Aid workers loading boxes into a convoy vehicle

The Humanitarian Archive

Date range: 1960 – present

The Humanitarian Archive provides a permanent home for endangered collections connected to humanitarianism and related subjects. The Archive is a unique partnership between The University of Manchester Library and the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute.

Photo of a 'Word Refugee Year' badge
From 'World Refugee Collection', The University of Manchester Library

Its remit covers the work of individuals and small non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in overseas aid and war and natural disaster response, and cultural artefacts relating to humanitarians, with a focus on underrepresented views and events. 

The Archive was launched in 2021 and currently works closely with the HCRI’s Developing Humanitarian Medicine project, which examines the development of humanitarian medicine over the past 50 years. The Humanitarian Archive builds on the Library’s existing humanitarian collections, which encompass poverty and medicine in the Manchester area, the nineteenth-century anti-slavery campaigns, pacificist movements and disability rights.

Tony Redmond (1980s - 2010s)

The personal archive of Professor Tony Redmond, medical doctor, humanitarian and the founder of UK-Med, the UK’s Emergency Medical Team. This collection covers Redmond’s entire emergency medical career, from the 1980s-2010s, including his work assisting in aid for the 1988 Armenian earthquake, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the Lockerbie Air Disaster and the Bosnian war.

UK-Med (1988 - present)

UK-Med archives are a live archive. For more details on UK-Med please see their website:

UK-Med have been responding to emergencies around the world since 1988, when a team of eight Manchester clinicians led by its founder Prof. Tony Redmond, went to Armenia in aid of those who had been hit by a devastating earthquake. When Ebola hit West Africa in 2014, killing over 11,000 people, 150 NHS clinicians were recruited, trained and sent to work in treatment centres alongside local health workers to help bring the outbreak under control.

UK-Med have trained over 1100 UK clinicians to deploy overseas, representing a huge global resource and benefiting their roles within the NHS. They have deployed clinicians following 12 large-scale natural and man-made disasters, treating patients in emergencies in Armenia, Iran, China, Haiti, Nepal, Cape Verde Islands, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Gaza, the Kurdish refugee crisis and the siege of Sarajevo. In addition, they have delivered training to thousands of healthcare workers in local and regional medical teams in Sierra Leone, South Sudan, China, Malawi, Myanmar, Armenia and Uganda.

Elizabeth Wilson Collection (1909 – 2000)

The papers of Elizabeth Wilson (1909-2000), founder of Hudfam, pacifist and Oxfam activist. The collection includes her correspondence, photographs and diaries, which represent her work in the UK and internationally. These papers complement the Hudfam organisational archives which are deposited in the Kirklees Archive Service.

The British mission in Saigon (1964 - 1973)

Papers relating to the British Medical Team who were sent by the British government to work in Saigon during the Vietnam war. Includes photographs, newspaper clippings, and correspondence.

Ron Ockwell Papers

A collection of grey literature, research notes and correspondence spanning the 1980s to 2000s collated by Ron Ockwell. Ockwell was a humanitarian and consultant who researched and produced guides for organisations including UNICEF and WHO.

Antonio Donini Papers

Papers from the personal collection of Antonio Donini, humanitarian, relating to his work in Afghanistan for the UN, covering the period 1988-2012. Includes letters, reports, grey literature, and published material.

Jonathan Falla Collection

The diaries, published works and other papers of Jonathan Falla, author and former humanitarian aid worker. The collection covers Falla’s time in India, Indonesia, Uganda, Nicaragua and El Salvador, Burma, and Sudan, spanning 1974-1991.

Norah Niland Papers

The personal papers of Norah Niland, former Director of Human Rights in UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. This collection consists of reports, minutes, policy documents, grey literature and correspondence, and relates particularly to the position of women and girls in Afghanistan

World Refugee Year Collection

A collection of ephemera, memorabilia and correspondence relating to World Refugee Year 1959-1960, collated by Professor Peter Gatrell over the course of his research for his book Free World? The Campaign to Save the World's Refugees, 1956–1963.

Roger Briottet Collection

The personal papers of Roger Briottet, a legal expert and humanitarian activist who worked extensively in Ethiopia and Eritrea in the 1980s, during the war and ensuing famine and criminal trials. His papers also cover his work in Togo, Burundi, Algeria, South America and Sudan.

Further Information

To find out more about the Humanitarian Archive, please contact Flora Chatt, Humanitarian Archivist.

To discuss how this archive will contribute to the scholarship of humanitarianism and humanitarian aid, please contact Professor Bertrand Taithe.

Blog Posts

Introducing the Humanitarian Archive

Elizabeth Wilson’s tea cosy

Ron Ockwell: A guiding hand for humanitarian aid

Useful Links

The Developing Humanitarian Medicine project

The Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI)