In 2014, two major research programs on uses, representations and legacies of the past, and the relationship between the past and the present, embarked on a path of unprecedented cooperation.
In France, from the cluster of excellence: Pasts in the Present: History, Heritage, Memory, supported by the University Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, which combines several research units and heritage institutions of primary importance. In Britain, from the Arts and Humanities Research Council: the Care for the Future: Thinking Forward Through the Past research theme.
Between these two programs, which combine both long and short-term research projects, there are many thematic and methodological affinities, including their shared interdisciplinary orientation, their new forms of partnership with heritage institutions, their support for early career researchers, their expertise in the definition of cultural policies related to the past, and their development of transnational research perspectives and international cooperation.
The labex (Laboratoire d'Excellence), Pasts in the Present and the Care for the Future program have therefore decided to work together to create the conditions for cross-border and transnational research.
For the next two years, the planned cooperation between the two research programmes will consist of two main actions:
The terms of this cooperation were developed by two working groups, drawn from the advisors and partners for both research programmes, the first meeting in Nanterre in February 2014, the second in London in late June 2014. The recommendations of those working groups have subsequently been approved by the sponsors or partners of the two research programmes and their respective boards.
Franco-British Research Workshops
Those workshops are open to researchers and practitioners / professionals in heritage institutions interested and involved in the two programs. Forty people will meet for two full-day Franco-British research workshops. In total, the workshops aim to run 3 sessions for 120 people.
The format is designed to enable a full and friendly exchange of experiences and ideas: two days of work, during which there will be formal presentations and discussion, as well as plenty of time for more informal discussions, and debates in other formats (recordings, films or film clips, screenings, visits).
The objectives are twofold. On the one hand: through presentations on current or proposed research, to enrich the research of the two programs, including the development of transnational research perspectives. On the other hand: to create opportunities for building strong partnership networks across the two programmes among both researchers and partner organisations.
Collectively the workshops will seek to address a more general question, "What type of histories does the present want or need?” Addressing this more general question will help the programmes to generate new thinking regarding the relationship between history and the past, and the relevance of that relationship for the present and future. The workshop series will address this more general question from the diversity of disciplines, and promote exchanges and collaboration across those disciplines. It will also encourage participants to develop comparative and transnational approaches, including those related to globalization and the circulation of knowledge globalization induces.
Theme 1: The Uses of the Past
How is the past remembered, represented, appropriated, mediated, debated and contested in the present? And how is the mediation of the past in today's present affected by the Digital Humanities?
This theme raises the fundamental question of the ways in which our views of the past are shaped by what is happening in the present, and the ways in which our understandings and perceptions of what is happening in the present are shaped by our experiences and memories of the past.
Theme 2: Research and Heritage
What can research into heritage contribute to current heritage policy and practice? Issues of policy and practice might include:
The workshop will mainly consist of 20-minute papers as part of a panel presentation but we may also include a series of shorter 5-minute papers presented in groups as a catalyst for conversation.