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Doctoral College

Doctoral Open Day | British Library | 21 April 2023

An opportunity for new PhD students to discover the British Library’s unique research materials and how to access them.


The British Library would like to invite you to the next Doctoral Open Day onsite at St Pancras, London.

Our annual series of Doctoral Open Days offer PhD students the chance to discover our research resources and explore the practicalities of using the library. This hybrid programme of online and in-person events and resources are designed to support students in navigating the library's vast and varied physical and digital collections, introduce them to expert staff and provide the opportunity to meet other researchers. These days are aimed at first-year doctoral students, but those in other years who want to increase their knowledge of The British Library and its collections are also very welcome!

Asian and African Collections (Friday 21st April 2023)

Our Asian and African collections cover hundreds of languages and are key to anyone studying materials from Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and the Middle East and Central Asia. Join us for a closer look and to find out more in sessions with our curators and meet other researchers in your area – no matter what your time! Please find the updated programme attached. Refreshments will be provided.

The day will:

  • Introduce you to a range of research materials available in the British Library
  • Support you in registering as a Reader and finding your way around the Library
  • Introduce you to specialist curators at the Library
  • Give you an opportunity to meet other postgraduate students from across the UK

Please note:

  • Lunch will not be provided, but there will be tea, cake and coffee in the afternoon • You will only be able to attend the Show & Tell session you indicated in advance – you will be sent a survey via email after booking this event and asked to indicate which one
  • Sessions with Reference Specialists and Building Tours will be given on first-come, first-served basis

Programme Registration at the Foyle Room, British Library Centre for Conservation from 10am

Optional activities from 10.00 to 12.30am

  1. Pre-recorded materials made available to registered attendees online:
  • Visual Arts in the Asian and African Collections – Malini Roy (Head of Visual Arts) (10 mins)
  • Endangered Archives Programme – Jody Butterworth (Endangered Archives Programme Curator) (10 mins)
  • India Office Records – Antonia Moon (Lead Curator, Post-1850 India Office Records) (10 mins)
  1. Reader Registration – we can assist you in registering for your Readers’ Pass
  2. Join a session with one of our Reference Team Specialists to explore the possibilities for your research (10.30am or 11.30am)

12.30-12.35pm – Introduction to the Asian and African Doctoral Open Day (Alice Marples, Research and Postgraduate Development Manager, Foyle Room)

12.35-1pm – ‘Introduction to Researching the British Library’s Asian and African Collections’ (Arani Ilankuberan, Head of South Asian Collections – presentation, Foyle Room)

1.15-4pm Meet the Curators (Boardroom) – pre-booked 30 minute sessions

An opportunity to hear about the collection areas and see some of the rare and unusual items from within the Library’s Collections.

Shown by Curators from across the collections – do feel free to ask any questions!

1.15-2.15pm – Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia OR

3.00-4.00pm – South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia

1-4pm Meet your Peers (Foyle Room) A free space and opportunity to meet one another and discuss your research over tea, coffee and cake! Also a chance to explore the Library

4.15-5.15pm Optional Building Tour (with the Research Development Team)

Booking link: more information on the Doctoral Open Day series:

For enquiries, please contact:



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