In our first session we started to think about what successful collaboration in historical research might involve. This session moves on to look at some examples of collaboration in practice, to see what we can learn and how we might apply the underlying ideas. Significantly, the session also helps us to consider another key question for the Historians across Boundaries series – who does history?
As in the first session, we want to recognise expertise in historical research (widely defined) wherever it lies. In this spirit, we warmly invite you all to participate in our series – we want to learn from each other and jointly find a better way of working.
We’re excited to be hearing from two interesting projects, doing important work in collaborative ways and involving communities traditionally underrepresented in historical research. The first project is ‘Packed with Potential’; they write:
Anne Lister of Shibden Hall (1791-1840) was a prolific diarist, leaving behind a detailed account of her daily life in twenty-six volumes of journal, and 14 volumes of travel notes, among other correspondence. Containing upwards of an estimated five million words (many in a crypt-hand of her own devising) her journals give great insight into Anne’s life as a landowner, business woman, traveler, and mountaineer, and provide a candid account of her intimate relationships with women. In 2011 her journals were added to the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register in recognition of their substantial cultural significance to the UK.
Packed With Potential's purpose is to provide tools and resources to guide and support learning about Anne Lister's life and times. We serve as both a resource for individuals seeking knowledge about Anne Lister (or 19th-century historical context provided by her journals), and a hub for an international community of individuals pursuing independent research, contributing to collaborative projects, and publishing open access articles.
The second project to feature is the ‘Young Historians Project’; they write:
The Young Historians Project is a non-profit organisation formed by young people encouraging the development of young historians of African and Caribbean heritage in Britain. We're a team of young people aged 16-25 working on dynamic projects, documenting pivotal and often overlooked historical moments.
Since 2018, we have been engaged in an oral history and archive research based project, to recover the hidden history of African women in British healthcare during the 20t century. Despite their long history of work within the health service in Britain, the role of African women is rarely highlighted in discussions of the history of the NHS or of health work more generally. As current narratives on black women in the British health service tend to focus on 'Windrush generation' Caribbean contributions, this project will cover new ground and expand the understanding of this history.
This project is funded by the Heritage Fund, and is being undertaken in partnership with Ghana Nurses Association, Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association and the Black Cultural Archives. We hope that through this and future projects, more young people of African and Caribbean heritage will rediscover history and develop the skills to become the historians of the future. Each one, Teach one
IHR Partnership Seminar Series: Historians across Boundaries: collaborative historical research