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Launch of National Basketball Heritage Archive at University

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British basketball history will be brought to life with a new national archive in Worcester.

Organisers believe it will be the largest public collection of basketball-related fan memorabilia in the country, with material dating back nearly 60 years.

The University of Worcester’s National Basketball Heritage Archive and Study Centre, launching this week, will be a resource hub for students, academics and others interested in the history of the sport.

The University also hopes it will preserve basketball’s cultural heritage, highlight its national significance and engage wider audiences with the sport.

Dr Geoff Kohe, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Sports Studies and a Sport Historian, said: “Notwithstanding select material held by British Basketball, basketball heritage in the United Kingdom has not yet been afforded a dedicated space and only received limited research interest.

“This centre provides an invaluable opportunity to learn more about basketball and its significance within the UK. This particular archive is being developed as a valuable, substantial and unique research and educational resource.”

The launch, at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday, September 30th prior to the Worcester Wolves match, coincides with National Sporting Heritage Day.

The heritage project started when basketball enthusiast John Atkinson donated 58 boxes of fan memorabilia to the University when he moved abroad, but was added to by fellow fan Jennifer Collins.

Although basketball first came to the UK in the late 19th century, it took until the 1930s to establish a league system.

The majority of the archive dates from the mid-1960s onwards and includes kit, programmes, pennants, trophies, video recordings, photographs, press cuttings, player profiles and performance statistics largely related to UK basketball, but also includes international material.

A year in the making, the project was led by Dr Kohe and the University’s Research Librarian, Roger Fairman.

Work began in earnest evaluating and digitising the collection over the summer, with help from research intern and Worcester history graduate Bethany Turner.

The collection will be held at The Hive library, but also have an online presence through the University library webpage and Sport Heritage Network.

Dr Kohe said there has already been interest from researchers and students.

Mick Donovan, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor (Inclusive Sport & Educational Development), said: “The University of Worcester has an excellent reputation for developing basketball at national and international level.

“We see this as a significant and historic development for the sport and are thrilled to be part of it.”

The University would welcome approaches from people who have stories or materials to contribute or those interested in using the collection for research.

Email researchcollections@worc.ac.uk.

To see the collection online visit: http://www.nationalsportsmuseumonline.org.uk/content/collection/university-worcester-research-collections-basketball-heritage-collection

or http://library.worc.ac.uk/research-collections/basketball-heritage.