News and Views

Conference funding for panel on inequality, underrepresentation, and discrimination in the field of U.S. History with secondary school teachers (with BrANCH)

The Association of British American Nineteenth Century Historians (BrANCH) is the leading organisation for scholars of nineteenth-century U.S. history in the UK. In recent years, the association has sought to involve itself in initiatives to address issues surrounding inequality, underrepresentation, and discrimination in the field of U.S. History and is particularly keen to encourage greater racial, gender, and socioeconomic diversity among students studying U.S. History at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

History UK is providing £500 to help strengthen BrANCH’s relationships with institutions and individuals working in secondary education. Four teachers from local secondary schools will be invited to participate in a panel on 12th October at the 2019 Annual BrANCH Conference at the University of Edinburgh.

This panel, which will consist of both secondary school and university teachers of U.S. history, has three main aims.

  1. To share teaching practices, specifically regarding new digital archives and online resources that can be utilised in the classroom. Participants will focus on resources that allow access to non-traditional sources that can be used to develop new curriculum which moves beyond uncritically white- and male-centred histories of the United States.
  2. To discuss issues of diversity and equality among staff and students in the field of U.S. History in the UK. Panellists will share views from their vantage points in different areas of the education system and reflect on why certain racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups are underrepresented in the field of U.S. History beyond GCSE/A-Level.
  3. To explore future steps BrANCH and its individual members can take to address these issues, focussing on long-term collaborative initiatives between secondary school and higher education teachers.

The principal aim is to raise awareness regarding issues of discrimination, underrepresentation, and inequality in our field. This will further facilitate the building of networks between these teachers and BrANCH members, most of whom teach in higher education.

Alys Beverton (Cardiff University and Marketing and Fundraising Officer for BrANCH) said:

“BrANCH has been wanting to strength ties between its members and colleagues working in secondary schools for a while now. With this support from History UK we’re going to be able to actually get some of us together in the same room to have face-to-face conversations about issues relating to equality and diversity in our field, as well as share ideas about new learning materials we can all use to bring the latest resources into our classrooms. We’re really hopeful that this will be the starting point for what will grow into longer-term relationships between BrANCH and secondary school teachers in Edinburgh and perhaps beyond.”

Lucinda Matthews-Jones (co-convenor of History UK) said:

“We’re really pleased, at History UK, to be able to support BrANCH in furthering subject conversations with local school teachers by providing financial support to bring 4 teachers to their conference both as delegates and speakers. As a sector we have a lot to learn from our secondary school counterparts on how history is taught to our students before they come to university. We welcome the opportunity to assist with this collaboration.”

Follow BrANCH on Twitter @Branch19th

For more on projects (and events) funded by History UK, on opportunities to apply for funding, go to our funding page.

Launch of New Funding Scheme for Black and Minority Ethnic History, supported by HUK, EHS and SHS

History UK, the Social History Society and the Economic History Society and are launching a new funding scheme to support Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) history. The scheme has been created in recognition of the under-representation, structural inequalities and racism afflicting UK Higher Education Institutions. We are committing £2,000 a year for three years in the first instance.

The BME Events and Activities Small Grants Scheme will provide grants of up to £750 to support activities and events run by BME historians or on subjects relating to BME history. It is open to applicants looking to run conferences, workshops and symposia, as well as other activities such as exhibitions, walking tours, performances of podcasts. The initial call for applications for funding opens today and will close on 1 September 2019. Further details are available here: http://socialhistory.org.uk/bme-events-and-activities/

Lucinda Matthews-Jones and Jamie Wood, co-convenors of History UK, said:

This funding scheme represents another strand to History UK’s support for diversification of the historical profession in higher education, including events around inclusivity in the classroom, new-to-teaching workshops, and our annual academic job boot camp. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with other subject organisations to address the issues raised in the RHS report last year and hope that this can lead to further initiatives.

A panel of experts, comprised of Professor Catherine Hall (University College London), Dr Meleisa Ono-George (University of Warwick) and Dr Jonathan Saha (University of Leeds), will assess all applications to the scheme.

This support is open to professional historians (working in universities or elsewhere), independent scholars, retired staff and students alike. The only stipulation is that applicants should be (or be willing to become) members of either the SHS or EHS. In the case of applicants who are permanently employed in Higher Education Institutions, their department should also be (or willing to become) a subscribing member of History UK.

British American Nineteenth Century Historians (BrANCH) BAME Essay Prize

The British American Nineteenth Century Historians (BrANCH) is pleased to announce the addition of a new BAME essay prize of £100 for the best undergraduate essay or research project by black, Asian, or other minority ethnic students based in the UK. 

The recent survey of our discipline undertaken by BrANCH, BAAS and HOTCUS, supported by reports published by the British Association of American Studies and the Royal Historical Society, has identified major obstacles to racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion in UK university History.  One such obstacle is the progression of BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) students from undergraduate to postgraduate level.  As an organisation BrANCH is seeking to initiate positive and ongoing action in response to these obstacles.

