Hello, I'm Alix Green, often to be found Tweeting about history, politics and coffee at @alix_green and blogging at https://thehistoricalimperative.com/. I'm currently Lecturer in Public History at the University of Central Lancashire but like to, in the words of one of my colleagues, 'get about a bit'. I love the spark you get from making new and unexpected connections with people at conferences and other events (as much in the coffee queue as during the sessions). China, the US, Switzerland and Germany have been on my list in the last 12 months.
I enjoy just as much that my job allows me to forage for collaborators in other contexts, from museums and archives, to the arts and the media, policy and business - in fact anywhere in the wider world of people interested in exploring the past and what it means for us today. I then get the rewarding task of introducing students to the many ways in which they can be critically-minded ‘historians at large’ in whatever career tracks they follow.
I did my PhD 'late' as part of a first career in policy and government relations, which has fundamentally shaped my approach to being a historian. I'm interested in what 'historianship' involves and how historians can 'think with history' as a way of contributing to a whole range of debates and issues in public life (by way of a shameless plug, my book, History, Policy and Public Purpose: Historians and Historical Thinking in Government is out next month).
My new project was co-created with the John Lews Partnership archivist and is looking at pay, benefits and staff welfare. I'm really enjoying this collaborative way of working and am lucky enough to spend a few days every couple of months holed up in the amazing John Lewis Heritage Centre.
I was particularly interested in the We the Humanities project as my interests cross or blur disciplinary borders (I mainly fish in anthropological, sociological and political as well as historical waters) and I want to understand how different forms of specialist knowledge relate to one another. So this week, I’d be keen to hear people’s views on how we bring the humanities (and other fields) together to address the problems of our day, from local to global levels.
We are easily locked into advocating just for our own fields (for example, to policymakers) as if we need to compete rather than collaborate to prove our worth. It’s tempting enough to shout ‘history matters!’ from the rooftops, but I wonder how productive that approach is. What could we make happen if we routinely put our heads together with scholars from other domains of human knowledge? How do we break some of the boundaries that keep us in silos, whether it's institutional prestige, STEM vs Humanities, or other sources of division? Maybe we can venture into early-careers, public engagement, work-life balance, academic identity and any number of other interesting issues…
I'm here mainly because I love how Twitter can work for academic (and all kinds of other) discussion. You never know who will join in or what you'll discover along the way - so I'm really looking forward in my week's curation to meeting some fellow-travellers, wherever our conversation takes us!