What

About Tavistock Institute 2017

Celebrating and continuing 70 years of innovative and engaging social science practice.

Tavistock Institute 2017 is a cultural project which aims to celebrate and re imagine the work of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations by making its archival material accessible and engaging newly with it.

Through this blog we aim to show and share examples that arise from the cataloguing process with the various constituencies and stakeholders of the Institute’s work and practice.  We aim to start new conversations; develop our audience; and invite engagement with new practice. This blog is for working on the emerging archive.

Over the next eighteen months we will be releasing over 70 years of previously-inaccessible records covering and bringing the Institute’s contribution to the evolution of applied social science into the public domain. Over 300 boxes of material dating back to the Institute’s formation in the late 1940s will be sorted, categorised and described. The nature of the archival material gives significant insight into the working methods of a unique and maverick group of social scientists, containing uniquely reflective commentaries from the field, including working notes, letters, and methodological workings integral to key industrial and organisational projects.  It is also a unique historical record including a diversity of work, from the democratisation of officer selection in the war years; through studies on the use of fast moving consumer goods (loo roll, pet foods and ice cream) to the emergence of the knowledge society.

The archive will be released in phased batches thus allowing a growing body of interested and enthusiastic researchers to get their hands on the material as quickly as possible. This will be leading up to the celebratory festival in the autumn of 2017, the year of the Tavistock Institute’s 70th anniversary.

Most of all we at the Institute are excited to think about the many ways material from the archive will soon be explored, (re)interpreted and applied to the contemporary challenges facing society.  We imagine that we will do this ourselves with members of the project team, researchers and consultants already engaged in archival research. We also look forward to extending the current research community and know of one researcher most desperate indeed to get access to some elusive notebooks.

This project is the product of a unique collaboration between the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) and Wellcome Library, part of the Wellcome Trust.

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) is a not-for-profit organisation that applies social science to contemporary issues and problems. The core purpose or ambition of the Institute is the study of human relations for the purpose of the bettering of working life and conditions of all humans within their organisations, communities and broader society.

The Wellcome Library is one of the world’s major resources for the study of medical history, offering a growing collection of material relating to contemporary medicine and biomedical science in society. The library is free and open to anyone interested in the history of health and medicine.

The Wellcome Library will provide both a permanent home for the Tavistock Institute archive, and a point of access for researchers.