Academic Historians at Mid-Career – choices, options and questions

27 July 2022

The Royal Historical Society invites Fellows of the RHS to take part in one of two focus groups to identify and consider questions concerning the mid-career stage for historians in UK Higher Education.

The groups (of 10-12 Fellows each) will be led by Professor Julian Wright (Northumbria), the Society’s Secretary for Professional Engagement, and take place online at the following times:

  • 2.00-3.30pm Wednesday 24 August 2022
  • 2.00-3.30pm Monday 12 September 2022

The Society seeks to understand more about the challenges, successes, aspirations and concerns that historians have as they move through their careers. With our regular suite of training workshops (the next of which will focus on mid-career historians, in December 2022), we hope to respond to the bigger questions and challenges you have as your careers take shape in different ways through their central years.

To understand the different kinds of pressures, ambitions and challenges that historians engage with through their career, these conversations will be framed with broad questions that will inform our planning and thinking as we develop our training offer in the future:

What different forms of success are there in a historian’s career, and what are you aims and hopes at this stage of your professional life?

  • What is the audience for your work?
  • What kinds of resources are needed for you to achieve your best work and how might you access them?
  • What different forms of publishing are most helpful to you at different times?
  • How can you support a community of historians that seeks to nurture the discipline from secondary school onwards?

Practically, moving through the middle part of a career can pose specific challenges and opportunities. What support and guidance would you value on the following more practical considerations in developing as a historian?

  • Potential career paths at mid-career — academic, academic leadership and management
  • Taking on external roles, e.g. journal editorships
  • Making use of experience – e.g. mentoring
  • Pressures and impediments faced by historians specific to this career stage
  • Time management skills, as careers become more varied, and challenging
  • Work-life balance, and specific pressures, for academics at mid-career

How to participate

If you would like to take part in one of the focus groups, please do so via this link (leads to a short SurveyMonkey form taking 1-2 mins to complete).

Closing dates for participation:

  • Focus Group, 1 (Monday 22 August)
  • Focus Group 2 (Thursday 8 September)

We will then be in touch to confirm your involvement, who else is taking part, and to confirm the time/ date of the focus group.


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