This week’s Object marks the beginning of the story of over 30 years of peace studies at the University of Bradford. It also explains why Special Collections contains so many significant collections on peace campaigns, social change, conflict, politics …
Peace Studies at Bradford owes its origins to George Murphy, whose concern was to raise funds to establish the study of peace and conflict resolution in British universities. He was appointed Chair in Finance at Bradford University’s Management Centre in 1970 and found support for establishing a Chair of Peace Studies at the University from Pro Vice Chancellor Robert McKinlay, who was also a Quaker. In 1971 the Quaker Peace Studies Trust (QPST) was set up by the Society of Friends to oversee a public appeal for funds for this project. Ernest Stockdale, a local Friend, was appointed appeal secretary, Alec Horsley appeal organiser and George Murphy treasurer.
The appeal found influential sponsors (the University’s Chancellor Harold Wilson, J.B. Priestley, Joan Baez, U Thant …) and was a great success: the funds were raised within 10 weeks of the launch in March 1972. The first Chair of Peace Studies, Adam Curle, was appointed in 1973 and other academic appointments and undergraduate and postgraduate programmes soon followed.
QPST have continued to support peace education at Bradford, notably the annual Peace Jams which bring together young people and Nobel peace laureates.
The Archive of QPST itself is part of Special Collections and was catalogued by our Project Archivist, Helen Roberts, last year. The story of the origin and growth of Peace Studies is a key theme in the University’s own archive and Quaker history and values appear in many other places in Special Collections.