In 2018, visiting scholar Victoria Haskins launched the Family History Workshop with a fascinating talk called ‘Stories my Great-Grandmother Didn’t Tell me–or, Family History and the Memories of Nations’. You can listen to that talk and the workshop discussion here: https://www.mixcloud.com/backdoorbroadcasting/victoria-haskins-stories-my-great-grandmother-didnt-tell-me-or-family-histories-and-the-memorie/
Our new upcoming workshop series, supported by Julia Laite’s Rising Star Engagement Award, will explore the way that academic historians use the resources of family historians and genealogists, and the way that the boom in the family history industry has created new opportunities for academic historians, writers, artists, and family historians to tell small stories about the past. Historians could stand to learn much from engaging with those who work with these resources as family historians, writers, and artists. At the same time, historians are uniquely placed to help others question the way that the family history industry has developed, and we can offer vital contextualization for small
stories. How can we all share the small stories that fascinate us in meaningful and
critically engaged ways?
This proposed program of engagement activities will seek to answer this question.
Through a series of afternoon workshops and one final day-long symposium, we will
bring together academic historians who are interested in family history methodologies
with family historians and genealogists, artists, and writers who engage with the small
stories and families of the past in creative and personal ways. The aim will be to share
our skills and expertise with each other, as well as to develop a critical view of the
family history industry and our own practices of using family histories and small stories
in our work. These events are not intended as training sessions for how to do family
history; instead they are intended to be discussion forums where family historians can
explore the wider historical contexts of their own families, where academic historians
can learn more about the work being done by family historians, and where difficult and challenging issues can be discussed.
We hope to announce our program of events in January, 2019–watch this space!