Where in the world is the Public History Commons?

Rockefeller Center Observation Deck. Photo credit: NVinacco

Rockefeller Center Observation Deck. Photo credit: NVinacco

If you’ve visited the website of the National Council on Public History lately, you’ll know that it’s been renovated and refreshed, with a brighter, cleaner look and (we hope) an easier-to-use design. Now it’s time for Phase II of the re-set, and since that involves the blog you’re reading—History@Work—and the space where it has lived until now—the Public History Commons—we wanted to explain what you can look for in the near future and some of the thinking that went into these changes. Continue reading

The News Feed is moving to the main blog

As we’re preparing to move the contents of the publichistorycommons.org site into the main National Council on Public History website in the next couple of weeks, we’re making some changes to the place of the News Feed within the overall site.

For the past three years, the weekly posting of news items has appeared in this sidebar space. Starting today, it will appear as a full blog post in the History@Work blog, with a new format that we hope is slightly friendlier to peruse.

Check out today’s news post, and be sure to keep an eye out for further changes coming soon.

As always, all of the contents of this news posting, along with other newsy items about the world of public history, a link to our job and internship postings, and announcements about NCPH activities are included in the Public History News Update that is emailed to all NCPH members weekly. You can access all of these various pieces elsewhere, but a benefit of membership in the organization is that they arrive neatly bundled in your inbox every week!

Professional opportunities Feb. 10, 2015

To submit an item for the News Feed, send an email to: news[at]publichistorycommons.org

ANNCT:Voicing the stories of the excluded: Albanian families’ identity and history making in Athens, Greece”/a talk by Eleni Vomvyla for the Public History Discussion Group – Feb. 21, 2015, London, U.K.

CFP:A History Denied – Preserving Tangible Evidences of Slave Dwellings”/2nd Annual Slave Dwelling Project Conference – Oct. 8-10, 2015, North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
DEADLINE: Feb. 28, 2015

CFP:The Remembered and the Forgotten: Preserving and Interpreting the Americas to 1820” – Oct. 22-24, 2015, Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
DEADLINE: March 1, 2015

EDU: Online live audio workshop, “Getting Started with Oral History,” from Baylor University Institute for Oral History – April 1 and April 8, 2015

REV:Across the Bloody Chasm: The Culture of Commemoration among Civil War Veterans” (Harris)

To submit an item for the News Feed, send an email to: news[at]publichistorycommons.org

Professional opportunities Jan. 13, 2015

To submit an item for the News Feed, send an email to: news[at]publichistorycommons.org

J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award Subcommittee of the Society of American Archivists seeks nominations for the 2015 award.
DEADLINE: Feb. 28, 2015

CFP: Personalized Access to Cultural Heritage (PATCH 2015) @ IUI Conference – March 29-April 1, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
DEADLINE: Jan. 16, 2015

CFP: Third International Workshop on Linked Media (LiME 2015) – May 18-22, 2015, Florence, Italy
DEADLINE: Jan. 24, 2015

CFP: Unofficial Histories 2015 – June 6, 2015, Amsterdam, Netherlands
DEADLINE: March 1, 2015

CFP: Digital Humanities in Portugal: building bridges and breaking barriers in the digital age – Oct. 8-9, 2015, Lisbon, Portugal
DEADLINE: March 15, 2015

CFP: Museums and Social Issues: A Journal of Reflective Discourse seeks submissions for Vol. 10, Issue 2
DEADLINE: April 21, 2015

CFP: Beyond Women’s Words: The Personal, Political, and Ethical Challenges of Doing Feminist Oral History, co-edited by Katrina Srigley, Stacey Zembrzycki, and Franca Iacovetta, seeks submissions
DEADLINE: March 6, 2015

CFP: Left Coast Press invites manuscripts and inquiries for the series Practicing Oral History

CONF: Public Information Stewardship: A 360° View – Jan. 30, 2015, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.

EDU: Online classes in Jan. and Feb. from LYRASIS: “Creating Online Exhibits: New Ways to Reach Out, Advocate, and Publicize Your Collections and Services,” “Digitization for Small Institutions,” and “Introduction to Digital Audio”

FUNDING: Three scholarships for public historians to attend annual Civil War Institute in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DEADLINE: March 15, 2015

PUB: Dec. 2014/Jan. 2015 issue of ExpoTime! available online now

REV: Exhibiting Madness in Museums (Coleborne and Mackinnon, eds)

To submit an item for the News Feed, send an email to: news[at]publichistorycommons.org

Keeping the faith: Political cartoons in and out of the archives

https://www.flickr.com/photos/29233640@N07/16227778545/ Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker

“I am Charlie” has become the expression of solidarity of people around the world in support of the French weekly newspaper following the January 7, 2015 attack.
Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker

The killings at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris this week have prompted a passionate defense around the world of political cartoons as free speech, a form of journalistic expression that exemplifies (and occasionally pushes the boundaries of) a free press’s role as critic and gadfly. In thinking about historical precedents and comparisons for the horrific attack, I’ve been struck by a couple of things.

Continue reading

What good is theory in public history?

