History Workshop 16, Regionalism and Socialism, was held at Sheffield City Polytechnic between 5 November and 7 November 1982. This marked the continuation of the practice of an itinerant Workshop being organised by a different collective around the country each year. It also suggested the influence of the Workshop’s approach in Polytechnic history departments. This was the first time that the Workshop had been held outside the south of England, a fact which possibly influenced the choice of regionalism as a theme.
As had become the established practice at History Workshops, a number of strands were run in parallel across the weekend, with plenary sessions at the beginning and the end. Amongst the themes studied were ‘Co-operation’, ‘Insurrection’, ‘Liberalism’, ‘Peace Movement’, ‘People’s History’, ‘Teaching History’, ‘Religion and Society’, ‘The State and the Ruling Class’, ‘Women’s History, Women’s Culture, Women’s Politics’, and ‘The Anti-imperialist Tradition in the British Labour Movement’. Papers given included The Woodcraft Folk Between the Wars, Ouvrierisme and Working Class Politics, Women and the Social Democratic Foundation, and Popular Toryism and the Nineteenth Century State.
This Workshop saw a continuation of the trend of recent Workshops in attracting an increasing number of contributions from local history groups, from both the UK and abroad. In addition to local history groups, the contributions from groups studying topics such as women’s history remained a strong element of the Workshop. This Workshop also saw a diminution of the presence of traditional labour history within the schedule. This could partly have been a product of the Workshop’s departure from Ruskin College, but may also have been indicative of general trends in the study of history.