ANC: Midlands Graduate School

Together with several regional partners, Aston University is now part of the Midlands Graduate School and offers ESRC scholarships for eligible candidates who want to study for a PhD at Aston.

The Midlands Graduate School DTP makes an annual award of a large number of studentships to outstanding applicants across the Social Sciences. The studentships are linked to disciplinary and inter-disciplinary training pathways, and some have a built-in element of collaboration. A masters is not a prerequisite for studying at the Midlands Graduate School DTP. A range of training programmes are available based on an assessment of the applicant’s prior learning and training needs.

Established in 2016, The Midlands Graduate School is an accredited Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership, with the first intake of students to begin in October 2017.

The DTP offers 17 different training pathways that span various social science disciplines; several postgraduate studentships will be awarded annually across the pathways and institutions. These pathways include Management & Business Studies and Finance, Economic and Social History, and Area Studies.

At this stage, the ESRC DTP website for the open competition is now live:

This competition is open to Home or EU applicants holding an offer of a PhD place with Aston Business School.  The deadline for the funding application is 24th January 2017 – at this stage the applicant must:

  • Hold a full offer of a place on the PhD programme
  • Have two references
  • Have a supporting statement from their proposed supervisor

Further studentships with shared supervisory teams across different universities, as well as collaborative projects supervised jointly by universities and non-academic partners will be advertised in the new year.

Workshop report: Private Interests or National Heritage? Gothenburg, Sweden

Review of the Workshop

‘Private Interests or National Heritage? Corporate Archives and the Production of History in a Global Perspective’

Diego M. Coraiola
Peter B. Gustavson School of Business
University of Victoria

The workshop “Private interest or corporate heritage” put together by Andrew Popp and Susanna Feldman took place in the beautiful city of Gothenburg in the 25th and 26th of November. The workshop brought together corporate archivists, business historians, and organizational theorists to discuss the reasons and practices the state and organizations use to collect, preserve, provide access, and use records from the past. There was a good mix of theoretical frameworks and practical applications and cases. This brought an interesting dynamic to the workshop to the extent that presentations would complement and draw from one another. Theoretical propositions would meet with practical experience and both scholars and practitioners would benefit from an enriched view of organizational mnemonic practices.

The workshop started with Elizabeth Shepherd’s (University College London) keynote speech overviewing the history of archival science and the development of business archives in the UK. It was followed by Mats Jönsson’s (University of Gothenburg) analysis of the private ‘documentary’ ‘Das Dritte Reich’. The movie is based on an assemblage of silent amateur footage of the Nazi regime period to which the voice of a narrator and some other sounds related to the images were added, bringing specific meaning to some of the scenes. Mats then used this case to argue about the importance of media and for the future of historical consciousness. The third presenter was Andrew Smith from the University of Liverpool. Andrew’s paper was a manifest for a transparency revolution in business history. He attempts to sensitize researchers, journals, and publishers for engaging with ‘active citation’ – i.e. the inclusion of hyperlinks with full access to a digitized copy of the sources used in the production of a piece of business history.

The second round of presentations started with Karl-Magnus Johansson and his description of the Gothenburg regional state archives, followed by Anders Houltz from the Swedish Centre for Business History. Both presenters make the point that instead of looking at public and private preservation as concurrent alternatives, it would be better to think about corporate archives as integral to national heritage. While the first presentation reinforced the existing accounts about business archives in Nordic countries by describing how corporations and the state work together in Sweden, Andres introduced the original approach taken by the Center, which provides consulting for organizations on how best use their past, from records keeping to history writing. I took over after them to present a framework in which Stephanie Decker (Aston Univerity) and I try to provide an answer to the question of why organizations remember the way they do. We believe that there is more to the memory of business than private interest or national heritage and we argue that we should pay attention to the institutions at play within an organizational field. Our framework thus identifies for different models of governance for the business and management memory: public governance, private governance, community governance, and representative governance.

Neill Forbes from the University of Coventry presented the case of the digitization of the records of British Telegraph, a very challenging reality for corporate archives, and commented on the possibilities this brings for business history. Ine Fintland and Torkel Thime cheered us with the case of the Norwegian oil and gas archives and the collective project for the preservation of business archives developed by the European companies that gave rise to the European Oil and Gas Archives. After their presentation, Jarmo Luoma-aho introduced us to the Finnish state-based model of business archives and the role of Elka, the Central Archives for Finnish Business Records in preserving business archives as part of the national heritage. Our first day ended with a collective reflection about the subject and a delicious dinner at a local restaurant.

Charles Harvey (Newcastle University) was the keynote speaker for the second day. He did a wonderful job summarizing the historical turn and introducing the notion of rhetorical history to a varied audience of scholars and practitioners. He made a distinction between four types of rhetorical history based on the intended audiences and the frequency in which they are addressed. He also explored the idea of possibly quantifying the contribution of corporate archives based on a formula accounting for the direct value archives add to the business plus the value they add to the society, minus the costs of operation of the archives. In addition to the bright ideas and comments, Charles enlightened us all with an amusing performance of a Scottish cherishing and defending its hundred old invented traditions. After him, Wim van Lent (Montpellier Business School) presented an ongoing project we are working together that focuses on the uses of the past in the East India Company. This is one of the first accounts of a company interested in recording its history, and we hope to understand better the corporate interests and uses in play even before the rise of the modern notion of history and archives.

