The university tearoom: informal public spaces as ideas incubators

Claire Wright, Simon Ville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Informal spaces encourage the meeting of minds and the sharing of ideas. They serve as an important counterpoint to the formal, silo-like structures of the modern organisation, encouraging social bonds and discussion across departmental lines. We address the role of one such institution – the university tea room – in Australia in the post-WWII decades. Drawing on a series of oral history interviews with economic historians, we examine the nature of the tea room space, demonstrate its effects on research within universities, and analyse the causes and implications of its decline in recent decades.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-254
Number of pages19
JournalHistory Australia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Intellectual history
  • Australian universities
  • ideas exchange
  • tea rooms
  • Australian economic history


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