Over the summer, the Online Research Collections team in the Library, along with our cataloguing colleagues Diana Stevenson and Joanna Martin have been working on a project to make all Goldsmiths theses from 2020 to July 2021 available on our institutional repository Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO). Providing access to our theses from the last two years has been delayed due to a variety of factors relating to COVID-19 so it is great to finally make them available.
The PhD theses we hold are a unique record of the academic, intellectual and research culture at Goldsmiths from the 1960s onwards. Our thesis collection is one of our most heavily used digital collections, so now that our most recent theses are accessible online, we thought it would be a good time to provide an overview of our collection and highlight its richness and diversity.
PhD research at Goldsmiths
In the 1960s and 1970s Goldsmiths rapidly expanded its portfolio of courses and started to offer postgraduate studies and research opportunities across the arts and humanities.
The earliest doctorate thesis that we hold is Marie Cecilia Wragg’s The development of emotional and social maturity in boys and girls in certain grammar, comprehensive and modern schools awarded in 1964. Dr Wragg was an educational psychologist and teacher who worked extensively in England and around the world. During her PhD research Dr Wragg clearly made much use of the Library, noting the help of ‘the assistant librarians at Goldsmiths’ College’ in her acknowledgements. While completing her PhD in the 1960s, she worked at Goldsmiths as a senior lecturer in the Education department and as a Hall of Residence Head. Following the completion of her PhD, Dr Wragg travelled widely in India, writing a number of journal articles about her investigations into educational psychology, teacher training and higher education in the country.
It was only in the 1980s that a large volume of theses started to be produced at Goldsmiths, with the Library holding 114 theses from the decade. In the 1990s, 138 theses were produced and in the 2000s the number had risen to 486, with numbers now averaging around 100 theses per year.
Our theses collection
The Library holds over 1,500 bound copies of theses. Our full collection of hard bound theses is available on Library Search. In normal circumstances, all bound theses on the catalogue can be consulted in the Library but due to COVID-19 restrictions this service is currently suspended.
The requirement to submit both an electronic and bound copy of a thesis has been in place at Goldsmiths since 2010, with our electronic thesis collection held on our institutional repository Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO). In addition to that, we have retrospectively digitised theses from earlier years, as a part of the British Library’s EThOS service . Due to COVID-19 adjustments, PhD candidates in 2020-21 have been asked to submit their final thesis in digital format only.
In total, there are over 1,300 theses available in GRO (these are also accessible through Library Search). To browse our full digital collection on GRO just go to the browse menu and select ‘Item Type’ followed by ‘Thesis’. A range of FAQs on accessing digital theses on GRO is available here.
Moving from a collection of hard bound theses held in our store, to a digital collection accessible to anyone in the world with an internet connection has increased the visibility of our thesis collection and reduced barriers to accessing these valuable and unique resources. Providing free, online access also benefits our authors by increasing the reach of their work and the potential that it will be cited, as well as helping to promote their research during the early stages of their academic career.
Highlights from the collection
Our earliest electronic thesis dates back to 1982. Some of our earliest electronic theses from the 1980s include work produced by researchers still associated with Goldsmiths including Alan Pickering, Sophie Day, and Heidi Safia Mirza , who wrote a short account of her experiences completing a PhD as a single mother in the 1980s which is well worth a read.
Our repository collection covers a huge range of areas and includes creative writing and practice research theses. The collection includes work by a number of former and current Library colleagues, along with theses by notable alumni such as the art historian and broadcaster David Dibosa , the Booker Prize winning author Bernardine Evaristo, the 2021 Turner Prize nominee Daniel Fernandes Pascual , and the joint winner of the Turner Prize in 2019 Lawrence Abu Hamdan.
Theses are amongst the most downloaded items in GRO. Over the past year our most downloaded thesis Valerie Welbanks’ Foundations of Modern Cello Technique; Creating the Basis for a Pedagogical Method has been accessed over 3,320 times. Our next most downloaded thesis, Rosa Crepax’s The Aesthetics of Mainstream Androgyny: A Feminist Analysis of a Fashion Trend has 1,470 downloads, followed by Jennifer May Brand’s From Design to Decline: Boosey & Hawkes and Clarinet Manufacturing in Britain, 1879-1986 with 1,268 downloads.
Our list of the most downloaded theses of all time gives a sense of the diverse range of postgraduate research taking place ate Goldsmiths and emphasises the value to authors of making their thesis open access.
|Sandra Gaudenzi||The Living Documentary: from representing reality to co-creating reality in digital interactive documentary||16,432|
|Andrew Sockanathan||Digital Desire and Recorded Music: OiNK, Mnemotechnics and the Private BitTorrent Architecture||13,172|
|Christopher Brauer||Netmodern: Interventions in Digital Sociology||12,852|
|Jacqueline Cooke||Art ephemera, aka “Ephemeral traces of ‘alternative space’: the documentation of art events in London 1995-2005, in an art library”||11,351|
|Fiona Anne Seaton||’They Opened Up a Whole New World’: Feminine Modernity and the Feminine Imagination in Women’s Magazines, 1919-1939||11,335|
Statistics collected 16 August 2021
Further help and resources
If you wish to explore theses produced outside Goldsmiths, our Open Access Libguide includes links to a range of resources that will help you access theses produced in other UK universities and beyond.
For further guidance or questions about accessing our thesis collection, please get in touch with the Online Research Collections team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pieter Sonke, Online Research Collections team