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.
Dr Hannah Elias is the Editor of History Workshop Online. She is Associate Lecturer in the Department of History at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she teaches on the history of Modern Revolution, and the Academic and Digital Engagement Officer at the Institute of Historical Research. Her research work is focused on religion and social change in Britain and the Atlantic world in the mid-twentieth century, and she is currently writing a book on religious broadcasting and propaganda on the wartime BBC. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck and a Fellow of the Raphael Samuel History Centre.
Dr Tessa Chynoweth is Editorial Fellow for History Workshop Online. She is Curator of the Pankhurst Centre in Manchester, and is currently Programme Managing their SomeWomen project which is collecting responses to the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. Her research interests include women’s work, domestic and city space, and material and visual culture from the early modern period to the present day. She is also Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, and Fellow of the Raphael Samuel History Centre.
Elly Robson is an Editorial Fellow at History Workshop Online and the Royal Historical Society Centenary Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research. She is in the final stages of a thesis at the University of Cambridge, looking at social, environmental, and intellectual conflict in the seventeenth-century fens. Elly teaches on early modern riot and rebellion and the history of intellectual history. 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.