One day in history

17 Oct

History Matters campaigns to raise awareness of history in everyday lives. Today there’s an attempt to create the ‘biggest blog’ in history.

I’m a two-times history graduate, a one-time history teacher, and a PR lecturer who frequently draws examples from history. Here are some examples of what history means to me today:

  • I saw Alan Bennet’s The History Boys on stage in Bradford recently (a Yorkshire venue is appropriate to the author and the subject), though I haven’t yet seen the film. The play was sure to appeal to me (given my potted biography above), but has been a huge hit on stage in New York before being filmed. Now it seems everyone’s interested in history and in education – not just me.
  • I used to teach ‘new media’ from the perspective that technological developments were new. Then I reminded myself that to an 18 year-old school leaver the web has existed all their conscious lives. Google (founded in 1999) is now a middle-aged company. ‘New’ isn’t always so new as we think.
  • Last month, I went for lunch to celebrate my Cambridge history tutor’s 30 years in the same job. Will any of my students remember me in 30 years? Will any of us still be remembered three generations from now?
  • A PR student spoke to me today very about her conversion to Islam. I’m not religious, but can understand how comforting it must be to be (or become) part of a continuous tradition dating back millennia. A business student I teach is building a new life in Britain having grown up in Baghdad: a reminder that history is being made today; it’s not confined to the past.
  • If journalism is the ‘first draft of history’, then public relations sources will become footnotes to history.

5 Responses to “One day in history”

  1. Pieter 18/10/2006 at 10:18 am #

    Hi Richard. The story made it into Belgium’s financial newspaper De Tijd today. And, as a matter of fact, I blogged on it just two hours ago, asking myself when (not if!) we would see this initiatif coming to Belgium. I might try and push something similar myself đŸ™‚

  2. Philip Young 18/10/2006 at 11:24 am #

    Can any of us imagine being in the same job for 30 years? My record is six, and that was doing a few different things.
    I do, however, think some of your students will remember you – you remember some of your tutors from the long gone past and I remember most of mine; the sobering thing for the likes of us is to remember what we remember them for!

  3. Richard Bailey 18/10/2006 at 11:34 am #

    That’s noteworthy, Pieter: One day in history has certainly been a publicity triumph. The archived efforts of thousands of bloggers will almost certainly in time become a valuable historical resource (assuming there’s electricity to read it in future centuries).

  4. Richard Millington 18/10/2006 at 5:35 pm #

    I remember a friend of mine pushing a lecturer home in a trolley after a night out.
    It’s the little things you see…

  5. Rob Skinner 19/10/2006 at 3:59 pm #

    You’re right to eschew the prefix ‘new’ for media and technology. I remember the irony in 1980s newspapers talking about the move to ‘new’ technology from hot metal: the technology had been around for years but unions and management took forever to agree to using it.
    I’m sure your students will remember you. I can still name many of my Leicester university law lecturers from 1982 to 1985 – even some of their jokes!

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