Our collections and research infrastructure are available to all researchers. We encourage pupils, students, professionals and citizen scientists to come and find information in our archives.
We’re happy to assist researchers with advice on literature and sources regarding their chosen subject. We’re ready to advise you on how to approach your research. You will receive a more elaborate answer if you contact us beforehand and plan your visit in advance. On your first visit you can discuss your research with an archivist. The archivist will translate your research question into a search strategy for the right sources. Bear in mind that you will need to do the actual research yourself.
In order to help you with your research, CAVA has designed a number of tools that you can find on this site. Our online catalogue allows you to search our archives and collections, including the reference library and heritage objects, with a single search query. Our online bibliography and scientific reference library provide you with background information on the history of the university and student life.
We regularly publish texts on the history of student life and student folklore. You will also find context information on various themes on this website. The living history project (on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the university) has yielded a lot of synthetic but also anecdotal information. Finally, you will also find historical literature in the university's central library.
Many sources, especially magazines, photographs and posters, have been digitised. You can consult these in digital form directly in the online catalogue. If no digital file is available, we welcome you in the reading room.
CAVA wants to stimulate historical research about the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and its academic community as much as possible. That is why we have compiled a list of research topics for students, assistants and professors, in which we indicate which research topics are of interest. We can guarantee that enough sources are available to research these topics. By choosing one of these themes, you contribute to the knowledge about the evolution of the university and its academic community. If you choose one of these subjects, we’re happy to guide you in your work, without getting in the way of your supervisor. Prof. Dr. Frank Scheelings can also act as dissertation advisor for some subjects. You can find more information about the various lines of research on the Dutch page.
We also love to collaborate on projects with other professors and departments. For departments dealing with historical subjects, an archivist can stop by to explain the topics at the beginning of the academic year. If you would like to set up a research line or project in which the CAVA archives can play a role, we’re more than happy to support you in this. The list of subjects or the archives overview may serve as an inspiration. Please contact us in advance, so that we can help your students (and assistants) adequately. CAVA has academic staff with historical, archival and/or heritage expertise on hand.
Since both (organised) secular humanism and the university are concerned with social issues, records dealing with ecological history, the fight against fascism, the history of official education, peace issues, etc. can be found in our collections. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.