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 (https://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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).