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Case for Support

For over 100 years the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) has championed history both in public life and as an academic discipline. We nurture and support future and existing generations of historian, and provide specialist training for all career stages. Our library and digital resources underpin history-making within and beyond the university sector, and our events and seminars encourage informed historical debate. We build bridges between history-loving publics, history-active communities, history-focused practitioners, and history-trained academics. We provide a unique space where all those interested in the past can speak, be heard, and connect with each other.

We welcome all types of history and all kinds of researchers. We are driven by the values that make history so important: critical thinking, creativity, understanding and empathy; and the ability to interrogate an argument and hold it to the highest standards of evidence. We are an open and inclusive space where difficult pasts can be explored and challenging questions addressed.

Making History Matter

History is a social good. People find meaning and pleasure in understanding the lives of people in the past and history is at the centre of some of the most vital debates of our times. In a world that sometimes seems to stumble from crisis to crisis, expert historical analysis is more critical than ever before. And yet the value of history as an academic subject is also increasingly questioned. In this challenging environment we are more determined than ever to advocate for history and for historians across the country. We need philanthropic support to do this. 

From its earliest days the IHR operated as a ‘historical laboratory’, encouraging innovation, and generating new knowledge. Through our innovative resources, our publications, our journal, and our research library we have developed an intellectual infrastructure that sustains scholarship across London, the UK, and the global history community.

We host networks, workshops, and conferences – and over sixty specialist seminar series’ that run throughout the year. We bring together historians of all topics, periods, and places, to think, collaborate and create. We draw people together on equal terms to make sense of the past. Ideas matter and they are conjured through the relationships and conversations that we support.

Nurturing university-based history is a key part of our mission because rigorous scholarship sustains all forms of history-making. We support scholars across the academic life cycle. Each year we provide the time and space for twenty five early career historians to complete their doctoral research and transform an original thesis into a ground-breaking book. We maintain and develop specialist library and digital resources for mid-career scholars as they embark on new projects as well as helping then develop the connections through which they can develop groundbreaking collaborations. We sustain an intellectual community – including through an extensive programme of events – amongst those who have retired from their posts, but not from their interest and work in history.

We offer a home, and support, for historians based outside of traditional academia too. Our community includes independent scholars, local and family historians, history teachers, museum professionals, and creative practitioners. We work with policy-makers through our non-partisan History & Policy network, and with local communities through the Victoria County History project and our Centre for the History of People, Place and Community.

We nurture relationships and create conversations. We advocate for history at all levels. We encourage and sustain historical curiosity, and we support anyone who wants to be a historian. Our work, and the work of our community shows why history matters - as scholarship, as part of the cultural economy, and as a way of collectively understanding who we are now, and who we might become.

Supporting the Institute of Historical Research

Many of our activities depend on Philanthropy. We have a strong tradition of support from people and organisations who share our belief that historical understanding matters. If you would like to join this tradition and help to shape the future of history, here are priority areas where you can make the greatest impact:

Supporting Historians

  • Help historians to inspire their fellow professionals and the wider history-loving public through visiting professorships, fellowships, internships or practitioner residences.
  • Widen diversity in history by supporting bursaries and fees for students in need who may not be able to continue their historical careers without financial help.
  • Add to the raw materials and sources that historians need by donating funds to our library.

Creating Conversations

  • Sponsor seminars and workshops to help historians promote and exchange ideas, knowledge, and experimental methods of history.
  • Support popular public events to demonstrate why understanding the past helps society recognise and respond to current crises and global challenges.
  • Help our History & Policy Network to help make the case for historically informed policy-making through residencies, sabbaticals and exchange to help historians and policy-makers learn from each other.
  • Contribute to our Centre for the History of People, Place and Community which bring together national organisations, community research groups and citizen historians.

Area of greatest need

  • Make an unrestricted gift to the Institute of Historical Research, which will let us use your generous support where it will have the greatest impact at that time, reassured that we will use your donation to support the learning, teaching, practice and love of history that we all share.