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. HWO is a politically pluralistic platform and publishes a wide spectrum of progressive radical opinion.
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.
Laura C. Forster is an Editorial Fellow at History Workshop Online. She is a Postdoctoral fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, working on progressive ideas and internationalism in early twentieth century Britain. Laura completed her PhD at King’s College London on the political exiles of the Paris Commune 1871 and the longer intellectual and cultural afterlives of the Commune in Britain. Laura is a historian of modern Britain and Europe. She is interested in histories of transnational radicalism, informal cultures of political and intellectual exchange, the social history of ideas, political exile, and queer spaces past and present. Laura is a Fellow of the Raphael Samuel History Centre.
Peter Jones is an early career researcher whose work examines the intersection between literary realism, mass entertainment and urban locality during the nineteenth century. Peter teaches at QMUL, is a Research Associate at the Institute of Historical Research and is Vice-President of the Literary London Society. He is working on two books examining the impact of popular culture in Victorian London, and the creative history of viaduct railway arches in British cities. Peter co-ordinates ‘Stray Voices’, a research network which explores the unsettled history of homelessness.