What is History Workshop Online?
History Workshop Online (HWO) is a digital magazine that seeks to continue the spirit of the History Workshop movement by publishing accessible and engaging articles that deepen understanding of the past for historians and the public, and which reflect upon present day issues and agitate for change in the world we live in now.
From its beginnings in the 1960s, the History Workshop movement advocated ‘history from below’: history envisioned from the perspective of ordinary people rather than elites. It sought to move the study of the past beyond the academy into public gatherings – “workshops” – that were open to anyone. The aim was to turn historical research and writing into (as founder Raphael Samuel put it) ‘a collaborative enterprise’ that could be used to support activism and social justice, and inform politics. History Workshop Journal (HWJ) emerged from this movement to become one of the most prestigious academic history journals in the world, while still maintaining its commitment to social and cultural history ‘from below’. It is now published by Oxford University Press: hwj.oxfordjournals.org
History Workshop Online is supported by the HWJ editorial collective and seeks to add to and enrich this more formal academic history project. We provide space on our digital platforms for academic historians, early career and doctoral researchers, archivists, curators, and those in the heritage industry to share their thoughts on history writ large and to reflect upon the present uses of past. We also encourage the participation of grassroots organisations, community groups, family historians, and other interested members of the public in these conversations.
We encourage contributions that are radical, political, contentious and accessible. We explicitly want to connect radical history to social, political, and cultural issues and problems in the present day. HWO provides a space where historians and historically-minded people can passionately, professionally, and personally engage with the histories that shape our understanding of the past and the present. We welcome contributors working from disparate geographical, historical and methodological positions that work within or speak to the History Workshop tradition.
We encourage lively and engaging discussion among our readers by commenting on our published pieces. Difference of opinion is encouraged but only when expressed with respect and thoughtfulness. We reserve the right to delete comments that engage in hateful, ad hominem attacks on other persons or use inappropriate language.
Elly Robson is the Managing Editor at History Workshop Online. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge and is now a Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge. Her research examines social, environmental, and intellectual conflict over land rights and water management in early modern England and the Atlantic world. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck and a Fellow of the Raphael Samuel History Centre.
Dr Steffan Blayney is an Editorial Fellow at History Workshop Online. He recently completed his PhD at Birkbeck, University of London, and is now a part-time Research Assistant at the University of Sussex. His research focuses on interactions between health, the body and society, and on histories of political activism, in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain. He has taught modern and contemporary history at Birkbeck and at the University of Kent. He is a member of the Raphael Samuel History Centre team and a co-founder and organiser of History Acts, a radical history workshop and network connecting activists and historians.