Now that’s what I call collaborative history
What are historians for? And how do we find out? In my case I’m as likely to find out the answers to these questions from Bananarama, Taylor Swift or One Direction Fans as I am from Eric Hobsbawm, Stephan Collini, or Niall Ferguson.
As I’ve moved through my career, each new area of research has taught me something different to take to the next subject, be it gay men and the left, the counterculture, Falklands veterans, popular music and politics, pedagogy, subcultural feminism, punk memory, Mass Observation, digital history or fandom. They have each taught me how to work with rather than on historical sources. Each research area has bled into the next as it is process rather than historical narrative that informs my academic practice.
Each time I have worked collaboratively with colleagues, documentary-makers, musicians, curators and archivists, activists and artists they have taught me something new about how to ‘Do It Together’, perforating the lines between different types of practice. In the current HE context where impact is commodified, quantified and collated in league tables and knowledge is ‘exchanged’, I will ask what would it look like if we worked with,rather than for the wider community. And what might historical research teach us about working with the world around us?
Lucy Robinson, Professor in Collaborative History, School of History, Art History and Philosophy
Chowen Lecture Theatre
Brighton and Sussex Medical School
University of Sussex Campus