RHS News

New Funding to support BME Histories

The Social History Society, Economic History Society and History UK have launched a new funding scheme to support Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) history.

The BME Events and Activities Small Grants Scheme will provide grants of up to £750 to support activities and events run by BME historians or on subjects relating to BME history. An initial call for applications for funding is now open until 1 September 2019. The new funding addresses issues detailed in the Royal Historical Society’s report on Race, Ethnicity and Equality in UK History (2018) which drew attention to under-representation, structural inequalities and racism in the UK higher education system.

Full details of the BME funding scheme are available here: http://socialhistory.org.uk/bme-events-and-activities/.

A panel of experts, comprised of Professor Catherine Hall (University College London), Dr Meleisa Ono-George (University of Warwick) and Dr Jonathan Saha (University of Leeds), will assess the applications.

Professor Margot Finn, RHS President commented:

The announcement of this new tranche of dedicated funding for black and minority ethnic (BME) histories and historians is especially timely.  The past several months have seen a wide range of historians engage with the structural and intellectual problems associated with BME under-representation in History in the UK.  This positive development has increased the demand for funding to support BME historians whose expertise is vital to informed discussions on equality, diversity and inclusion in our discipline, and (more broadly) for new sources of funding to support workshops and other events that challenge conventional assumptions and practices. We hope that organisers of such events will also make good use of the funding available from the Royal Historical Society.




RHS Responds to Updated Guidance on Plan S

In response to updated guidance from cOAlition S on Plan S, the Royal Historical Society has provided History researchers, editors and learned societies with some essential information on the revised criteria. Read our analysis on the RHS blog here:

Find out more about our policy work in relation to the future of academic publishing and open access in general here.


Professor Jon Stobart, FRHistS, elected Honorary Treasurer of the Royal Historical Society

The President and Officers of the Royal Historical Society are pleased to announce the election of Professor Jon Stobart, Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University as the Society’s new Honorary Treasurer.

Professor Stobart has held academic positions at the University of Northampton, Coventry University and Staffordshire University. He is a social and economic historian of eighteenth-century England, with particular interests in the histories of retailing and consumption. Much of Professor Stobart’s work is collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international and he has worked with geographers, art historians, heritage professionals and historians from the UK and across Europe. His most recent book, Consumption and the Country House was published by OUP in 2016. Professor Stobart is a founding editor of the journal History of Retailing and Consumption, a member of the AHRC Peer Review College and has sat on a number of academic councils and committees including the Economic History Society, Social History Society and Northamptonshire Record Society.

Professor Stobart takes on the role of Honorary Treasurer from Professor Sarah Hamilton (University of Exeter) who has served in that role since December 2014. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Hamilton for her important contribution to the Society in this position.


Professor Olivette Otele FRHistS elected a Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society

The President and Officers of the Royal Historical Society are pleased to announce the election of Professor Olivette Otele, Professor of History at Bath Spa University, as a Vice-President.

Professor Otele gained her PhD from Université La Sorbonne in 2005, and has held academic posts at Université Paris XIII, Institut Catholique de Paris, and University of Hull. She is a specialist in European colonial and post-colonial history, particularly the link between history, collective memory and geopolitics in relation to British and French colonial pasts.  Otele has written widely for academic and broader audiences. Her forthcoming book, African Europeans: An Untold History, examines the long history of Europeans of African descent, and will be published by Hurst in December 2019.

She serves on the board of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, as a committee member for the Society for the Study of French History, and for the V&A Museum’s research committee. In 2018, Professor Otele became the first Black woman to be appointed Professor of History in the United Kingdom.

A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society since 2014, Professor Otele has already made a substantial contribution to the work of the Society as a member of both the Race, Ethnicity & Equality Working Group and the judging Committee for the inaugural Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching in History. As Vice-President, Professor Otele will particularly focus on matters pertaining to Membership, including the Society’s work on equality and diversity in the historical profession, and new developments in our support of early career historians.


Update: Change of 2019 Prothero Lecturer (Friday 5 July 2019)

Unfortunately, Prof. Joya Chatterji, our planned speaker for the Royal Historical Society Prothero Lecture on Friday 5 July 2019, can no longer be with us for that event.

In her place, however, we are delighted to announce that Dr. Sujit Sivasundaram (Cambridge) will give this year’s Prothero Lecture. Dr Sivasundaram’s title is “Waves Across the South: Monarchs, Travellers and Empire in the Pacific”. For more information, including venue, and an abstract, follow this link.

Directions and accessibility information for the venue are available here.

The Prothero Lecture will be followed by our annual reception and Royal Historical Society Publication, Fellowship and Teaching Awards for 2019.