We therefore invite submissions for our new, BAME undergraduate coursework essay prize of work written on any area of American history in the long nineteenth century by students identifying as BAME and in their second or third year of undergraduate study (third or fourth year in Scottish HEIs).  Work should be 2500-3500 words in length, to include notes but exclude bibliography.  While we expect the thematic content to be broad, judges will look for level of knowledge, writing style, degree of original thinking and overall quality of the piece.

Submissions should be sent by EITHER academic staff OR student to BrANCH EDI Officer Andrea Livesey (A.Livesey@ljmu.ac.uk), including a letter from any lecturer in the department confirming author’s registration on an undergraduate course.  Please include a permanent mailing address and email address for the student.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 13th May 2019

The winning entry will be announced in June, with the prize of £100 sent directly to the successful student.

More information about BrANCH and the competition can be found on their website: https://branchuk.wordpress.com/grants-and-prizes/branch-bame-essay-prize/

You can also follow them on Twitter @Branch19th

History UK in 2018

This post outlines some of the activities of History UK in 2018 and is based on a message that was sent out to subscribing institutions. We thought that it might be of broader interest!

History UK is the independent national body promoting and monitoring History in UK Higher Education. It is funded by history departments or their equivalents and campaigns on issues of concern to academic historians and the broader history community, particularly in the following areas:

  • The profile of history in higher education and beyond
  • The state of the profession, particularly the recruitment and career development of undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers and staff
  • Research culture, including the research resources available to historians and the impact of the REF
  • Teaching and learning within the discipline, especially the impact of the NSS and TEF
  • Audit culture, to ensure that the demands of external audit and quality measurement are appropriate to the discipline and light in touch.

For example, some of the events that we have organised in the last year include:

  • our Plenary and AGM in November on The Future of the Humanities, which brought together Professor Stefan Collini (Cambridge) and Dr Karen Salt (Nottingham), as well as a round table of younger scholars – Sara Barker (Leeds), James Baker (Sussex) and Sihong Lin (Manchester);
  • in May, one of our co-convenors, Jamie Wood, hosted an event at the University of Lincoln with the British Library Labs, to explore the use of the BL’s digital collections in teaching and research;
  • in May, we also ran our third academic job bootcamp, in which both early career historians and PhD students participatedand which helped at least one attendee secure a job;
  • in May, we supported a workshop for school and university teachers onTransitioning in History from School to Universityat Leeds Beckett University;
  • in September, our education officer, Peter D’Sena, ran the third New to Teaching Workshop(co-funded by the Royal Historical Society), exploring themes including digital history, lecturing, small group teaching, curriculum design and career development;
  • in September, our research officer, Neil Fleming, together with our co-convener, Lucie Matthews-Jones, organised a Research Grant Workshopwith input from the AHRC and the British Academy, as well as a range of speakers who have held grants.

July also saw the culmination of a year-long partnership with The National Archives on collaborative working between the higher education and archive sectors. This resulted in the publication of a guide to collaborationand a workshopat the TNA. In 2019 we are continuing our close working relationship with the TNA and are co-sponsoring a series of workshops(at the IHR, Liverpool, Cardiff, Bristol, Leeds, Colchester and Birmingham – sign up here) that further explore (and seek to develop) partnerships between higher education, especially History, and archives, whether in teaching, research or other kinds of activity.

We have also continued to develop close working ties with a number of organisations. For example, we have run combined events with the Royal Historical Society, History Lab and History Lab Plus, and HUK representatives attend meetings and speak at events of these bodies. Through our education officer, and other steering committee members, we have close links with the HEA and Historical Association. We are also members of the Arts and Humanities Alliance.

We hope this goes some way to demonstrating what your support of History UK enables us to do. The coming year promises to be just as exciting as last. Our twitter feed (@history_uk) and website (http://www.history-uk.ac.uk)both publicise our  events, but also act as a forum for members to feedback and even blog on their experiences of our events or on other important HE issues.

Ultimately we work for our members, and you have a say through your representative on the steering committee, or (if you do not currently have a representative) by directly contacting the co-convenors, Dr. Lucie Matthews-Jones (L.M.Matthews-Jones@ljmu.ac.uk) or Dr. Jamie Wood (jwood@lincoln.ac.uk).

Sign up to TNA’s Manorial Documents Research mailing list

The National Archives is setting up a Manorial Documents Research mailing list, following their successful conference in September – ‘Manorial Documents: past, present and into the future’.

By subscribing to the mailing list, you will join a network of researchers and interested individuals. You will also receive direct updates about:

– research projects relating to manorial documents

– events related to manorial documents

– our progress in the revision of the Manorial Documents Register

Now is a particularly exciting time to subscribe, with the final Manorial Documents Register county projects set for completion in the next few years. Alongside other events, there will be a second conference in 2022 to celebrate this progress and to showcase manorial research from across the UK.

To join the mailing list, please email mdr@nationalarchives.gov.uk

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