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Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships (redirected from Byrne-Bussey Fellowships)

Page history last edited by Alan Hartley-Smith 1 year, 6 months ago


Marconi Archives


The Douglas Byrne Marconi Fellowship at The Bodleian Library and The Museum of the History of Science in Oxford

The purpose of this annual Fellowship award is to advance knowledge of the history of wireless communication, using the Marconi archives at the Bodleian Library and collections at the Museum of the History of Science. The award will provide the recipient with the opportunity for a period of uninterrupted research using the Marconi archive in the Bodleian Library and/or the Marconi artefacts housed in the Museum of the History of Science. At the end of their tenancy, the recipient of the Fellowship will deliver the results of their research at a public lecture, to be known as the ‘Douglas Byrne Marconi Lecture’ which will be advertised nationally and held in the University of Oxford.



The first call for applications for a Fellowship. Future applications here


First Byrne Lecture in 2011

Professor Peter Scott discussed his research into competitive advantage and innovation in the interwar British radio industry using the Marconi Archive, Britain's most extensive and important archive for the radio and related industries. The first Douglas Byrne Marconi Fellowship was awarded in 2010 to Professor Peter Scott, of the Henley Business School, University of Reading, for research into competitive advantage and innovation in the interwar British radio industry. 


Professor Scott says: "The Marconi fellowship has provided me with the resources to undertake in-depth research using Britain's most extensive and important archive for the radio and related industries", says Professor Scott. "The Marconi collection sheds important light on all aspects of the early radio industry and constitutes a key historical resource for anyone undertaking research in this area."

Podcast of lecture

Interview with lecturer



Second Byrne lecture in 2012

Dr Efstathios Arapostathis (University of Athens), the 2011 Fellow, delivered the 2012 Douglas Byrne Marconi Lecture in the Museum of the History of Science on Friday 11 May. His theme, “Owning and disowning wireless,” addressed the history of intellectual property at the turn of the 20th century, and was based on his research conducted during a residence in Oxford and examination of the Marconi Archive and Collection at the Bodleian Library and Museum of the History of Science.


Patenting his inventions was an important foundation of Marconi’s business success, notably the award of the patent number 7777, for separating signals through tuning, allowing simultaneous transmission on different frequencies — a patent which however inspired a lawsuit against Marconi.


Dr Arapostathis’s lecture examined the gap between the understanding of judges and the technical descriptions supplied by inventors.

Podcast of lecture (eighth item in list)


Third Byrne lecture in 2013

Saturday 20 April - by coincidence this was International Marconi Day

Dr Gabriele Balbi University of Lugano (visiting fellow at Columbia University and University of Westminster), the 2012 Douglas Byrne Marconi Fellow, delivered the Douglas Byrne Marconi Lecture on the topic of his research into the transition from one-to-one transmission to the idea of broadcasting as a business aim of the Marconi Corporation - "Marconi and the Broadcasting Option"


Dr. Balbi studied the Marconi Archives to reconstruct how the Marconi Company and Guglielmo Marconi himself understood the early history of wireless telegraphy, wireless telephony and radio broadcasting; which strategies guided their approach to these new media; which reasons guided them to resist one-to-many radio broadcasting in favor of wireless and point-to-point telegraph for such a long time. 


Blog report

Podcast of lecture


Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships 2013/14
Jaume Navarro (Universidad del País Vasco) A conceptual and cultural history of the demise of the ether

This is the current record of this Fellowship.

Podcast of 2014 lecture


Michael Weatherburn (Imperial College) 2014 lecture details  Lecture report  YouTube clip


Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowship 2014/15 

Dr. Elizabeth Bruton (University of Leeds) 

'Geographies of Marconi: Mapping the early history of Marconi and his Companies, 1896-1901' 

One-day symposium at the Bodleian Library 16th June 2015 - Space, place and landscape in the history of communications

Video report relating to WW1


KAPIL SUBRAMANIAN King's College London. The British Heavy Electrical Industry and India.


Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships 2015/16 

INÊS QUEIROZ, Researcher and PhD candidate, Institute for Contemporary History, NOVA University, Portugal. Marconi’s “Latin” Projects: Wireless Communications over The South Atlantic.

Podcast of lecture


NOAH ARCENEAUX, Associate Professor of Media Studies, San Diego State University School of Journalism and Media Studies, USA. Wireless Telegraphy - Commercial Uses Prior to 1920

A series of items detailing the outcome of the Fellowship has been provided  1.   2.   3.

Podcast of lecture


GIOVANNI PAOLONI, Professor, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. Between Two Worlds: Marconi in Italy and in Britain, From World War I to Radio and Television

Podcast of lecture


Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships 2016/17

AXEL PETIT [Autumn 2016] Fellow, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. The Electric Power of Wireless Telegraphy: Guglielmo Marconi and the Battery. He did not take up the Fellowship. 


JOANNA WALEWSKA [Sep 2016–-Oct 2016] Assistant Professor, Philological Faculty, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun. Waves of Capital Interfered: Marconi Wireless and the Nationalization of the Radio Engineering Industry in Post-war Poland - her research was carried out in the Marconi Archive. Dr Walewska writes of her time in the Bodleian Libraries as Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellow:

My project 'Waves of Capital Interfered: Marconi Wireless and the nationalization of radio-engineering industry in postwar Poland' is dedicated to the study of documents pertaining to relations between the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company and Polish Radio in the period between 1925 and 1950. Thanks to the primary sources available in the Marconi Archive at the Bodleian Library, I was able to analyse the strategy that Marconi Wireless applied in order to conquer the fairly unstable market in Poland which was still economically backward after the country had regained its independence in 1918. Since the majority of prewar archival documents of Polish Radio and radio-engineering plants was destroyed during the turmoil of WWII, research in the Marconi Archive gave me a unique opportunity to investigate the nature of these relations and, considering the strong relationship between Marconi Company and Polish Radio, to fill some crucial gaps in the history of broadcasting in prewar Poland.


