Teaching Voluntary Action History Network

Good news!

Back in the autumn of 2013, I hosted an exploratory workshop at the University of Liverpool. Our aim was to share ideas and build a pedagogical community around efforts to take our research on the history of charity and voluntary action into our undergraduate teaching. While that event got us all thinking, I’m pleased to say the initiative has now been picked up by Helen McCarthy at QMUL (my co-organiser for the Liverpool workshop), Cait Beaumont of London South Bank University and Charlotte Clements of the University of Kent.

They’ve been awarded funding from the Economic History Society, who fund much excellent work in the economic and social history, for a second event on Teaching the History of Voluntary Action: National, International and Transnational Perspectives. This one will be hosted at Queen Mary, University of London next month on Saturday 28 February, 2015. I’m happy to say I’ll be speaking at the event as part of an excellent programme. I’ll be alongside my former colleague Anna Bocking-Welch of the University of Liverpool, Kate Bradley of the University of Kent, Kevin O’Sullivan of NUI Galway, Daniel Lacqua of the University of Northumbria and Bridget Lockyer of the University of York.

As so much of academic life has spilled over into the digital arena, it’s no surprise to see this happening here. In addition to the London event, they’ve also launched a new website, for which I’ve written a short piece. This will hopefully serve as an online forum for an ongoing discussion to keep alive the useful sharing of ideas and experiences that served us so well as the previous workshop. Exactly what this might end up including is an open question. It would be easy to imagine how it might usefully feature discussion pieces or papers from the upcoming event, profiles and contact details for network members, perhaps even teaching suggestions and materials. I have no idea. Part of the fun of working online is that there’s room for any project to grow and take whatever shape is most useful. Given the international dimension brought in for this second event, the website might offer the scope to address the question, raised by Dr Laura Westhoff on twitter yesterday, of the US parallel.

Visit the Teaching Voluntary Action History website to find out more about this exciting new network.

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