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archives aLive

In 2015 the Modern Records Centre launched an exciting, new project for its partner schools.

Archives aLive gave 30 current Year 9 students a fantastic opportunity to transform their academic research into an imaginative performance piece which was filmed and turned into a trailer. This was then shown at Warwick Arts Centre cinema at the end of the project. It was a two-year project, which focused on exploring and developing research techniques and skills.

Project Outline

May-June 2015: Research Workshops with the MRC and Sociology Department. Students attended a series of workshops, working with archive material to gain an understanding of their research topic ‘Unemployment’. They also attended a session with the Sociology department to build upon their previous research, debating the issues surrounding unemployment and applying them to relevant social contexts. To consolidate this thought, the students collectively produced a public exhibition of the archive material.

October-November 2015: Film and Television Studies Workshops

Students worked with an artistic performance specialist and developed roles based on the material they had seen. These characters were then used to develop story lines and plots. Sessions focused on the development of scripting and filming skills, which allowed the students to turn their research into a performance. With a performance script created, the student groups put together and filmed a small-scale production of their work for peers.

Spring-Summer 2016: In the second year of the project, we invited back the two groups to develop their skills further. They worked on the theme of ‘What education means to me’. The second year of the project took the same form as the first, though it was adjusted and expanded in response to the evaluation of the first year.


  • To introduce students to Higher Education, Warwick University and its resources. By working with different departments, students experience a range of disciplines at degree-level.
  • To explore and develop research skills: students handle authentic archive material; think critically about the implications of these sources; gain an understanding of effective research dissemination; form artistic ideas; and learn creative processes for their outputs.
  • To support students in their self-development, improving confidence, effective communication and group work skills.


We recruited a group of fifteen Year 9 students from two different schools. These same students returned for the second year of the project.

The event aimed at widening participation in higher education, and raising the aspirations and confidence of young people. As such, selected students were:

  • In receipt of free school meals and/or eligible for pupil premium
  • From a lower socio economic background
  • Did not have a background of HE in their immediate families

We were delighted to offer this event free of charge to all of our partner schools.