FAQs for media and policymakers

If you are a policymaker or journalist wanting to contact a historian, the following FAQs may be helpful:

  1. How do I contact a historian through History & Policy?
  2. How much notice do you need to put me in touch with a historian?
  3. Why don't you publish historians' contact details?
  4. Are your historians all UK-based?
  5. What are your quality-control procedures?
  6. Do your historians have to take a certain line on current issues?
  7. Can I contact a historian about any issue?
  8. Do I have to pay to contact a historian through History & Policy?
  9. Can you guarantee to find a historian to help me?
  10. What sort of help can your historians give me?
  11. Do all the historians in your network have policy/media experience?
  12. How can I keep up to date with History & Policy publications and activities?
  13. I am a member of the public, can you help me?

1. How do I contact a historian through History & Policy?

Please contact our office at King's College London.

2. How much notice do you need to put me in touch with a historian?

Please give us as much notice as possible and bear in mind that many of the historians on our database are university-based and have teaching commitments. If you are hoping to set up a meeting with a historian, request briefing or invite them to an event, it is particularly important to give plenty of notice. But we recognise that short-notice requests are sometimes unavoidable, particularly for media, and will do our best to help you in the time you require.

3. Why don't you publish historians' contact details?

Historians sign up to our database on the understanding that their contact details will only be given out with their permission. This is to avoid them being bombarded with requests and to enable us to direct enquiries to the most appropriate person.

4. Are your historians all UK-based?

The majority of the historians on our database are based in the UK, but some are based elsewhere in Europe, in the USA or in other countries around the world. We encourage participation from any historians who have something to contribute. Australian Policy & History has similar aims to History & Policy and may be of interest to policymakers and media in Australia.

5. What are your quality-control procedures?

We speak to all new members of the History & Policy network by phone to discuss their historical expertise and previous experience of working with non-academic audiences. Historians do not have to be based in a university or have completed a PhD to join the database, but they do need to be engaged in professional-level historical research. All History & Policy papers and briefings must be based on published or examined historical research.

6. Do your historians have to take a certain line on current issues?

Not at all. History & Policy does not take an organisational position on any policy issue; we simply try to create opportunities for expert historians to have their say. If you speak to a historian in our network, you will get their take on the issue at hand. Like other academics, historians often come to different conclusions about the same issue and if you are seeking someone who will give a particular angle, you should let us know.

7. Can I contact a historian about any issue?

Yes, provided it is relevant to current affairs or contemporary policymaking. We cannot respond to requests for help with general historical issues, but we will try to point you in the right direction. The more specific you can be about the issues you are exploring and what help you require, the more likely it is that we can help.

8. Do I have to pay to contact a historian through History & Policy?

No. This is currently a free service as part of the History & Policy pilot project and we want to encourage policymakers and media to get in touch with historians. As the service develops in future, it may become necessary to charge, but this is not on the horizon yet.

If you want a historian to commit a significant amount of time to a project, such as consultancy work for a documentary, giving a keynote speech or undertaking bespoke briefings or research, they may request a fee for their time.

9. Can you guarantee to find a historian to help me?

We will do our best, but we cannot provide a guarantee. If we do not have a historian in our network who can help you, we will try to find someone, but this is not always possible at short notice. We are continually recruiting new historians to our network and expanding the range of policy issues we are able to cover. The History & Policy papers give a good indication of the issues where we have particularly strong coverage.

10. What sort of help can your historians give me?

We will discuss your requirements in detail when you contact us. Many of our historians participate in media interviews or assist with documentaries. We also encourage them to provide briefings for policymakers and respond to live policy issues. We particularly welcome enquiries from people based in government, Parliament, think-tanks, lobby groups and non-governmental organisations.

11. Do all the historians in your network have policy/media experience?

We always try to match historians with enquiries that suit their expertise and help them gain the skills and confidence to communicate with non-academic audiences.

Most of our historians have some experience of working with the media and some are regularly interviewed or write articles. All of our historians have a keen interest in the current policy issues relevant to their research and some have extensive experience of speaking to policy audiences, producing policy-related research and attending policy events. See our news and research pages for some examples.

12. How can I keep up to date with History & Policy publications and activities?

You can join our low-volume email list to receive occasional emails alerting you to new History & Policy papers, the latest news and forthcoming events.

13. I am a member of the public, can you help me?

History & Policy was set up to promote communication between historians, policymakers and media rather than public history in general (see what we do). We are only able to assist people working in policy or media environments, but there are many other websites that provide information and organise events for the general public:

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