Studies, and the MA Public Health, the Museum has secured funding from the Wellcome Trust to recreate a post-war Infant Welfare Centre. The result will enable an interrogation of contemporary, regional issues through the lens of historical
research, and enable that historical research to be disseminated and viewed through the eyes of the present-day public.