Swansea University

Campus and Community in a Post-War World, 1945–2020

Author(s) Sam Blaxland

Language: English

Genre(s): History

  • June 2020 · 352 pages ·234x156mm

  • · Hardback - 9781786836069
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786836076
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786836083

About The Book

Swansea University: Campus and Community in a Post-War World, 1945–2020 marks Swansea University’s centenary. It is a study of post- Second World War academic and social change in Britain and its universities, as well as an exploration of shifts in youth culture and the way in which higher education institutions have interacted with people and organisations in their regions. It covers a range of important themes and topics, including architectural developments, international scholars, the changing behaviours of students, protest and politics, and the multi-layered relationships that are formed between academics, young people and the wider communities of which they are a part. Unlike most institutional histories, it takes a ‘bottom-up’ approach and focuses on the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of people like students and non-academic staff who are normally sidelined in such accounts. As it does so, it utilises a large collection of oral history testimonies collected specifically for this book; and, throughout, it explores how formative, paradoxical and unexpected university life can be.


‘Deeply researched and elegantly written, this book is essential reading for alumni, staff and students at Swansea. And it deserves a wider readership. It will appeal to all historians of higher education, to policy makers and university leaders, and to anyone interested in how the past may help shape the future of teaching and research in Wales and beyond.’
-Professor William Whyte, University of Oxford

'Written in an accessible, engaging style, Swansea University belies its ostensibly limited appeal, and ought to be widely read by anyone with an interest in the fate of higher education.'
- Review by John Barnie in Planet Magazine.

'Sam Blaxland tells this story in an engaging, informative way and the book is punctuated by lots of good visual material he has garnered from the Richard Burton archives. It is not a dry, fusty account of an institution and neither is it a fawning roll-call of its successes. It locates the university both in its local hinterland and within the terrain of post-war UK universities, as they grow into bigger and bigger businesses which are therefore increasingly key to regional success.'
- Jon Gower Nation.Cymru https://nation.cymru/culture/review-swansea-university-campus-and-community-in-a-post-war-world-1945-2000/

‘This extensive volume held my attention throughout. Not only is it well-written but it also probes aspects of university life that many other books do not. From this book one can gain a clear insight into a university through its trials and tribulations and appreciate how complex an institution it is. The national context is well explained, including successive pieces of legislation, and many comparisons and contrasts are drawn with other universities in England and Scotland… in the crowded market of post-1945 university histories this deserves to be in the ‘must read’ category.’
- Review in The British Association for Local History. Read the full review here https://www.balh.org.uk/publication-review-october-2020-reviews

'This well-written study looks at the academic and social development of the institution against the background of higher education in Wales and the UK more generally. Apart from quarrying the college's own internal archives and those in the Ministry of Education at TNA, Kew, Sam Blaxland has conducted dozens of personal interviews with former students, together with academic and administrative staff who were employed at the college over a lengthy time-span from the 1930s to the 2010s. Particularly helpful, too, is a composite listing of all the departments which have existed at Swansea, their dates of establishment and subsequent fates. A wealth of black-and-white photographs and illustrations also appear in this study, depicting many aspects of the student experience at Swansea. All those associated with Swansea University, and many others besides, will derive pleasure and profit from perusing the pages of this illuminating study which is a real contribution towards evaluating the history of higher education in Wales and beyond.'
- J. Graham Jones, Gwales - http://siop.llyfrau.cymru/bibliographic/?isbn=9781786836069&tsid=15

This ‘book will find a wide audience, from the specialist to the general reader, and already has, hitting the Welsh bestseller lists on its release. For oral historians, this will become a standard work and a clear-sighted indication of the possibilities of oral methodology in the twenty-first century. It will, surely, be a text given to students to learn how to integrate interviews with archival research.’
-Spring 2021 issue of Oral History


List of Figuresx
List of Tablesxiv
Note on terms and place namesxvii
Note on oral history interviews.xviii
Chapter 1 - ‘Communities of learning’: Intellectual and Economic Reconstruction, 1945–1956.40
Chapter 2 - ‘A Quiet Revolution’: Campus and Community Life, 1947–1964.102
Chapter 3 - ‘How in hell can we cool them down?’: Politics and Protest, 1964–1973157
Chapter 4 – ‘Don’t be so Complacent!’: Crisis and Cutbacks, 1973 – 1988.219
Chapter 5 - ‘Change with the times’: Marketisation and Commercialisation, 1988–2020.272

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Sam Blaxland

Sam Blaxland is a Post-doctoral Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Swansea University.

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