Advisors, advocates and activists: a century and more of social work in Edinburgh


  • Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh

Project summary

The social work education programme at the University of Edinburgh is the oldest social work programme at a Scottish University still in existence, and it is the second oldest in the whole of the UK. Our archives document its impact on improving the health and well-being of people and communities for more than 100 years. Central to this are the interconnections between individuals, organisations and communities in teaching, research and practice. The earliest pioneers are represented in the archives of Edinburgh University Settlement and the School of Social Study and Training (later Social Work).  Alongside these are the personal papers of Tom Burns and John Spencer, both key figures in sociology.

We will catalogue, preserve and selectively digitise the collections to make them available and accessible for potential research. We will promote the archives to academic and non-academic audiences, recognising the reach of a subject like social work and its relevance to researchers, practitioners, communities and individuals.