Launching ‘History and Archives in Practice’ (HAP2023)

26 October 2022

The Royal Historical Society, and partners, are pleased to announce the launch of our new collaborative conference: History and Archives in Practice (#HAP2023).

Introducing History and Archives in Practice

History and Archives in Practice is the new and rebranded version of the popular Gerald Aylmer Seminar run in partnership with The National Archives and Institute of Historical Research. The Gerald Aylmer Seminar has been hosted annually by these three institutions for nearly 20 years (2002 to 2021). As a new annual event, HAP builds on our experience of bringing archivists and historians into dialogue.

‘History and Archives in Practice’ is an opportunity for archivists and historians to meet to discuss collections and research practices. In this way, it mirrors the aims of the Aylmer Seminar. However, from March 2023 ‘History and Archives in Practice’ brings a new format and a greater focus on the collections that lie at the heart of our work.

As its name suggests, our new-look event will highlight research practices, and consider these in relation to distinctive collections. To launch ‘History and Archives in Practice’, the 2023 event will take place at the Institute of Historical Research in London.

The theme for HAP2023 will be ‘Collecting Communities: Working together and with collections’. You can see our call for papers below.

From 2024, ‘History and Archives in Practice’ will endeavour to partner with an additional UK archive/institution which likewise specialises in the bringing together of archivists and researchers. Each year we’ll draw on aspects of UK collections and emerging research being undertaken, integrating it into the conference programme. This new format enables a formerly London-based conference to take place at archive centres across the UK.

You can learn more about History and Archives in Practice in these short videos from Claire Langhamer, Director of the Institute of Historical Research, and Philip Carter, Academic Director at the Royal Historical Society.


Call for Participation in HAP2023

‘Collecting Communities: Working together and with collections’

Wednesday 29 March 2023, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

A partnership of The National Archives, Royal Historical Society, and the Institute of Historical Research, ‘History and Archives in Practice’ (HAP) is where historians and archivists come together to consider shared interests in archive collections, their interpretation and use.

Central to HAP is a focus on archival and research ‘practice’: creating opportunities to demonstrate and discuss how we work with historical collections, and what historians and archivists can achieve collectively. By making ‘practice’ central to HAP, we’ll also make more of collections – with time to learn about selected archives and how historians and archivists work better together.

The theme for HAP2023 is ‘Collecting Communities: Working together and with collections’ and we now invite you to participate with a talk, panel or activity for our new-look event.

HAP2023 will take place at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, on Wednesday 29 March 2023.

HAP2023 speaks to the diverse and unique nature of historical research – creating new possibilities for researchers and practitioners to collaborate, co-produce and reconsider how we work with history and archives. This event acts as a space in which colleagues at any career stage and from diverse specialisms can share, learn and network, embracing new ways to exchange knowledge while also exploring unique and varied ways of working with history.

We welcome submissions from historians and archivists alike, especially those recently or currently involved in collaborative projects. Contributions to HAP2023 will explore the intersection between history, archives, collections and research, and reflect on shared practice across and between disciplines.

HAP2023 is particularly keen to to highlight and support smaller organisations, underrepresented collections and marginalised voices, as well as new and emerging research. Topics of discussion may include:

  • Collecting the contemporary (for example: born digital collections, collecting contemporary events and/or historicising the contemporary: how are archivists and historians working together when creating a collection?)
  • Designing a project: how are historians and archivists using collections to shape  programmes of research and engagement?
  • New ways of engaging with archives: insights into contemporary collecting practices and their use in historical research
  • Working with diverse collections and sensitive histories
  • Cross-sector collaborations
  • Promoting and accessing collections
  • Working with and/or building research communities
  • Advocating for history: working with and/or in smaller organisations, researching underrepresented collections, championing new research, and the value of greater appreciation of the past.
Please submit an abstract (300 words) via this form by Friday 16 December 2022.

The new format of ‘History and Archives in Practice’ encourages a wide range of formats that best showcase a collection and the experience/lessons of collaborative working between archivists and historians on shared projects. Suggested formats include:

  • 20-minute papers
  • Interactive workshops
  • Full panels on a chosen topic (3-4 speakers with chair, 15-20 minutes per speaker)
  • Introductions to specific collections and their potential for historical research
  • Demonstration and handling sessions, introducing attendees to selected items from your collections, and their potential in research
  • Other proposals and formats for communicating activity, experience and research are also welcome as we look to move on from traditional conference models.