Our new website provides an opportunity for us to share digitised content from our collections with researchers, an increasingly important resource during the current coronavirus lockdown. The University Archives has added a full set of digitised copies of The Musician, the magazine of the Musicians’ Union covering the years 1950 to 1975 to the website. This video provides further information on the magazine and how to access this new research resource:
Beneath the sometimes dry writing style and seriousness of a trade union journal, The Musician is an invaluable and unique account of what it was like to be a musician working in the UK during the second half of the twentieth century. It covers all the big social and political issues of the period from a singular – but otherwise under documented perspective – that of the musician. Crucially for researchers it does this to a level of detail that is unavailable elsewhere, allowing for the creation of new and more compelling histories of the profession and industries surrounding it.John Williamson, author of Players’ Work Time – A Social History of the Musicians’ Union.
Since its transfer to the University of Stirling Archives in 2009 the Musicians’ Union Archive has been one of our most used collections with researchers from around the UK (and further afield) using the collection for a wide variety of research projects. The archive also receives a large amount of enquiries from members of the public engaged in family history research whose relatives were professional musicians. In 2016 a new history of the Union was published which has generated further interest in the collection (Cloonan, M. & Williamson, J., Players’ Work Time – A Social History of the Musicians’ Union, Manchester University Press).
During the summer of 2019 Lorna Keddie, a graduate of the University of Stirling in Heritage and Tourism undertook a traineeship in the University Archives funded by the Musicians’ Union, to carry out the digitisation of the The Musician. You can read her report on the project here.