The Business Archives Council of Scotland organises an annual conference in the Autumn, occasional training days and in 2017 started it’s Corporate Connections event to support networking for business archivists and custodians of business archives in Scotland. Details of past events can be found here.

2023 AGM

The 2023 AGM for the Business Archives Council of Scotland took place on Friday 8th December. This event was held at the National Library of Scotland and included a tour of their Treasures exhibition.

Papers are below:

2024 Conference

The 2024 Business Archives conference will again be organised jointly by the Business Archives Council of Scotland and the Business Archive Council. It will take place in November 2024 in Scotland. Planning will begin in January 2024 with a call for papers once venue and topic is confirmed.


2023 Conference 

The Business Archives Council of Scotland and the Business Archive Council held the first joint HYBRID conference on the 8th November 2023. Entitled The Digital Everyday Digital: Tools for Preservation and Access. Details here. We welcomed around 60 attendees on site at HSBC headquarters in London and 50 digital online attendees also.

Business Bites

In 2023, the Business Archives Council of Scotland and the Business Archives Council joined forces to present a joint programme of regular online webinars on subjects related to Business Archives. Business Bites is the name of this initiative to encourage conversations, bringing together the small community of business archivists and custodians of business archives across the UK, many of whom work alone, to share our experiences.


These will continue throughout 2024 and we will hold a Business Bites event every two months with the first event in February on Research Using Business Archives. The full programme will be shared below once confirmed. All Business Bites sessions are held on the last Wednesday of every second month. Events for 2024 are planned for February, April, June, September, December.


This new partnership means that our online events will be a mixture of member only events with 50% of events still open to all. Normally our regular in-person events are for BACS members who are business archivists or custodians of business archive collections. Not a BACS member already? Come along to see what BACS has to offer and become a member! (Annual membership starts from £10 for an Individual Member, £20 for Organisational Membership, £50 for Corporate Membership).

The theme of the February event is – Research Using Business Archives. This event is open to ALL. Register here to take part.

Where: Online – via Zoom
When: Wednesday, 28th February 2024, 12.30pm – 13.30pm
How: To reserve a place, sign up using this link
What: Research Using Business Archives – Current Examples and Opportunities

During the first Business Bites webinar of the year, we will hear from the recipients of the 2022 Business Archive Council Bursary of Business History Research who will talk about the research they have carried out using business archives across England and Wales. This webinar will highlight not only the work of these researchers but will also show the opportunities for research held in Business Archive collections across the UK.



Chris Corker is Lecturer in Management at the School for Business and Society, University of York. His award-winning work in business history explores elements of knowledge, technological development, and business networks in industrial clusters, with focus on the history of Sheffield, metallurgy and armaments. His work has recently been profiled on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking.

Emma West is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, where she recently completed a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship. Her research examines the public reception of modern art, design, literature, and performance in interwar and mid-century Britain. Her work has been published in Modernist Cultures, Modernism/modernity, and the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies; she is currently writing her first book, Art for the People: Everyday Encounters with the Arts in Modern Britain. 

Lewis Smith is a Lecturer in Marketing at Brunel University London with interests in corporate heritage, business history, marketing, and the state. Recently this has included projects on the public and third sector in Britain since the Second World War, most recently focusing on the nationalised energy industries and their use of communications in the post-war period. His work seeks to explore the ways that history can be used to answer questions about modern government and policy, business strategy and social value.


Research Summaries:

Chris Corker

Chris Corker is working on a business history of stainless steel, its adoption into production by the steel industry and its use in consumer goods, 1913-1936. He has been using the records of three steel producers in the Sheffield region – Cammell-Laird, Vickers, and Thomas Firth – to examine the business and marketing decisions made by boards of directors. He was shortlisted for the BBC New Generation Thinkers scheme.


Lewis Smith 

Lewis Smith is working on the history of the public and third sector using a number of different archives including the National Gas Archive, History of Advertising Trust and National Archives. One of the most interesting discoveries has been how contentious advertising has been for nationalised industries throughout the post-war period. Despite these industries consistently performing as innovative and forward-thinking marketeers (often as good as, if not better than their private sector competitors), they were often undermined by the Government which saw advertising as wasteful and sometimes politically motivated against them.


Emma West 

Emma West is using brewers’ records (London Metropolitan Archives, National Brewery Centre), trade periodicals (National Brewing Library) and artists papers (Cambridge University) to explore British brewers’ patronage of the arts from the 1920s to the 1960s. Much of what Emma’s looking at is ephemeral, whether pub performances, exhibitions, murals, or inn signs, so photographs are often the only record of these activities. The best find so far has been an installation view of the 1948 Inn Crafts Exhibition, found in the journal the House of Whitbread. The signs were hung from the ceiling to replicate the effect they had on passers-by in the street: the photograph shows how pub exhibitions blurred the lines between art and commerce, the rarefied world of the gallery and the everyday environment of the public house.


Please direct any questions or comments to

Corporate Connections‌

Corporate Connections was an initiative launched by BACS in 2017 (and ran to 2023) to encourage face to face conversations, bringing together the small community of business archivists and custodians of business archives in Scotland, many of whom work alone to share our experiences. Regular social meet ups were held twice a year, with a rotating theme to kick start conversations and let you meet your peers. Anything and everything business archives was openly discussed among friends. From 2020, due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, our Corporate Connections events moved online. The BACS team invited those with an interest in business archives to these informal online talks where current challenges, successes and ideas were shared over virtual tea and biscuits (to be provided by the attendees!)

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