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About Us

The History, Heritage & Archives cluster is concerned with a range of pasts and their mediation.

Information on the History, Heritage and Archives cluster

We are interested in the development of 'media historiography' as a distinctive field, seeing media production of all kinds as a form of both historical ‘writing’ and historical method. We investigate how such media is consumed and understood, its role in the emergence of everyday concepts of the historical and its contribution to the democratization of the field presented by ideas of public history.

We focus in particular on concepts and practices of archive formation, alongside ideas of heritage, asking ‘what can one do with media history?’ Archives are important to us as active and community-based projects, rather than as conventional records of nation and state, and we explore how archiving practices have been repositioned within new and participatory online cultures, as potential anchors for social and public history and memory studies research.

In this ‘archiving culture’, archives are themselves a media form, a development tied up with the more general mediatisation of history. Such media play a central role in contemporary heritage practice, in which the possibilities of the digital turn are exploited for both vernacular production and critique.

Opportunities and tensions present themselves for scholars, institutions and practitioners in these fields. The research of the History, Heritage & Archives cluster is necessarily diverse, therefore, and explores a range of media archiving and cultural heritage practices, alongside the historiographical questions which these activities, and the attendant creation and consumption of media, pose.

The cluster is led by Nick Webber and Pedro Cravinho.

Areas of activity

  • Media as historical sources
  • History and heritage practices in media communities, including fan practice
  • Histories of media experience, particularly in relation to gender and everyday life
  • Refugees, migrants, media history and archives
  • War archives, online technologies and identity building processes
  • Media archival and heritage practice
  • The challenges of online archives (for historians and archivists)
  • The historical retrieval of the UK adult entertainment business
  • Commemoration and everyday media memory
  • Popular music history and heritage