Andrew Popp (University of Liverpool) delivered the last presentation at the workshop, based on a paper he and Susanna Fellman (University of Gothenburg) are writing together. They main purpose of the paper is to develop a methodological framework based on a stakeholder approach to business archives that contributes to legitimize the research on archives for an audience of management and organization scholars. After the presentations we engaged in an open discussion about possible future plans for this stream of research and wondered about the possibility of bringing close together scholars from organization studies, history, and archival theory through joint conferences, edited volumes, and special issues. I take this opportunity to thank both Andrew and Susanna for their proactive role in organizing this interesting workshop and for the well-planned sessions and the social get together. This was a great event and I hope to see – and maybe contribute to – this idea to grow and flourish in the future.


CfP: Family firms in the long run

Call for Papers – EDHEC Family Business Conference

Family firms in the long run: The interplay between emotions and history

Lille, France May 11-12, 2017

Family businesses play a central role in the world economy and have intrigued historians and management scholars alike. What makes them a fascinating subject of study is the interconnectedness of the family and the business in the long-run. As such, they offer a fertile ground for exploring the history of the family, viewed as an emotional multigenerational system, in addition to the history of the business. Up to date however, scarce studies exist on the topic of emotions and their historical importance in family businesses. The main reason may lie in the complexity of analyzing two systems and choosing appropriate research methodologies.

In response to these gaps and subsequent calls for more cooperation, this conference stands as a meeting point between business historians, family business scholars and managers to inform the family business field. 

Call for Papers – 2017 EDHEC Family Business Conference on Family Firms in the long run: The interplay between emotions and history. Lille, France May 11-12 2017

The 2017 EDHEC Family Business Conference intends to stimulate and strengthen the historians’ analytical efforts by integrating theories and insights from family business management studies. By building on historians’ knowledge and perspectives, it also aims at helping family business scholars gain a deeper understanding of the emotional dynamics and processes as they perpetuate over time.

Among relevant issues at the intersection of emotions and history, the conference invites submissions exploring:

  • The process of historical narratives and related emotions
  • The strategic use of family business history
  • The family business emotions through history

Selected papers from the conference will be invited for submission to a Special Issue by the leading French business history journal, “Entreprises et Histoire”.

Proposals are expected to be written in English, with a 3-page limit, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, including the following sections:

  • A 250-word abstract;
  • The justification or need for the study;
  • The research objectives;
  • A brief literature review;
  • The methodology (if applicable);
  • Findings and discussion, future research directions.


  • Submission of proposals: December 16, 2016
  • Notification of acceptance: January 16, 2017
  • Full paper (for inclusion in the special issue): April 7, 2017
  • Conference will be held on May 11-12, 2017

Proposals should be submitted by email to:


  • Fabian BERNHARD, PhD, Associate Professor of Management and Family Business, EDHEC Business School
  • Ludovic CAILLUET, PhD, Professor of Strategic Management and Business History, EDHEC Business School
  • Rania LABAKI, PhD, Associate Professor of Finance and Family Business, EDHEC Business School
  • John Seaman, CEO of Saybrook Partners


Reminder: Corporate Archives & the Production of History

The Unit for Economic History organizes jointly with the Regional State Archives in Gothenburg an International Workshop the following workshop

Private Interests or National Heritage? Corporate Archives and the Production of History in a Global Perspective

Venue: Regional State Archives in Gothenburg

Date: November 24th–25th 2016

Keynote speakers:

Elizabeth Shepherd, Ph D, professor and director of research at Archives and Records management studies, UCL. She is author of Archives and Archivists in 20th Century England (Ashgate, 2009) and serves on the editorial board of the journals Archival Science: Journal of the Society of Archivists and the Record Management Journal.

Charles Harvey is Professor of Business History and Management at Newcastle University Business School. In a distinguished career he has published numerous highly regarded articles on a wide range of topics in business history, management and organization studies. He was a long time editor of the journal Business History.


Corporate archives are preserved for a variety of reasons. Likewise they are preserved in a multitude of different places and under a multitude of different conditions. These variations might reflect differences in how corporate records are viewed and valued, to whom they are seen to belong, and in the uses to which it is believed they can be put. Sometimes companies retain records out of habit or inertia. Others have a more active interest in preserving their history and perhaps in preparing for writing that history. The archive can be used for branding and marketing purposes, for image creation by the companies, for change management, or for other strategic purposes. Some corporate archives are collected and organized to the highest standards of the archive profession, while others are merely a result of requirements to keep specific records. Other companies, whether purposefully or otherwise, rarely retain archives or regularly destroy their records and documents. The fate of an archive when a company dies is another important question, as is the fate of the archives of state-owned enterprises experiencing privatization. Another question concerns the archives of multinational corporations, who often cross multiple borders.

At the same time, it is not only corporations themselves who sometimes collect, store, and make accessible corporate archives – a range of private, quasi-public, and public organizations and institutions might become involved. As in many fields of social life, history has seen a turn to a transnational or global perspective, asking questions about the patterns and variations across and between rather than simply within countries. However, the very largest unit at which archives are organized tends to be the nation. As a result, the differences – and similarities – in the ways in which corporate archivization takes place across nations has tended to go unexamined. Simply stated, we know that corporate archives are preserved in many different venues, by many different bodies, and for many different reasons and this become even more apparent when we adopt a global perspective.

Our sense is that choices around the institutions and practices of the archive have real implications for the kinds of history generated. Are we correct in this? Our aim in organizing this conference on corporate archives in global perspective is not simply to gain an overview of patterns and differences between countries but also to enquire as to what consequences these patterns and variations have for the production, dissemination, and reception of history. The international perspective will, it is intended, throw these issues into sharper relief.

For more information and preliminary program, see:–private-interests-or-national-heritage–

The workshop is free of charge (lunches etc on own expenses), but in order for us to know the number of participants, kindly register to Susanna Fellman


Professor Susanna Fellman  and professor Andrew Popp (VPP at Economic History)