Malcolm Dick


  • Associate Professor in Regional and Local History, History

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am able to offer supervision in the following areas:

The history of the West Midlands since 1700
The social and cultural history of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
I have successfully supervised several research degrees since 2010. These include:

Close Encounters: The Personal and Social Life of Anna Seward, 1742-1809 (with English), MLitt, 2011
Robert Bage's contribution to social equality (with English), MLitt, 2011
Elizabeth Cadbury, 1858-1951 (AHRC Collaborative PhD with Birmingham Archives and Heritage and the Centre for Quaker Studies), PhD, 2012
Constructing the eighteenth-century woman: the life and education of Sabrina Sidney, PhD, 2013
‘To the Bull Ring!’ Politics Protest and Policing in Birmingham during the early Chartist period, MRes, 2014
Samuel Johnson: a promoter of useful knowledge and social improvement, PhD, 2014
I am also supervising several research theses at the present time

The cultural journey of Anne Yearsley 1753- 1806
The carriage of goods in and out of Birmingham in the eighteenth century
Industrialisation and urbanisation in Broseley, Shropshire
The origins, development and influence of William Shenstone’s landscape design at the Leasowes, Halesowen
Paying the price for industrialisation: the experience of a Black Country town, Oldbury, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
Intellectual communities and industry in Shropshire in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
The origins, development and influence of William Shenstone’s landscape design at the Leasowes, Halesowen
Urban gardens in the West Midlands manufacturing towns of the eighteenth century
George Edmunds and the making of Birmingham radicalism
Entrepreneurial influence and technological change: the rise and decline of the West Midlands cut-nail trade, c.1811-1914
The development of reformatory and industrial schools in Victorian Birmingham, 1850 to c. 1900
Medical care in the workhouses in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, 1839-1912
The development of a late nineteenth-century Birmingham suburb: Moseley, 1850-1900
Reasons to remember: commemorating the great and the good in late Victorian and Edwardian Birmingham
Birmingham exceptionalism, Joseph Chamberlain and the 1906 general election
Birmingham manufacturing and its workforce during the Second World War
Politics, governance and the shaping of Smethwick since 1945


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


My first degree was in History and Political Studies and I gained a PhD at the University of Leicester, financed by the Economic and Social Research Council, which explored the relationships between ideologies, industrialization, urban growth and schooling for the poor in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century England. I began working at the University of Birmingham in 2004.

Before then I taught in comprehensive schools, sixth-form colleges and further and adult education. In the late 1990s, I was Director of Lifelong Learning and Head of Humanities and Social Sciences in a local college. Between 2000 and 2004, I managed two history projects for Birmingham City Council, and worked as an examiner for the Open College Network. I also worked as a National Expert Advisor for the Heritage Lottery Fund. My initial work at the University was within the Centre for Lifelong Learning and the School of Education, where I was Lecturer in History and Heritage and successfully secured finance from the Heritage Lottery Fund and European Social Fund for two projects.

Since 2007 I have been a member of staff in the School of History and Cultures. Currently, I am Director of the Centre for West Midlands History, one of the research centres in the School, and Convenor of the MA in West Midlands History, as well as a teacher of undergraduate modules and supervisor of research students who specialize mainly but not exclusively in the history of the Midlands.

Outside of the School I have also worked on MA programmes at the Ironbridge Institute and developing approaches to Impact and Knowledge Exchange within the College of Arts and Law. I am also on the board of the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University and on the committee of the journal Midland History. I work extensively with local heritage organizations to develop research projects, teaching programmes and public engagement activities. 

Research interests

My research and publications interests are in the history of the West Midlands with special reference to the Midlands Enlightenment of the late eighteenth century, the development of Birmingham and the Black Country and the history of ethnic minority communities. I have contributed to books on approaches to the study of local history and Matthew Boulton. I have also co-edited an edition of the journal Midland History on the history of ethnic communities in the Midlands. Other interests of mine include the impact of industrial development and the representation of heritage, past and present. My current projects include work on early Quaker industrialists, John Baskerville (the Birmingham industrialist and printer) and James Watt (the entrepreneur and inventor).

My initial research and publications were in the social history of mass schooling in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Since 2000, my interest has shifted to explore the history of the Midlands region. I managed and acted as editor of the Millennibrum Project (Birmingham City Council) from 2000 to 2002, which created a multi-media archive of Birmingham's history since 1945. I also managed and directed the research for the Revolutionary Players Project (Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery) from 2002 to 2004, which created a digital resource for students and researchers on the history of the West Midlands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries:

I also ran the Joseph Priestley and Birmingham Project which resulted in an edited publication, Joseph Priestley and Birmingham (2005), an exhibition, town trail and DVD, Joseph Priestley: an eighteenth-century scientist (2007). I also ran the Joseph Priestley and Birmingham Project which resulted in an edited publication, (2005), an exhibition, town trail and DVD, (2007).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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