All are welcome to join us for an evening that celebrates some of the very best in current historical scholarship and practice!


RHS Working Paper – History Researchers and Plan S (Journal) Compliance (April 2019)

Wellcome Trust, Medical History/Humanities & Plan S: RHS Interim Working Paper

This RHS working paper explores Plan S developments primarily from the perspective of Wellcome-funded Humanities researchers (for whom the policy applies to new research article submissions from 1 January 2020).  The paper formed part of a wider discussion with Robert Kiley and Simon Chaplin of the Trust on 9 April 2019.  A representative from Wellcome will offer a response in late May, at which time a further clarification of Plan S implementation guidance is expected.  We’ll post the Wellcome response when it is in hand and hope that these texts will help Wellcome-funded historians as well as History journals and learned societies navigate the new Plan S requirements.

The Working Paper can be downloaded here.

A meeting of UK History editors and learned society representatives is being held at the Institute for Historical Research on 26 April 2019, to discuss the potential implications of Plan S and the best ways of responding to this new development.  We (RHS) will aim to report back on the this meeting if information that might be useful for History researchers emerges from its discussions.  However, given that additional guidance on Plan S is expected in late May, we would expect that to be the most likely point at which greater clarification is available.

In the meantime, for Wellcome Trust-funded historians planning research article submissions from 1 January 2020, at the moment (and NB this is a rapidly moving frontier) the most likely route to Plan S compliance in the short-term looks to be self-deposit of the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) in PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC with a CC BY licence and zero-embargo.  You will find this pathway described in:

To determine whether the Wellcome Trust will cover APC charges for your preferred publication from 1 January 2020, see their updated open access guidance.

The Royal Historical Society does not at present have a full list of History journals with a zero embargo policy for AAMs, but examples of publisher open access policies include:

  • Cambridge Journals Open Access policy.
  • Oxford Journals policy on complying with funder OA requirements.
  • Taylor and Francis/Routledge Open Access options finder by journal.
  • Wiley policy on self-archiving.
  • Elsevier policy for self-archiving.

We welcome feedback on this document. Please contact Dr Katherine Foxhall, RHS Research and Communications Manager by email: k.foxhall@royalhistsoc.org



Appointment of Past & Present Fellow: Race, Ethnicity & Equality in History

The Royal Historical Society, together with the Past and Present Society, is delighted to announce the appointment of Shahmima Akhtar to the two-year post of Past and Present Fellowship in Race, Ethnicity & Equality in History.

The post will be held jointly at the Royal Historical Society and the Institute for Historical Research. Time will be divided evenly between research, writing, engagement, organisational work and event management to advance the work of the RHS Race, Ethnicity & Equality Working Group (REEWG); and development of Ms Akhtar’s academic research and career as a historian.

Shahmima Akhtar – Past and Present Fellow

Shahmima joins us from the Department of History, University of Birmingham, where she has recently submitted her AHRC/Midlands3Cities-funded PhD thesis entitled “‘A Public Display of Its Own Capabilities and Resources’: A Cultural History of Irish Identity on Display, 1851-2015.” She is currently working with the curatorial team at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to develop a display on Birmingham and the British Empire from a decolonising standpoint.

In creating this Fellowship, the Royal Historical Society and IHR are grateful for the financial support of the Past and Present Society. Explaining why the Past & Present Society are funding this position, the journal’s editors Prof. Matthew Hilton and Prof. Alexandra Walsham said:

“The Past and Present Society acknowledges that race, ethnicity and equality present some of the most signficiant issues facing the discipline of History today. We are delighted to support the RHS and this excellent initiative. It is of relevance not only to History, but also to the humanities across all UK universities.”

Shahmima will take up her Fellowship in July, and we look forward to working with her.

Any enquiries about this position should be sent to Dr Katherine Foxhall, RHS Research and Communications Officer: k.foxhall@royalhistsoc.org.


Updated Guidance on Submissions and Panel Working Criteria for REF2021

Professor Dinah Birch (Department of English, University of Liverpool), Chair of REF2021 Main Panel D, recently presented a set of slides summarising the main changes and clarifications within the REF guidelines following the consultation.  We are pleased to share those slides, and provide context relevant to historians on our blog here.


LGBT+ Working Group

The Royal Historical Society has set up a new working group, focussing on the experience of LGBT+ historians and on the teaching of LGBT+ histories in UK universities. Led by Professor Frances Andrews, the Society’s first Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, the first aim of this working group is to build on the Society’s commitment to equality across the profession, and particularly the efforts recently dedicated to Race, Ethnicity and Equality and Gender.

To find out more about the questions guiding the group’s work, or to find out how you can become involved, visit the Historical Transactions blog.