Historical Fiction and the ‘Pastness’ of the Way People Think, by Mark Hailwood

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog post about the story telling techniques that historians use in their writing, writes Mark Hailwood. This was not a long time ago, and nor was it far away – you can read it here in fact. Inspired by the ‘Storying the Past’ reading group, and a series of … Continue reading Historical Fiction and the ‘Pastness’ of the Way People Think, by Mark Hailwood

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Blog Series: Creative Writing and History

The third and final event of the 'Creative Histories' series funded by the British Academy in 2017-8 was held in Bristol on 26th January. The event brought together historians and creative writers to talk about shared challenges as well as a disagreements, and finished with a talk from Kate Summerscale, author of a series of … Continue reading Blog Series: Creative Writing and History

Blog Series: Creative Histories, Sheffield 2016

We held our first Creative History event at Sheffield Hallam University in July 2016, funded by the Humanities Research Centre at SHU. The event was a day symposium which included novelists, a writer of popular history, a visual artist, film-maker and 'creative historian' in schools. Better late than never, we have just collected a series of blog posts from this … Continue reading Blog Series: Creative Histories, Sheffield 2016

Cheryl Morgan, ‘The Objectivity Trap’

In the wrap up session for Creative Histories we talked quite a lot about the question, “Who gets to be creative?”, writes Cheryl Morgan. That is obviously a major issue for the conference, but from my point of view a more pressing question is, “Who gets to do history?” That’s important because it can determine … Continue reading Cheryl Morgan, ‘The Objectivity Trap’

John Reeks, ‘Creative History Needs a Better Name’

I’m not lying: no, this is a creative history. I went to this conference believing that ‘creative history’ is a contradiction in terms: I remain firmly convinced of that view, writes John Reeks. By definition, creativity requires outside-of-the-box thinking and a willingness to tear up the rulebook. History, meanwhile, is a rules-based discipline. Historians are bound … Continue reading John Reeks, ‘Creative History Needs a Better Name’

Lucie Dutton, ‘Maurice Elvey, a Film about Nelson and Quilting my Research’

In 1918, British director Maurice Elvey made a film about Admiral Lord Nelson, a film he had planned for five years. My research into this film and its production history led to a series of quite unexpected quilting projects, which are described on my blog: http://www.isthereroomformetosew.com I’ve been researching Elvey for the last decade, as … Continue reading Lucie Dutton, ‘Maurice Elvey, a Film about Nelson and Quilting my Research’

Lito Apostolakou, ‘Creative Menagerie’

As a historian who has practised the art of research, yielded to the allure of the archive, endured the tyranny of the footnote, and experienced the pleasure of the documented argument and the crafting of a coherent narrative, I do not wield the authority of an academic position, writes Lito Apostolakou. If I was once … Continue reading Lito Apostolakou, ‘Creative Menagerie’

Ghislaine Peart, ‘The Benefits of Creativity’

What are the benefits of a creative approach to history, asks Ghislaine Peart? To answer this question, we must first consider another – namely, what do we mean by history? The definition of the ancient Greek word ἱστορία, whence our modern word derives, is instructive. ἱστορία, ἡ inquiry knowledge so obtained, information written account of … Continue reading Ghislaine Peart, ‘The Benefits of Creativity’

Sally Rodgers, ‘Better Ways in: Using Creative History to Engage New Audiences in Tinsley, South Yorkshire’

Four days after returning from ‘Creative Histories’ we ran a family arts day in a community building, writes Sally Rodgers. The event was full of activities inspired by Tinsley’s Court Rolls, the earliest surviving of which dates to 1284. Nearly one hundred and fifty local people attended, including lots of children. We did paper making, … Continue reading Sally Rodgers, ‘Better Ways in: Using Creative History to Engage New Audiences in Tinsley, South Yorkshire’

Iqbal Husain, ‘Loyalty and Dissent: Taking Archive Records from Page to Stage’

Drama is unique in its power to take the written word, explore underlying emotions, and connect these emotions to people, writes Iqbal Husain. That was the response of one of the performers who came to rehearse the five short plays that formed the creative heart of a project in 2016-7 led by The National Archives exploring … Continue reading Iqbal Husain, ‘Loyalty and Dissent: Taking Archive Records from Page to Stage’