About Unofficial Histories

Unofficial Histories is a public conference to discuss how society produces, presents, and consumes history beyond official and elite versions of the past.

It aims brings together those who wish to consider historical engagements and understandings that take place within, on the edges of, or outside “official” sites that produce and transmit historical knowledge and ideas.

What subjects, ideas and themes are presented?
What styles and mediums are used?
How is this history produced, transmitted and consumed?
Who is producing and consuming it, and why?

We hope to sharpen the awareness of the different sites and forms of historical production and consider how they impact public perceptions and consciousness of history.

We hope to explore the interactions between competing and corresponding impulses in history-making: the scholarly and the political; the academic and the everyday; the imperatives of funding, sustainability, ethics and access.

Finally, we would like to consider whether such “unofficial histories” have political effects that might serve democratic and emancipatory goals, and if and how they can be seen as sources of dissent and resistance against conventional, privileged models of historical knowledge.

Unofficial Histories has been running annually since 2012…

Unofficial Histories was started by Fiona Cosson and Ian Gwinn in 2012. It was a response to the fact that there wasn’t an obvious forum for discussing these alternative, unofficial, radical, public, exciting histories that were happening all over the place. And so Unofficial Histories was set up to provide that place and to bring people together.

Unofficial Histories is an independent, public gathering and rather ‘do-it-yourself’ in nature. The conference runs on a combination of hard work, good will, volunteer time and enthusiasm, and very little money (UH makes no profit). We always welcome people who want to get involved, and we are grateful for the help!

The conference has also benefited from the support of organisations and institutions over the years. We are grateful to The History Workshop Journal,  Manchester Centre for Regional History at Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Huddersfield, and the International Institute of Social History  for support for the conferences to date.

If you’d like to be host or be involved in helping us run the next conference, please do get in touch! 🙂