Latest News and Events from the NGO UK since 1945 and the DANGO projects.

The project finished in October 2011 so this page has not been updated. Below you will find an archive of past news and events about the NGOs and DANGO projects. A final report is available here and the chief publication here.

  • Latest News (8 March 2012): The datasets for the volume A History of NGOs in Britain: Charities, Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector since 1945 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) are now available.
  • 22 February 2011: The video of the witness Seminar: The Green break-through of 1989: meaning, significance and legacy, 14th October, 2010 is now online. More details.
  • Witness Seminar organised by the NGO project and the Centre for Contemporary British History, King's College, London: The Green break-through of 1989: meaning, significance and legacy, Thursday 14th October, 2010 - 1:30pm-5pm. More details.
  • 17 June 2010: the Briefing Paper, Civic Participation and Social Responsibility, presented to the Strategy Unit of the Cabinet Office by Professor Matthew Hilton on 15 June 2010, is now online.
  • 30 March 2010: information relating to Environmental NGOs are online.
  • 15 February 2010: The NGOs in Britain team is delighted to congratulate Sir Michael Bichard on his forthcoming elevation to the House of Lords. Sir Michael, chair of the Design Council and director of the Institute for Government, also serves upon the NGOs in Britain advisory panel. His recommendation as a non-party-political peer was announced by the House of Lords Appointments Commission on 5th February 2010. 
  • 2 February 2010: The NGOs in Britain project, the Environmental History working group, and Birmingham Centre for Contemporary History are pleased to invite you to a lecture by Professor John McNeill on 22 March 2010, 5.15pm:             An Environmental History of the Cold War, 1945-25945 A.D. by Professor John R. McNeill (Georgetown University)
    For more detail about this lecture, please click here.
  • 3 November 2009: The NGOs in Britain project and Birmingham Centre for Contemporary History would like to invite you to:

    Witness Seminar: The Voluntary Sector in 1980s Britain

    This witness seminar will bring together a number of prominent figures of the 1980s to consider the ways in which the voluntary sector interacted with, and was shaped by, the Thatcher Conservative government. By bringing together key individuals from this period we hope to provoke a round table discussion that will allow contemporaries to discuss their contribution and reflect upon their experiences, and thereby produce a response that is perhaps not captured in the surviving written record of the era.

    Witnesses confirmed include Michael Brophy (Capital Community Foundation), Nicholas Deakin (former Professor of Social Policy and Administration, University of Birmingham), Stuart Etherington (National Council for Voluntary Organisations), Richard Fries (former Home Office civil servant), Justin Davis Smith (Volunteering England), Nicholas Timmins (Financial Times), Julia Unwin (Joseph Rowntree Foundation) and Jerry White (former Commissioner for Local Administration in England).

    Venue: NCVO, Regent's Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL (map)
    Date: Friday 11th December, 2009
    Time: 14.00-17.00, registration/refreshments from 13.30

    The seminar is being organised under the auspices of the NGOs in Britain project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and hosted by the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary History (both running at the University of Birmingham).

    To reserve your place, please reply to Herjeet Marway ( by end of the day, Monday 30th November.
  • 3 November 2009: Call for Paper: 'Protecting nature and the environment in the 19th and 20th centuries – the French experience’, 24-25th September 2010, Paris.
  • 12 May 2009: The book NGOs in Contemporary Britain: Non-state Actors in Society and Politics Since 1945 edited by Nick Crowson, Matthew Hilton, and James McKay, is out. It can be ordered on Amazon.  A book presentation/flyer containing an abstract and a list of chapters and contributors can also be downloaded here.

    Abstract: The history of post-war Britain can only be properly understood with reference to the phenomenon of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). They have been right at the heart of every major socio-political initiative: from environmentalism to consumerism; from international aid to human rights; on identity issues such as age, gender, race, religion, disability and sexuality; and on social policy issues such as homelessness, education, child protection and mental health. This book offers the first survey account of NGOs in Britain since 1945. It brings together younger and established scholars to showcase new research presented in the form of surveys of the following areas: environmentalism, international aid and development, human rights, the peace movement, LGB equality, sexual politics, women’s groups, the anti-apartheid movement, the poverty lobby, drugs, fair-trade, moral reform groups, the relationship between NGOs and the state, and the nature of democracy. It does so by offering accounts of key NGOs in postwar Britain including Amnesty International, the Abortion Law Reform Association, Greenpeace, the Women’s Institute, the Child Poverty Action Group and even Mary Whitehouse’s National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association.

  • 20 March 2009: Fully booked event held at the British Academy : A workshop convened by the NGOs in Britain project at the British Academy was held on Friday 20 March 2009. The workshop examined the historical role of the British voluntary sector and drew together academics from historical, political science, social policy and sociological perspectives, who considered continuity and change in the socio-political role(s) of voluntarism and voluntary association in British society, since the late Victorian period.  The day consisted of a series of papers, followed by a round-table discussion. The event was a great success with 100 people in attendance, and an edited volume of the proceedings is under consideration (see full programme here).

    (click on pictures for a better view)

  • February 2009: The website of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary History is now live on the Birmingham University website.
  • January 2009: Publication of a summary of our research to date, focussing on Environmental NGOs in Britain, in an article in a special issue of the French journal Histoire & Soci??/i>: Matthew Hilton, Jean-Francois Mouhot and James McKay, "Les ONG et les mouvements de protection de l'environnement au Royaume-Uni: une autre mani?e de faire de la politique?", Histoire & Soci?? 27, 1st Semestre 2009, pp.58-89 [more information];

    This article first plots the growth of both environmentalism and the NGO sector as a whole in Britain since 1945. We suggest that NGOs with moderate, reformist and even reactionary agendas have played as big a part in politics as those associated purely with the Left. In the second part of this paper, we question the narratives of both those who believe in the decline of politics and democracy in Britain and of a new generation of sociologists of the 'anti-globalisation' movement who have claimed instead that 'global citizenship' has been revitalised in recent years. The growth of environmental NGOs suggests rather that there has been instead a reorientation of the political from formal party allegiances to NGOs. These NGOs, highly professionalized, increasingly play the role of an expert and mediator on issues that are often difficult to understand for ordinary citizens.  

  • 1 May 2008: Leverhulme Grant Success: Professor Matthew Hilton and Dr Nicholas Crowson have won ?440,605 to research NGOs in Britain since 1945. The DANGO project will continue under this new research project.

Website and database development:

Past events:

  • DANGO Conference (5-6 July 2007, Birmingham). See the conference programme.
  • March to May 2007: In the past few months, the DANGO team has visited organisations including the Muslim Council of Britain and Amnesty International UK to provide information and support on managing and/or depositing their records. DANGO will visit Friends of the Earth Scotland in June to assess and advise on their records.
  • 24 April 2007: DANGO presented the ongoing project and website at a quarterly meeting of CHARM (Charity Archivist and Records Managers) at Oxfam heaquarters, in Oxford.
  • The DANGO team delivered a paper to the Social History Society's annual conference in Exeter, 30 March-1 April 2007
  • Wednesday 31 January 2007: CenConUK Second Annual Lecture Professor Avner Offer, All Souls College, University of Oxford: "The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being" (more...)
  • 29/30 November 2006: DANGO presented a paper at the VSSN Conference in Glasgow and at Durham University. (more...)
  • 17-19 November 2006: DANGO team presented a paper at the North American Conference on British Studies in Boston (more...)
  • 13 October 2006: DANGO met delegates of the International Council on Archives in Paris (more...)
  • 11 October 2006: DANGO met with Chinese academic delegation (more...)

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