The theme of #HAP23 theme – ‘Collecting Communities: Working together and with Collections’ – showcases and celebrates the diverse and unique nature of historical research. Over the day, we’ll learn about 14 projects in which historians and archivists are working together to recover, interpret and present our past. 

Our speakers represent a broad range of universities and archives, large and small, from across the UK. Panels consider the rediscoverydigitising and creating of collections; the locating collections in places and communities; and collaborative working between historians, archivists and the public. Together they introduce new work in histories of the voluntary sector, unpaid labour, business, conflict, slavery and empire, family life, migration, contemporary politics and climate change, among others. In this showcase of projects, we’ll focus especially on practice – how historians, archivists and their communities work best together - to provide insights and experiences for attendees to carry into their own work.

Pre-event videos

Co-creating Heritage - Challenging perceptions of Sierra Leone

Contributor: Nicholas J. Evans (University of Hull)

The history of Sierra Leone is rich and diverse, yet like the heritage of so many African countries, what is displayed here in the UK remains problematic. Only negative aspects of the country's past are highlighted in the media, through public heritage or in scholarly works. This film explores the production of a travelling exhibition, Sierra Leone: Photography from Sierra Leone during the Second World War, by the University of Hull, Hull Museums and members of the Hull Afro Caribbean Association in 2022. The project involved a variety of partners to overcome the pitfalls associated with curating African heritage remotely. Funded by the University of Hull and Arts Council England, the interpretation of hundreds of photographs of Sierra Leone by people of West African birth has valuable lessons for institutions seeking to engage with African history in new ways.

Co-creating Heritage - Challenging perceptions of Sierra Leone




Using Kent maps online to surface stories in the archives

Contributor(s): Michelle Crowther and Professor. Carolyn Oulton

Kent Maps Online is a digital humanities project which provides a set of themed essays about the county of Kent. Framed by the idea of ‘writers and their times’, the project is researching historic, literary and geographical records to create an interactive experience seen through multi-disciplinary lenses.  

Using Kent maps online to surface stories in the archives video



The Slavery, Law, and Power Project

Contributor(s): Prof. Holly Brewer and Lauren Michalak (UMD), Jamie Gemmell (KCL)

Slavery, Law, and Power is a digital humanities project that brings together an edited collection of sources connected to histories of Atlantic slavery, struggles over power, and the law. In our presentation we will introduce our project, providing an overview of how we select documents and show users how they might use our website for research and teaching. We will also discuss our emerging partnership with the National Archives, including the need for more collaboration between humanities scholars and archivists and roadblocks that stymie collaboration.


Archives and Paper Trails: Establishing New Communities of Learning and Collaboration

Contributor(s): Dr. Andrew Smith and Sarah Aitchison

In this video, we outline the history and future directions of the project, reflecting on lessons about collaborative interdisciplinary working, open-access publishing, and new ways of engaging with archives. Publications across Paper Trails explore the work and methodologies of educators, librarians, historians, curators, collections managers, and archivists as well as engaging anyone interested in critical histories as well as reflections on practice, sources and materials. The publication is available to view online


A Story of the Great War: Will Bradshaw’s Journal

This visual essay tells the story of how three artist-academics responded to a donation to the Edge Hill University archive. This consisted of a journal detailing its author’s experiences as a soldier in World War I. It was accompanied by a number of photographs and a small collection of news clippings, cards and military papers dating from the same period. Reflections are here offered regarding working creatively with history, archives, and public engagement, as well as the emotional knowledge and impact generated, and how such work can advocate for archives. We offer, in addition. a brief excerpt from the finished film.

About History and Archives in Practice (HAP)

History and Archives in Practice (HAP) is the new and rebranded version of the Gerald Aylmer Seminar run in partnership by The National Archives Institute of Historical Research and Royal Historical Society.

From 2023, HAP provides a new format and greater focus on the collections that lie at the heart of our work. It’s where historians and archivists come together to consider shared interests in archive collections, their interpretation and use. We hope you’ll join us for this first meeting of History and Archives in Practice.

Video Chapters

0:00 Welcome
6:45 Session 1 | REDISCOVERING: histories in archives
39:08 Session 2 | CREATING: contemporary collections
1:27:10 Session 3 | LOCATING: places with archives
2:04:48 Session 4 | DIGITISING: archives and collections
2:37:01 Session 5 | CO-CREATING: as communities
3:05:38 Session 6 | COLLABORATING: with historians and archivists

HAP23 programme_FINAL PDF 1.04 MB