The History Council of NSW was established in 1995 as an umbrella organisation to represent everyone who worked in the state’s history sector, whether they were academics, local history groups, libraries or museums,and to advocate for the importance of history in the broader community. The first History Week festival took place in 1997 to celebrate all of these different associations and individuals, with the added bonus of being able to combine resources to promote festival events being put on by small and/or regional organisations across the state as well as those of large urban institutions.
This year’s festival has, obviously, been a bit different to previous years. Most events in History Week have typically been talks, tours and exhibitions which required your attendance in person, and juggling the calendar could get very tricky with so much to get to.
This year of course, most of the events have moved online. There are still some physical exhibitions and talks to go to, but the sector has moved online adeptly, with the added bonus of finding larger audiences from unexpected locations as well as making events more accessible to people who might have had trouble getting to an exhibition or talk before. The interest in history in the community has also grown as our current situation has led many to question how we got here, what happened in the past and where do our experiences fit into history.
There’s a huge range of activities that you can find out about on the History Council of NSW website here.
Some of the events that have already passed may be made available online, for example the Annual History Lecture that was presented last night by Stan Grant who asked if we were condemned to ignore the lessons of history, is available on the History Council’s YouTube channel. Head to their website here for more information and links..
You can watch the announcement of the winners of the Premier’s History Awards, and find all the projects shortlisted, on the State Library of NSW website here.
There are lots of Dictionary of Sydney presenters past and present also presenting events.
Minna Muhlen-Schulte will be joining a panel of GML historians on how to communicate the value of History on Thursday night at 5. Register here.
On Friday September 11 at 11, Lisa Murray will be talking about the Great Depression through the oral histories in the collections of the City of Sydney at 11am on Friday. This is a Zoom talk, so you’ll need to register here.
On Friday September 11 at 5, Peter Hobbins, in a panel of six historians, will be looking at the History of Now in a panel presented by the University of NSW & the University of Cambridge, as they discuss how people are recording their experience of the current COVID crisis, how that will be a resource in the future, and how earlier events like the pandemic in 1919, were recorded. This is a Zoom talk, so you’ll need to register here.
Nicole Cama’s online self guided walking tour: Ashfield – People and Places will be launched by the Inner West Council on Friday morning. Details here.
The State Library of NSW has a new exhibition Pandemic! that you can visit in person on Macquarie Street, and a great new related podcast The Gatherings Order, from the same team who brought you The Burial Files. Details on the State Library website here.
Keep an eye on your local library and history organisation as well for events they may have planned, and searching social media with the tag #HistoryWeek2020 will also get you a wealth of information about the great options available. The dilemma, as it is every year in History Week, is what to go to!
Dr Mark Dunn is the author of ‘The Convict Valley: the bloody struggle on Australia’s early frontier’ (2020), the former Chair of the NSW Professional Historians Association and former Deputy Chair of the Heritage Council of NSW. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at the State Library of NSW. You can read more of his work on the Dictionary of Sydney here and follow him on Twitter @markdhistory here. Mark appears on 2SER on behalf of the Dictionary of Sydney in a voluntary capacity. Thanks Mark!