Political archive appeals for election campaign material

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A sign for a polling station tied to a black metal fence with a brick building in the background

The Scottish Political Archive, housed at the University of Stirling, is appealing to the public to help collect campaign materials connected to next month’s Scottish Parliament elections.

The Archive provides a fascinating record of the political history of Scotland – housing an extensive collection of campaign literature, policy documents, oral interviews and other memorabilia, chronicling Scottish politics and elections in the twentieth and twenty first centuries.

Staff are now appealing to the public in Scotland’s 73 constituencies to help them capture campaign material connected to the forthcoming elections.

The Scottish Political Archive Archivist, Sarah Bromage, said: “Since the 2011 Scottish Elections, the Scottish Political Archive has actively collected election material for every election. This form of contemporary collecting helps researchers to understand how political campaigns are undertaken at grass roots level in local communities. 

“We are interested in election material that is put through people’s doors, distributed at campaign stalls and displayed in shop and home windows. We would also welcome any photographs of banners, posters and other election ephemera.”

Dr Peter Lynch, Archive Director and Senior Lecturer in History and Politics at the University of Stirling, said: “This form of archival collection is a valuable resource for political researchers as it allows us to trace the campaign messages in each election and how they vary from constituency to constituency.

“We get to compare local and national messages, use of political leaders, positive and negative campaigning and the framing of political issues.”

If you are willing to collect election leaflets for the archive please contact: scottishpoliticalarchive@stir.ac.uk, with details of you constituency,  or send the material you collect to Scottish Political Archive, Library and Special Collections, University of Stirling, Stirling.  FK9 4LA. 

The Political Archive collections, which are available to view via the University Collection site University of Stirling Online Collections, include the personal papers of political figures including former first minister, the Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell, and Kenyon Wright, Chair of the Scottish Constitutional Convention.  The archive has a specific focus to collect material relating to the campaign for a Scottish Parliament and the campaign for Independence.  It holds the ‘Devolution Oral History Collection’ which contains interviews with campaigners from the devolution referendums of 1979 and 1997 and a collection of material relating to the 2014 Independence Referendum.