History Workshop 6 took place at Ruskin College between 5 May and 7 May 1972. As with most of the previous Workshops, discussions were organised around a theme: Childhood in History: Children’s Liberation. As well as papers on this theme, cultural events were held, including plays (The Overseers and Three Class Plays) and films (The Childhood of Maxim Gorky, Les Quatre Cent Coups, and Zéro de Conduite).
A number of different sessions were held across the weekend, including, for the first time, a number of sessions being run at the same time in order to accommodate numbers. At up to 2000 people, attendance was greatly increased on previous Workshops. Sessions included: ‘Divide and Rule’, ‘The Cult of Childhood’, ‘The Family’, ‘Religion’, ‘School and Social Control in 19th-Century England’, ‘School and Social Order in 19th-Century England’, ‘19th-Century Girlhood’, and ‘Children’s Liberation and Socialism’. Papers included Divide and School, Big Mother and Little Mother in Matabeleland, Puritanism and Childhood, and Board School Drill.
As had become common practice for History Workshops, speakers were drawn from the staff and students of adult education colleges and universities. In addition to these, students and staff from schools were represented among speakers at a Workshop for the first time. The influence of the women’s movement was also strongly evident, with three speakers’ affiliations listed as the Women’s Liberation Workshop. The theme of the Workshop, treating as it did family and personal relationships, was also strongly influenced by feminist scholarship.