I was also able to research materials on the trade relationships between Marconi Company and broadcasting companies in other countries like Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, as well as with Radio Belgrade. ... [t]he information I have gathered will substantially improve our general understanding of the development of radio broadcasting in Easter Europe before the WWII and in the postwar period.


Dr. Walewska especially draws attention to the following materials that may be of interest to other researchers on the history of wireless:


1. An analysis of Marconi Company advertising strategies (MS Marconi  332 and others) While working on the subject on Idzikowski’s and Kubala’s attempt at transatlantic flight, which ended in the crash in the Azores, I ... encountered a whole set of documents (in most of the cases press releases) related to the subject of transatlantic flights between 1919 and 1936.


2. The volumes of newspaper clippings

These thematic collections (wireless, sound broadcasting, television etc.) are quite remarkable, because they contain all mentions of wireless technology not only in technical and radio journals, but also in the daily newspapers. The scope of this collection is unprecedented because Marconi Company was hiring external companies, which were specialised in such services, therefore it comprised press clipping from every newspaper in Great Britain. Thus, it could be very useful for researchers interested in media history, as it allows not only to reconstruct mere facts, but also gives an opportunity to analyse the social attitude towards technologies or peoples’ practices and alternative usages of communication technologies.


Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships 2017/18

LAURA MORETTI [May 2018 - June 2018] Senior Lecturer in Art History, School of Art History, University of St Andrews. Thinking 3D: From Leonardo to the Present  

Thinking 3D is an interdisciplinary exploration of the concept of three-dimensionality and its impact on the arts and sciences, co-investigated by Dr Laura Moretti and Daryl Green, culminating in a wide range of exhibitions and events across Oxford in 2019.

This Byrne-Bussey Marconi talk will tell the story of the inception of Thinking 3D via a number of landmark texts which are shaping the narrative and informing the curatorial work of the Bodleian's Treasures exhibition in 2019, Thinking 3D from Leonardo to Present, which will present an overview of the entire project.

Lecture 21 March 2019


JACOB WARD  [Nov 2017 - Feb 2018]  PhD Candidate (will submit dissertation – by December 2017 at the latest – before taking up the Fellowship) University College London. Sustaining the Promise of Microwave: Wireless Transmission after World War II

Podcast of lecture  


Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships 2018/19  

MEGHAN DOHERTY [Sep 2018–Dec 2018] Assistant Professor, Director and Curator, Berea College, Kentucky. The Philosophical Transactions and the Development of the Scientific Image as Lingua Franca

Lecture -

Dr Meghan Doherty

Where Do The Images in The Philosophical Transactions Go?


This project examines the production and reception of the early issues (1665-1700) of the Philosophical Transactions

of the Royal Society of London by studying the movement of visual material produced for the journal. The research approaches the

complicated printing history of the Philosophical Transactions by examining the placement of the plates within copies of the journal

to better understand how readers (and binders) created relationships between text and image.


Wednesday, 28 November 2018

5.15pm-6.00pm (followed by refreshments)

Visiting Scholars’ Centre, Weston Library (Level 2)


MEDHA SAXENA  [Aug 2018–Nov 2018] Assistant Professor, Ramanujan College, University of Delhi. Wireless in Colonial South Asia 

Lecture - Imperial Wave: how empire shaped the network of wireless in South Asia at the turn of the twentieth century


Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships 2019/20

GUAGNINI, Anna  Independent Scholar. The composition and attitudes towards risk-taking of the shareholders of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company in the early experimental phase, 1897-1901


JENSEN, Sanne Aagaard  Research Adviser, Copenhagen Business School. The wireless battle of Scandinavia: Foreign commercial actors and national security concerns in wireless communications, 1910s-1920s   


MONTGOMERY, Georgina  Associate Professor, Michigan State University. The Long History of Wytham Woods:  The Practical and Policy Implications of Long-Term Ecological Projects here and here


Editors note - these were delayed by the pandemic and will be taken up when possible.


Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships 2020/21

LEONARD, Alice Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Warwick. Correcting readers in 17th-century natural philosophy

4 months


TAYLOR, R.E. School of Media and Film, University of Winchester. Sunspots and Signal Loss: Tracing Space Weather Disruptions to Early Radio Communications in the Marconi Archives


Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships 2021/22

Dr. Anna Guagnini - Byrne Bussey Marconi Visiting Fellow at the Bodleian Libraries, and a former Research Fellow at Linacre College and at the University of Bologna

Unveiling the invisible belt: the shareholders of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, 1897–1901



Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships 2022/23

Thandeka Cochrane, Research Associate, King’s College London - Cartographies of Cancer: Measuring and Mapping Disease in Southern Africa

Jacqui Grainger, Librarian, Royal United Services Institute - Networks and collections in the first 30 years of the United Services Museum

Maria Rikitianskaia, Lecturer, Regent’s University, London - Marconi ‘Amazons’: radiotelegraph operators and gender stereotypes





Marconi Archives






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