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Archive of Daniel Meadows, photographer and social documentarist


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Photograph of John Payne and friends, taken by Daniel Meadows, 1974. © Daniel Meadows. Image reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.

Photograph of John Payne and friends, taken by Daniel Meadows, 1974. © Daniel Meadows. Image reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.

The majority of the archive comprises series of project documentation, arranged roughly chronologically. The material includes a range of paper, photographic, audiovisual, digitised and born-digital material. These comprise:
  1. Early material, mostly in Manchester
  2. Free Photographic Omnibus Project
  3. Commonwealth Institute commission work
  4. Work as photographer-in-residence to the Borough of Pendle, Lancashire
  5. Television work
  6. Welfare State International and IOU theatre company
  7. Picture stories
  8. Julian Bream: a life on the road
  9. Little White Books
  10. Suburbia and Nattering in Paradise (1988)
  11. Photojournalism workshops in Eatern Europe and India
  12. PhD at Cardiff University
  13. National Portraits
  14. National Portraits: Now & Then
  15. The Bus - The Free Photographic Omnibus, 1973-2001 - an adventure in documentary (2001)
  16. Cardiff University teaching, research and appraisal
  17. BBC Cymru: Capture Wales
  18. No Such Thing As Society
  19. Talking Pictures
  20. Digital stories
  21. Photobus website
The remainder of the archive comprises the following three series arranged by format:
  1. (MSS. Meadows 1-44) Meadows photographic archive of negatives and contact sheets from film exposed between 1969-1986
  2. (MSS. Meadows 147-162, 203-204) publications relating to Meadows and his work
  3. (MSS. Meadows 163, 188-193) posters and exhibition material.
Due to the nature of Meadows' work, where projects often ran parallel to one another, there is some overlap (particularly in the series of Cardiff University, Meadows' PhD, BBC Cymru Capture Wales and Digital storytelling.


  • 1969-Dec 2020, n.d.


23.54 Linear metres (214 physical shelfmarks; 197 digital shelfmarks (1948 digital items))

Language of Materials

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek, Modern (1453-)
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish; Castilian
  • Welsh
  • Swedish

Conditions Governing Access

Personal or corporate material of a sensitive nature is closed.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission must be sought and a license obtained from Daniel Meadows in order to reproduce his work in any way; contact details can be provided upon request.

Third party copyright exists in the archive.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio, page or item reference, e.g. MS. Meadows 1 or MS. Meadows digital 1 item 1].
Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Meadows 1-214; MSS. Meadows digital 1-197

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12752, 17418.17823


Archive of Daniel Meadows, British photographer and social documentarist, 1969-2014.

Biographical / Historical

Daniel Meadows is a photographer, social documentarist and digital storyteller. His work records British society, working collaboratively with subjects to capture extraordinary aspects of ordinary life through pictures, audio recordings and short movies.

Meadows was born in 1952 in Gloucestershire, England. He studied Photography at Manchester Polytechnic between 1970 and 1973, and began experimenting with photodocumentary projects during his studies, both independently and in collaboration with fellow student, Martin Parr.

After his graduation Meadows journeyed around England in the Free Photographic Omnibus when he travelled 10,000 miles in a converted double-decker bus and made 958 portraits in "free studio" sessions on the streets of 22 different British towns and cities, 1973-1974. Meadows stayed in contact with many subjects and contacts he met during this time. He revisited the bus project in the 1990s whilst completing a PhD at Cardiff University, photographing again some of the subjects of those portraits for his widely published and exhibited series National Portraits: Now & Then.

Inspired by Dana Atchley and the Centre for Digital Storytelling (CDS), Berkeley, Meadows pioneered the community digital storytelling project Capture Wales (2001-2008) for BBC Wales. Capture Wales encouraged many hundreds of people across Wales to embrace the arrival of the digital age in pop-up workshops by making their own two minutes of TV, framing their memories and pictures into digital stories, coined "multimedia sonnets from the people". Capture Wales won a BAFTA Cymru in 2002.

Meadows taught the documentary photography course with David Hurn in Newport, 1983-1994; also photojournalism, 1994-2001 and digital storytelling, 2000-2012, at Cardiff School of Journalism, Media & Cultural Studies where he also completed his PhD in 2005.

His work has been exhibited widely both in the UK and on the continent of Europe. Solo shows include Institute of Contemporary Arts London (ICA) in 1975, The Photographers' Gallery London, 1987 and National Media Museum Bradford, 2011. Group shows include Serpentine Gallery London, 1973 and Tate Britain, 2007.


Arrangement is by original order. Titles and references assigned by Meadows have been retained where relevant. Regarding born-digital and digitised material, this has been arranged as close to the original filing structure of the media carrier where possible as Meadows' placed the digital media within boxes according to his own arrangement.

Custodial History

Between 2014 and 2018 the Daniel Meadows archive was held on deposit at the Library of Birmingham, accessioned with the reference MS. 2765.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Bodleian Libraries by Daniel Meadows in 2018.

Related Materials

See also the Bodleian Libraries' Web Archive for captures of Daniel Meadows' Photobus website.


  • Living like this - around Britain in the seventies Daniel Meadows (1975) London: Arrow Books
  • Nattering in Paradise: a word from the suburbs Daniel Meadows (1988) Simon & Schuster
  • National Portraits: photographs from the 1970s Val Williams (1997) Viewpoint Gallery, Montage Gallery
  • The bus: the free photographic omnibus 1973-2001: an adventure in documentary Daniel Meadows (2001) London: Harvill
Catalogue of the Archive of Daniel Meadows, photographer and social documentarist
Finding aid prepared by Kelly Burchmore
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
This is the second edition of this catalogue.
Finding aid note
Cataloguing support provided by Carolyn Lewis.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom