RHS Race Work: A Review and Look Ahead

3 November 2022

Over the past five years, the Royal Historical Society (RHS) has become a prominent and important voice for equality in the discipline and profession. This is particularly so on the subject of race and ethnicity, due in large part to the impact of the Society’s 2018 Report, ‘Race, Ethnicity & Equality in UK History’.

Between 2019 and 2022 the Society’s race work was co-ordinated by an RHS Race, Ethnicity and Equality in History Fellowship, generously funded by the Past & Present Society.

The Fellowship—held by two early career historians, Dr Shahmima Akhtar (2019-20) and Dr Diya Gupta (2020-22)—enabled the Society’s equalities programme to develop in the wake of the 2018 Report and its follow-up papers.

Both Fellows have now gained permanent academic posts, with Diya’s move to a Lectureship coinciding with the Fellowship coming to a close in October 2022. The Society wishes Shahmima and Diya well in their academic careers, and is very grateful to all those who’ve contributed to the programme in recent years.



To mark the end of this phase, ‘Race, Ethnicity and Equality in History. A Review and Look Ahead’ (released on 3 November 2022), offers a summary of the Society’s recent race work.

The report also looks forward, with details of the Society’s current and forthcoming activities in the area of race, ethnicity and equality in History.



This current and future work is integral to the Society’s Council, originating both from within the Society and in partnership with external organisations. It’s our intention that in these ways we maintain the Society’s commitment to greater equality in History.

You can learn more about the Society’s current and ongoing Equalities work here. These initiatives include:

  • Masters’ Scholarships: for early career historians from groups underrepresented in academic history. The programme, seeks to actively address underrepresentation and encourage Black and Asian students to consider academic research in History. By supporting Masters’ students, the programme focuses on a key early stage in the academic training of future researchers.
  • ‘Positive action’ workshops for early career historians of colour: these workshops offer one-to-one guidance and group discussion. Sessions cover CV writing, applications, and proposals for funded research, among other topics, for up to 30 historians at a time. This workshop runs annually, with a report from the first meeting (2021) available here.
  • ‘Writing Race’, featuring new research on histories of research from guest contributors.
  • Funding for external projects including grants and prizes offered by the British Association for Nineteenth-Century American Historians and the Social History Society.

We also welcome ideas and proposal for new partnerships, allowing us to work collaboratively and pragmatically to address areas of need. If you would like to propose ideas for activities or partnerships please contact president@royalhistsoc.org.