Doctoral Open Days

Doctoral open day show and tell 2

An opportunity for new PhD students to discover the British Library’s unique research materials and how to access them.

Our annual series of Doctoral Open Days offer PhD students the chance to discover our research resources and explore the practicalities of using the Library. This hybrid programme of online and in-person events and resources is designed to support students in navigating the Library's vast and varied physical and digital collections, introduce them to expert staff and provide the opportunity to meet other researchers. 


While some Open Days focus on specific subjects, such as Music, others take an interdisciplinary approach and look at our collections from particular regions or periods, from Antiquity to the 21st Century. Pick up the basics with our introductory webinar, and then choose to focus on areas of the collection that will be most relevant to you. 



2023 forthcoming events



British and European Collections: 1600-1950 (26 June 2023 - British Library, St Pancras)

Learn about modern archives and manuscripts, and explore the Library's rich printed and digital collections useful for the study of British and European history, literature, science and art.


Programme (for download)





The Americas and Oceania Collections (21 July 2023 - British Library, St Pancras)

Learn about the extraordinary scope of our Americas and Oceania collections in manuscript, print, microform, recorded and digital formats. Curators will provide a closer look at the Oceania, Canada and the USA, Caribbean and Latin American collections.


Programme (for download)


Booking - coming soon



Not Just Books: Digital Collections and Resources (25 August 2023 - British Library, St Pancras)

Web archives, metadata, digital research and more. Discover more about collection areas you might not have considered for your research!


Programme and booking - coming soon



Music, Sound and Vision Collections (1 September 2023 - British Library, St Pancras)

Several million items of printed music, original manuscripts, private papers, sound and spoken word recordings and moving images in our collection span all genres from Purcell to Panufnik, and from Punk to Pop. Learn more about how this collection can aid your research not just in music, but in anthology, history and culture.


Programme and booking - coming soon



British and European Collections: From Antiquity to 1600 (British Library, St Pancras) - rescheduled date

This day will appeal to all researchers undertaking PhDs with a particular focus on History, Literature, History of Art and Religious Studies in the Western Heritage, British and European Collections.

Programme (for download)

Booking - coming soon



Contemporary Society and Culture Collections (23 October 2023 - British Library, St Pancras)

How can you unlock the potential of millions of items in our contemporary collections? We'll give you some tips. Learn how to navigate the manuscript, archival, digital and print sources for the study of 20th- and 21st-century Britain and Ireland, including resources you won't find elsewhere.


Programme and booking - coming soon



Maps, Art and Science: Discover the Unexpected in our Collection (17 November 2023 - British Library, St Pancras)

Whatever your research, antiquarian and digital maps, science and the visual arts could play a part. We'll introduce you to fascinating collections you might not be aware of.


Programme and booking - coming soon









2023 past events


Getting Started with The British Library (6 March 2023 - online)


The perfect place to start. You'll get an overview of our extensive collection, plus practical tups on how to use our catalogues and navigate our digital resources. Highly recommended for researchers of all disciplines and subject areas. 





Exploring Collections in Your PhD (27 March 2023 - Leeds Central Library)


This day will introduce you to the range of research materials available in the British Library, Leeds Central Library, the West Yorkshire Archive Service and the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds. It will give practical tips and guidance on using catalogues and reference services, give you the opportunity to meet other postgraduate students as well as Library and Archive experts, and the chance to hear from current PhD students on doctoral training opportunities. 


Programme (for download)


Asian and African Collections (21 April 2023 - British Library, St Pancras)

Our Asian and African collections cover hundreds of languages and are key to anyone studying materials from Africa, South East Asia, South Asia, East Asia and the Middle East and Central Asia. Join us for a closer look and to find out more in sessions with our curators. 


Programme (for download)




Please do not email with enquiries about these events. This page will be updated with more information about the series and booking links very soon. 


If you would like to be added to our mailing list to be updated about the Doctoral Open Days along with other research opportunities, please contact us:



Research training and events

Computing for Cultural Heritage

Trialing a new postgraduate certificate, Computing for Cultural Heritage, with The National Archives and Birkbeck University

The Panizzi Lectures

The Panizzi Lectures on bibliography

All projects