RHS News

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.


RHS Symposium at the Open University – 17 May 2019

17 May 2019
Royal Historical Society Symposium hosted by Department of History, Open University
Contested Commemorations: Reflections on the centenary of the First World War, 2013-2019


The Royal Historical Society, with the Open University Department of History, is delighted to announce the details of our forthcoming Symposium at the Open University, Milton Keynes, on 17 May 2019.

This Symposium will reflect on how the war was commemorated in a range of different countries between 2013 and 2019, and registration for the event is now open. Full details of the event, and a programme for the day, are available here.

Please visit the Contested Commemorations Eventbrite page to book your place. The event will also be live-streamed through this link for those who can’t make it in person. Those watching online will have the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers.

For further details, please contact vincent.trott@open.ac.uk.


Royal Historical Society responds to TEF Review

The Royal Historical Society recently submitted a response to Dame Shirley Pearce’s independent review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF). Our full response is now available in full on our website here. A post with more on the TEF Review, and a short summary of the main points in our document, is on our blog. 


Call for Expressions of Interest: Workshops for Secondary Teachers


If you are conducting research on topics related to social and cultural histories of racial diversity in modern Britain in the wake of Empire (c.1760-1960), that may resonate with pupils and teachers, then we want to hear from you.

The RHS Report on Racial and Ethnic Equality calls for engagement with secondary schools and sixth-form colleges, to showcase our research for the next generation of black and minority-ethnic (BAME) historians. We seek to generate conversations with teachers on ways to encourage pupils to choose History courses, and to consider History as a profession. This will also enhance our own thinking about research and teaching in the context of racial and ethnic equality, diversity and inclusion.

From October 2019 to June 2020, in partnership with the Royal Historical Society, the University of Edinburgh plans to host a series of AHRC-funded half-day workshops for secondary History teachers from across the UK (held on Saturdays). The focus will be on social and cultural histories of racial diversity in modern Britain, in the wake of empire (c.1760-1960). Although workshops may address slavery and abolitionism, we will concentrate on the making of racial and ethnic diversity within British urban and rural communities.

In consultation with lead teachers, we will ensure that these workshops showcase historical research and primary sources that fit within current examination frameworks. Workshops also will feature specialists on teaching and learning, to facilitate discussion and lesson planning. Our application for AHRC funding will cover transportation and accommodation in Edinburgh, for all participants. Its outputs, for academic collaborators, will include evidence of research impact and community engagement.

If you wish to collaborate on this project by proposing a half-day workshop for teachers that draws on your research, and can supply primary sources (images, sound, and/or text) suitable for use in classrooms, please send us an expression of interest by Friday 22 March. We will ask for a more detailed proposal shortly after that date.

Please send a Word attachment, including your name, institutional affiliation, and a short paragraph on your proposed topics and associated resources (max. 200 words) to: Dr Adam Budd, School of History, Classics, and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh: adam.budd@ed.ac.uk.

Please add a note of any experience of engagement with secondary education.


Plan S Consultation

The Society has submitted a response to the consultation on the Plan S open-access initiative. Our outline response is available here, and our more detailed full report is available here. These build on our interim report and call for evidence and feedback, issued in January and available here.


Honorary Treasurer

Would you like to contribute to the future success of History in the UK? 

The Royal Historical Society is seeking to appoint a new Honorary Treasurer to succeed Professor Sarah Hamilton, who will demit office in November 2019. We expect to make this appointment by May 2019 so that the new Honorary Treasurer can shadow the current incumbent.

Skills required

An accountancy qualification is not necessary (the Society employs a full-time Executive Secretary who conducts day-to-day finances and works with the Honorary Secretary), but familiarity with reading spreadsheets is essential and you will need to be willing to learn to work with a cloud-based accounting system. You must also be a Fellow of the Society, since the role involves guiding the Trustees (the Members of Council).

Main tasks
The Honorary Treasurer:

  • Ensures the Society meets the statutory requirements for Charities, and keeps abreast of changes in regulation (through liaising with and being advised by the auditors about any changes in reporting requirements, reviewing the Charity Commission website for guidance, keeping abreast of the news, etc) and update Trustees about their responsibilities. This further includes:
    • Ensuring the Society meets the statutory requirements for employment of individuals (HMRC regulations, pensions changes etc, through liaising with and being advised by the auditors; working with the Executive Secretary who is updated on changes by HMRC etc);
    • Overseeing and liaising with the Executive Secretary and auditors on preparation for audit and production of annual financial accounts;
    • Drafting the Trustees’ Reports and the Finance Committee’s section of the annual report.
  • Acts as the Society’s main contact with our investment managers, supported by the co-opted members of Council and the President; reviews regular reports, setting of investment policies etc.
  • Takes the lead on financial planning, liaising with the Society’s Officers, Vice-Presidents and Presidents on an annual basis to draft a 3–year financial plan for approval each year. This includes:
    • Monitoring spending against in-year plan, with the support of the Executive Secretary;
    • Liaising with the President, Officers and Chairs of sub-committees and the Executive Secretary around major in-year expenditure.
  • Works closely with the Executive Secretary, who has all day-to-day responsibility for book-keeping, using the cloud-based accounting system, Xero.

Time commitment:
Most of the tasks can be done remotely, but the Honorary Treasurer attends all Council meetings, the Finance Committee and other sub-committees ex officio. These are held at the Society’s rooms in University College London on Fridays (five annual meetings in February, May, July, September and November). The role also involves one day in June to prepare for audit and at least one full-day elsewhere in the year to liaise with the auditors or investment managers, with the President and with the Executive Secretary who is based in the London Office.   Further meetings may be necessary. All travel expenses are covered by the Society.

The Society is committed to equality for all and welcomes enquiries from Fellows anywhere in the UK and of whatever academic standing.

If you might be interested, please contact Vice-President Professor Frances Andrews (fea [at] st-andrews.ac.uk) in the first instance. All enquiries to be received by 31 January 2019 latest.