Peace and Anti-Nuclear Activism since 1945

Supervisory team: Dr Luc-André Brunet (History, The Open University) and Daniel Payne (Curator for Politics and International Relations, LSE Library)

Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award at The Open University, in partnership with The British Library of Political Science and Economics (LSE Library).

LSE Library holds a number of significant archives on the topic of twentieth-century peace activism and anti-nuclear activism. These include the archives of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), European Nuclear Disarmament (END), the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), and material relating to the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. These collections feature a wide range of material, such as official publications, personal correspondence, minutes of closed meetings, as well as photographs, posters, and song lyrics.

The CDA project will make use of LSE Library’s collections, along with other archival sources, on a topic related to peace and/or anti-nuclear activism since 1945. Possible themes of research could include:

  • international and/or transnational dimensions of peace activism
  • the relationship between peace activism and policymaking (and the influence of one on the other)
  • the role of women in peace activism
  • the contribution of BAME peace activists
  • forms of peace activism (including local, regional, national, and transnational/international)
  • narratives, visions, and symbols used, created, or adapted by peace activists
  • the relationship between opposition to nuclear energy and nuclear weapons

Working with LSE Library, the successful applicant will receive one-on-one training from the library curator on archives handling, archival research, and accessing the relevant archives at LSE Library. S/He would also have the opportunity to lead on curating a public exhibition using the LSE Library peace archives, on a topic related to her/his research, with full training on the curation process provided by the Library curator. The exhibition would be online and/or a physical one, hosted at LSE Library. There would also be an opportunity to organise a series of events and public engagement activities related to the exhibition in collaboration with the Library’s event teams, for example organising public events and working with external groups. The successful applicant would also have the opportunity to deliver a public talk or organise a workshop related to her/his research. In addition, the applicant would be invited to work with the Library’s engagement team to develop online and/or physical educational resources alongside her/his research, to help this research reach audiences such as the broader public, external community groups, and peace activists. The precise nature of collaborative activities with the LSE will depend on the project selected and in discussion with the successful candidate.

The successful applicant would be co-supervised by two academics from the Open University (OU) and one co-supervisor at LSE Library. The applicant would benefit from the extensive programme of research training events provided by the OU and the highly successful model of co-supervision offered by the university, and would be invited to join the university’s Research Group on War and Peace in the Twentieth Century. While the applicant would complete a PhD in History, her/his academic background could come from any related discipline, including but not limited to political science, international relations, sociology, literature, and religious studies. Depending on the topic chosen by the applicant, the second OU supervisor may be drawn from another relevant discipline to fully support an interdisciplinary project.

The lead supervisor for the project is Dr Luc-André Brunet, Lecturer in Twentieth-Century European History at the Open University, whose research expertise is peace and anti-nuclear activism across NATO in the final decade of the Cold War. The LSE Library supervisor is Daniel Payne, Curator for Politics and International Relations including the collections related to peace activism. More information on these collections can be found here: