Being alongside: the practice of collaborative public history

Karen Harvey*, Laura King, Josie McLellan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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This is the editors’ introduction to a group of three articles on collaborative public history: history that is made with and by, as well as for, a range of public and community actors. We focus on collaboration with members of the public and community groups rather than institutions or people who are working in a professional capacity. In this introduction, we use Saima Nasar and Gavin Schaffer’s notion of being ‘alongside’ to describe their positionality as academic ‘co-travellers’ with their collaborators. The models used here all involve academics working alongside their collaborators in physical and embodied ways, but being alongside also encompasses a political, emotional and empathetic standpoint that, as Nasar and Schaffer note, might involve letting go of a sense of academic critical distance. Being alongside involves working in ways that reject or try to push against hierarchies which often dominate such academic interactions. This way of thinking encapsulates an aspiration and a key question for all of us who are engaged in collaborative public history: how can we work alongside our collaborators in a way that approaches ethically the political, practical and emotional challenges of such work?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-563
Number of pages5
JournalRethinking History
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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