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Childhoods and Play: An Archive

Project Director: Professor Jackie Marsh, Professor of Education, University of Sheffield


The project is focused on the archival collection of Iona (1923-) and Peter Opie (1918-1982) relating to the play and traditions of children. The internationally significant collection contains information contributed by some 20,000 British children, as well as the Opies' own observations and sound recordings, and is distributed between the Bodleian Libraries, the Folklore Society archives, and the British Library Sound Archive. The project aims to surface the entire collection by creating a digital resource that brings it together and makes it freely available to all for academic, educational and community purposes. The project team will also conduct ongoing research based on the collection, focusing on the relationship between media, commercial markets and play from the 1950s to the present day.

Jackie Marsh, Research on childhood and play: Drawing on the Opie legacyBritish Academy Review, 21 (January 2013)