Skip to main content

Tom Hopkinson Collections: Cataloguing & Researching the Global History of Twentieth-Century Photojournalism


This research project explores the history of twentieth-century photojournalism through the career and output of Tom Hopkinson (1905-90).

From 1940-50, Hopkinson was editor of the popular British photo-magazine Picture Post. In 1958, he became editor of the South African photo-magazine, Drum. From 1970 to 1975, Hopkinson was founding director of the Centre for Journalism Studies at University College in Cardiff (later to become JOMEC). Hopkinson’s international career and professional network is illuminated by the Tom Hopkinson Collection in Cardiff University Special Collections and Archives. Comprising 6 shelf-metres of correspondence, diaries, public lectures, photographs and publications, the material chronicles over 50 years of social and photographic history across a number of nations.

This 6-week project comprises two principal strands: (1) producing a detailed list of correspondence and photographs in the Tom Hopkinson collection; and (2) producing a literature review and commentary on Drum magazine, with particular emphasis on the photographic coverage of South African townships between 1958 and 1963.

The student completing this research will also draw on the Osman Collection, comprising a wealth of material amassed and donated by Colin Osman (Editor of Creative Camera) including historic periodicals, photo-books, sound-recordings and documentary material covering the history of British photojournalism. They will be supervised by Dr Tom Allbeson (JOMEC) and co-supervised by Alan Hughes (Head of Special Collections and Archives).

The project will both add to Special Collections and Archives’ detailed record of its holdings, and provide the basis of new research in the transnational history of photojournalism focused on Hopkinson’s work at Drum in its heyday.

In addition to the cataloguing and research outputs outlined above, the project entails a spin-off digital storytelling project.

Combining original photography, archival material and voiceover, a short film will be produced to illustrate the collection material and its significance. This short film will showcase the work of the Tom Hopkinson Centre for Media History and support the plans for a larger public engagement initiative capitalising on the collections and historical associations of Cardiff University with the development of photojournalism.

The project team


Tom Allbeson

Dr Tom Allbeson

Senior Lecturer in Media History