From its beginnings in the 1967, 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.
Established in 2010, History Workshop is a digital magazine of radical history. It seeks to deepen understandings of the past, cast fresh light on the present and agitate for change in the world we live in now. We continue the democratising spirit of the History Workshop movement, and expand the ongoing work of History Workshop Journal.
Today, History Workshop provides a space where historians and historically-minded people can engage – passionately, professionally and personally – with the histories that shape our lives today. We believe that the production and communication of history can be a radically democratic activity, taking place across and beyond the boundaries of the academy.
We publish work which brings cutting-edge approaches to history into dialogue with pressing questions in the present. We provide a platform for academics, activists, archivists and other practitioners to communicate creatively via short articles, podcasts and social media. We promote the participation of grassroots organisations, community groups, family historians and the public at large in these conversations.
History Workshop is a politically pluralistic platform which publishes a wide spectrum of progressive radical opinion. We are committed to work that is radical, relevant, rigorous and accessible. You can read our submission guidelines here.
Published by Oxford University Press, History Workshop Journal (HWJ) is one of the world’s leading journals of radical history, featuring peer-reviewed articles and papers. It is committed to innovative scholarship, accessible writing and lively engagement with the politics of historical knowledge.
In 2010, the editorial collective of HWJ founded History Workshop, as a digital magazine which would expand and enrich the journal’s academic work and continue the spirit of the History Workshop movement in a digital era. While closely linked – in personnel and in spirit – HWJ and History Workshop are separate publications, each with their own editorial processes.
History Workshop is funded and published by History Workshop Journal (Registered Charity 1081686), whose mission is to “advance the education of the public in history and related subjects in particular by promoting research and disseminating the useful results of such research”.
Today, the in-person “workshop” element of History Workshop can be found at the Raphael Samuel History Centre – named after Raphael Samuel, a founder of the History Workshop movement. The Centre’s events and projects are ‘dedicated to exploring public, interdisciplinary and experimental history’.
The Raphael Samuel History Centre is supported by History Workshop Journal, as well as Birkbeck and Queen Mary, University of London.
Elly Robson (she/her) is the Managing Editor of History Workshop. She is a historian of early modern Britain and its Atlantic world and a lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research examines the environmental politics generated by ambitious projects of agricultural improvement and colonial plantation, investigating wetlands, woodlands, and islands as sites of reform and conflict. She is currently writing a monograph titled, Violent Waters: The Politics of Wetland Improvement in Early Modern England.
Marybeth Hamilton (she/her) is the Coordinating Editor of History Workshop. She is the author of two works of cultural history, In Search of the Blues and When I’m Bad I’m Better: Mae West, Sex, and American Entertainment, has written and presented several documentary features for BBC Radio, and is a longtime member of the editorial collective of History Workshop Journal. She is currently working on a project on radical feminism, sex, love, and rage. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London and a Fellow of the Raphael Samuel History Centre.
Vivien Chan (she/they) is an Editorial Fellow at History Workshop, and a doctoral candidate at the University of Nottingham. Her work focuses on spaces of consumption in public housing estates in Hong Kong’s New Towns from the 1950s to 1980s, conceptualising spaces such as hawkers, markets and malls through design history and material culture. Her research interests include oral histories, grassroots archives, collaborative research and visual methodologies. Vivien is also an imagemaker and lectures in Illustration at Nottingham Trent University.
Mary Katherine Newman (she/her) is an Editorial Fellow at History Workshop and a third-year PhD student at the University of Oxford. Her research looks at the understanding of the five senses among soldiers during the Spanish Empire’s invasion of Wallmapu (now the modern state of Chile). She is particularly interested in Latin American history, Indigenous histories, digital humanities, and the history of science and medicine.
Beckie Rutherford (she/her) is an Editorial Fellow at History Workshop. She is a historian of gender, sexuality and disability in modern Britain with a particular interest in the politicisation of disability from 1970 to the present day. Beckie completed her PhD at the University of Warwick in 2023 and was the RHS Centenary Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research 2022-23. Outside of academic work, she is keen to promote the importance of teaching disability history in schools.
Sorcha Thomson (she/her) is an Editorial Fellow at History Workshop and an Associate Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. Her PhD thesis explores the history of international solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement in the 1960s and ‘70s. She is interested in the entangled histories of anti-imperial and left solidarity movements. She is co-editor of the books Palestine in the World (Bloomsbury, 2023) and She Who Struggles (Pluto Press, 2023).
History Workshop is supported by an Advisory Board, comprised of current History Workshop Journal editors and former History Workshop editors.
The members of the Advisory Board are: Julia Laite (chair), Barbara Taylor, Becky Taylor, Hannah Elias, Justin Bengry, Mark Pendleton, Poppy Sebag Montefiore, Sadiah Qureshi and Yasmin Khan.
1967: History Workshop movement
‘History is too important to be left just to professional historians.’Raphael Samuel
History Workshop was a popular movement for the democratisation of history which flourished in Britain from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s. Through lively, participant-led “workshops”, it aimed 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.
1976: History Workshop Journal
‘Our journal will be dedicated to making history a more democratic activity – and a more urgent concern – by reaffirming the unity of teaching and scholarship, learning and life.’Manifesto, 1975
History Workshop Journal (HWJ) was established by History Workshop activists in 1976, explicitly subtitled a journal of “socialist” and later also “feminist” history. Its first editorial called for the democratisation of history, its deprofessionalisation and politicisation, taking aim at the ‘competitive individualism’ of the academy. HWJ has since grown to become one of the most prestigious academic history journals in the world, while maintaining a deep commitment to radical history.
2010: History Workshop Online
Reflecting in 2010 that the pages of the Journal had become ‘more staid and indeed more academic’, its editors announced a new project: History Workshop Online (now known as History Workshop). By taking advantage of digital methods, networks and forms of participation, History Workshop’s digital magazine would ‘reach more effectively beyond the academy’ and ‘expand our range of expression’.
Today, History Workshop is at the forefront of radical public history, working across and beyond academic boundaries, communicating creatively in visual and audio formats, and offering historical insights into the world today.
Find out more about the history of History Workshop.
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