Photo credit:  mlcastle

Photo credit: mlcastle

Prompted by Suse Cairn’s June musings on whether museum professionals need theory in their working lives, we posed the same question via social media about public historians and gathered a handful of responses:

I think theory and reflexive thought is fascinating and, ideally, useful for planning project goals and critiquing ourselves as authors. In grad school, though, it seemed easier to discuss both theory and practice because we had down time together in work-like spaces of computer labs and student lounges, and, with similar classes, we were coming to the discussion with similar background information. Those factors seem harder to find or create in work situations. ~ Elizabeth Almlie (Historic Preservation Specialist, South Dakota State Historical Society)
Continue reading

A side or B side? Postindustrial artisans walking a fine line (Part II)

Continued from Part 1.

parking lot

“The B side” of the Fringe building was seen by one potential developer as part of what needs to be fixed in Union Square. Photo credit: Cathy Stanton

So how did the small-scale artisans at Fringe fit into the proposals put forward by the master developer candidates at the March meeting? The short answer is: ambiguously. They were clearly seen by the developers as both part of the hipness of the neighborhood and part of the set of problems–what in an earlier era of urban redevelopment was more bluntly termed “blight”–that the proposals aimed to overcome. This was made particularly clear by one presenter who showed slides of what he described as Union Square’s assets—a collage of logos from new-economy businesses, including Fringe’s—but then pointed to what he called “the B side,” ugly and problematic things that still needed to be fixed in the neighborhood. His slide for the B side included an image of Fringe’s entrance and loading-dock on the utilitarian back side of the IH Brown building, and he seemed unaware that the logo and the loading-dock belonged to the same enterprise. Lacking the high-tech polish of Artisan’s Asylum or GreenTown labs, Fringe is harder to pigeon-hole–and thus perhaps easier to overlook–in discussions about affordability and inclusivity within urban redevelopment. Continue reading

A side or B side? Postindustrial artisans walking a fine line (Part I)

street scene

Somerville’s Union Square has been relatively affordable within Boston’s expensive real estate market, but an impending city-led revitalization plan is already boosting prices in the neighborhood. Photo credit: Cathy Stanton

On a cold March evening this past winter, my students and I caught a bus from Davis Square, near Tufts University, to attend a public meeting in Union Square, at the other end of Somerville, Massachusetts. Within the generally-pricey Boston real estate market of the past two or three decades, Union Square has remained relatively affordable and as a result has been something of a haven for artists, artisans, low-income immigrants, and small, often marginal businesses. The March meeting, though, was part of an ongoing “revitalization” process that had already started to bring big changes to the square. Candidates vying for the role of “master developer” for the square were strutting their stuff, trying to demonstrate both familiarity with the neighborhood’s bohemian character and capacity to coordinate more than 2.3 million square feet of new development in seven blocks currently assessed at $26 million.

My class was conducting ethnographic research focusing on a collaborative of small artisanal businesses in a former industrial building in Union Square, and we were curious about how these kinds of companies–tied to currently-hip ideas about “maker culture” in some ways, linked with the longer history of small-scale local craft production in others–would appear within the image-making that was sure to be going on at the meeting. Continue reading

Professional opportunities July 15, 2014

To submit an item for the News Feed, send an email to:  news[at]publichistorycommons.org

AWARD: Society for History in the Federal Government (SHFG) seeks entries for its 2015 Thomas Jefferson Prize for documentary histories published in 2013 or 2014.
DEADLINE: Nov. 30, 2014

CFP: Public History in Latin America – special issue of Historia 2.0 seeks articles in Spanish and Portuguese
DEADLINE: July 21, 2014
Call is available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese

CFP:There and Back Again: Tolkien in 2015” – Feb. 20-21, 2-15, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
DEADLINE: Oct. 1, 2014

CONF:Memory and Learning in a Changing World” – Sept. 15-17, 2014, Falstad, Norway

CONF:Co-Creating Narratives in Public Spaces,” free symposium on expanding the diversity of stories told at U.S. National Park Service sites – Sept. 17-18, 2014, Washington, DC, U.S.

CONF:ITIE2014: Local Culture and Oral History,” 6th Annual International Conference on Information Technology in Education – Oct. 27-28, 2014, Changsha, China

CONF: “Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities: Forging collection-based collaboration between archives, museums and academia” – Oct. 29-30, 2014, Birmingham, U.K.

NCH: National Coalition for History Washington Update for July 9, 2014
US Senate Confirms William “Bro” Adams as NEH Chairman; Proposed cuts to NEH would bring funding to its lowest level since 1972; House Funding Bill Would Cut NEH and National Park Service History Programs in FY 15
Full stories on NCH website

PUB: Collecting the Contemporary (Rhys and Baveystock, eds.)

PUB: History, Memory, and Trans-European Identity: Unifying Divisions (Sierp)

REV: Milliken’s Bend: A Civil War Battle in History and Memory (Barnickel) and Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder (Levin)

REV: Preserving South Street Seaport: The Dream and Reality of a New York
Urban Renewal District

To submit an item for the News Feed, send an email to: news[at]publichistorycommons.org