To further explore the relationship between Seven Stories and Newcastle University (after our excellent blog post by our researcher Meganour Vital North Partnership Manager, Rachel Smith has written this post about an exciting PhD opportunity. 

If you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing you’re probably interested in children’s books, in archival collections and in Seven Stories. You probably know that we use our collection in our exhibitions and our learning and participation projects. But did you know that you could also research our collections as part of your PhD?
And – right now, there’s a funded opportunity to do just that!
Newcastle University’s Research Excellence Academy PhD Studentships
Newcastle Universityare offering over £1million in PhD funding through their Research Excellence Academy scheme for students to start a full-time PhD in autumn 2016. Each studentship covers tuition fees and living expenses for the three years of your PhD studies. There are two schemes available:
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: This scheme covers a number of academic subjects, including English Literature, Education and Museum Studies, so this would particularly suit cross-disciplinary proposals. The deadline for applications is 30th April 2016. See:
School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics: Children’s literature is one of the research strengths of the School of English. The department are also offering extra support to international applicants. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 16th May 2016. See:

For both of the Research Excellence Academy studentship schemes, Newcastle University’s Children’s Literature Unit would welcome applications to study our collections here at Seven Stories.

Which collections can I research?
It’s totally up to you!
Seven Stories holds archives from 1930 to the present day and our collection includes materials by over 250 authors and illustrators, including Enid Blyton, Philip Pullman and Edward Ardizzone. Seven Stories collects all sorts of material relating to children’s books: rough artwork, draft manuscripts, dummy books, correspondence, editor’s notes and anything else that helps us to explore how books are created.

Here are some examples of some of our larger collections that you could research:

The Peter Dickinson archive: Peter Dickinson is one of only two authors to win the Carnegie Medal twice in a row (can you guess the other?). Our collection, which includes drafts, proofs and correspondence, gives a fascinating insight into the working relationship between Dickinson and his editor, and the publication of children’s books in Britain and America.
Typescript draft of Tulku, Peter Dickinson c. 1978. Photograph © Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books
The David Fickling archive:We’ve blogged about this collection a lot! David Fickling is a children’s editor and publisher. This large archive shows his role as a contemporary children’s book editor. It includes proof and draft manuscripts for approximately 75 different writers, often with editor’s comments.
Typescripts of Linda Newbery’s Sisterland and Mark Herman’s screenplay of John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas from the David Fickling archive. Photograph © Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books
The Beverley Naidoo archive Our Learning and Participation team have already used this collection with local schools, and there’s great research potential here too. As well as Beverley’s manuscripts, the archive includes letters from her readers from the late 1980s, showing how attitudes to race and diversity have changed over three decades.
Typescript draft of Beverley Naidoo's 'Journey to Jo'burg' with some correspondence from fans. Photograph © Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Book
The David Wood archive David Wood has been described ‘the national children’s dramatist’. And by looking at this huge collection, which includes material relating to the majority of Wood’s plays and books for children, you can see why. Find out more about the archive in Paula’s blog post, or come and listen to David talk about his work in our event at Newcastle Theatre Royal in May, Goodnight Mister Tom: Seven Stories in conversation with David Wood.
David Wood’s The Gingerbread Man in many shapes! A play manuscript and programme, a published copy and a TV episode list. Photograph © Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books
Our successful PhD students
Seven Stories and Newcastle University previously worked together to supervise three AHRC collaborative doctoral students exploring our Kaye Webb, Robert Westall and David Almond collections. The research our students did even formed the basis of our Nuffin’ Like a Puffin exhibition!
Section of the Nuffin' Like a Puffin' exhibition. Photograph © Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Book
- Rachel Smith, Vital North Partnership Manager. 
If you are considering applying for either of Newcastle University’s Research Excellence Academy studentship opportunities in children’s literature, please contact Dr. Lucy Pearson, / +44 (0) 191 208 3894.
If you'd like to find out more about researching the Seven Stories Collection, then email: or phone: 0191 495 2707 or comment on this blog.