The co-conveners of History UK, Lucinda Matthews-Jones and Heather Shore, have put together the following summary of HUK activities in the last year (2016 – 2017). 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
- 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 last November, which brought together Professors’ Margot Finn and Rick Trainor reflecting on the role of the Research Exercise Framework; and Geoff Stoakes of the HEA who revealed his insights into the Teaching Excellence Framework; in March, our co-convenor Dr. Lucie Matthews-Jones worked on an event with the British Library Labs, to explore the BL’s digital collections; in May we ran our second academic job bootcamp, inviting both PhD students and ECR historians to take part; in September, our education officer, Peter D’Sena ran the second ‘New to Teaching Event’, exploring themes including digital history, small group teaching, curriculum design and career development. We also canvassed HUK members on the consultation on Stern, and submitted a response to the HEFCE.
Our plenary and AGM this November focused on collaboration, particularly touching on the areas of public engagement and impact. Speakers included Professor Pamela Cox (Essex) who spoke about the importance of working with government and other organisations; Dr. Angela McShane (Wellcome) and Professor Chris Whitehead (Newcastle), who discussed collaboration with heritage organisations; and Dr. Sara Wolfson (Canterbury Christchurch, and HUK member) who talked about collaborating with external organisations in teaching, and the work which led to her THES Innovative Teacher of the Year Award in 2016.
These are just a taster of the sort of events that our executive officers and steering committee have been involved with. Our twitter feed (@history_uk) and website (https://www.history-uk.ac.uk) both publicise these 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.
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 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. 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 or Professor Heather Shore.