Teaching & Learning
Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library plays an active role in teaching and learning activities at SOAS and beyond. We aim to support innovative group teaching and e-learning activity based upon our unique collection of archives, manuscripts and rare books.
We also deliver archivist-led training sessions focused on archival study skills, designed to help students and staff understand, locate and use primary sources for their own learning and research needs.
We welcome expressions of interest from academic staff who wish to employ primary sources in teaching to enrich and enhance the learning experience of their students.
Many course leaders recognise that exposing students to original archives, manuscripts and rare books in source-led sessions can offer students first-hand insights into their subjects, promote critical thinking, and spark enthusiasm for wider classroom and independent-study based learning
"Most of my MA students have no previous background in archival work; the SOAS archivists have helped surmount this by designing an introductory afternoon-long workshop"
Dr. Joel Cabrita, course leader, African Missionaries MA module, 2012/13
Recent sessions have included:
- African Missionaries, MA seminar, 2014/15, 2013/14, 2012/13, Department of the Study of Religions
- Research Methods in History With Special Reference to Asia and Africa, MA seminar, 2014/15, 2013/14, Department of History
- Popular Practice in the Edo Period Arts, MA seminar, 2013/14, Department of the History of Art and Archaeology
- Global Commodities Law, undergraduate seminar, 2014/15, School of Law
- Urban Modern Eastern Asia, undergraduate seminar, 2014/15, 2013/14, Department of History
- Environmental Law, undergraduate seminar, 2014/15, School of Law
- Japanese & Korean Art, Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art seminar, 2014, Department of the History of Art and Archaeology
- Sixth Taiwan Studies Postgraduate Summer School, 2013, Centre of Taiwan Studies
- Jawi and the Malay Manuscript Tradition, SOAS Academic Summer School, 2014, Department of South East Asia
See our SOAS Archives blog for reports on recent teaching & learning sessions.
Our collections reflect the British interaction with Africa and Asia over the last 250 years, and include the archives of missionary societies, NGOs and campaign groups, and business organisations; several thousand unpublished literary, religious, and other manuscripts in over 100 different languages; and a diverse collection of rare books, dating back to the 15th century.
The selection of material for individual teaching sessions is undertaken by the course leaders. However, we are very happy to use our professional knowledge of the collections and finding aids to assist course leaders locate potentially relevant material.
The following spaces can be booked for small-group teaching (subject to availability):
- Library Training Suite, E17, Level E (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday only, capacity 20)
- Special Collections Reading Room, Level F (Wednesday only, capacity 20)
To book a session please complete and return an expression of interest form. Please include details of the subject, proposed dates, the archives, manuscripts or rare books required, and the level of input desired from staff at Archives & Special Collections.
Please ensure you provide us with at least 4 weeks notice of any proposed teaching session.
Alternatively, you are very welcome to contact us to informally discuss a potential teaching session.
Archives & Special Collections offer regular training sessions on practical archival study skills delivered by professional archivists.
Sessions aim to provide SOAS students and staff with the skills necessary to understand, locate and utilise primary sources at SOAS and beyond, while also developing wider transferable information literacy skills.
"The most useful library training session I have participated in, thank you"
SOAS Research Student, Locating Archival Resources for your Research, 2012
Information on upcoming archival study skills workshops will be available on our events page.
We also welcome expressions of interest by course leaders who wish to embed archival study skills training into undergraduate and postgraduate course curriculums.