Why we matter
There is an glaring need for historically-literate discussion and intervention on the most pressing challenges of our time: from the human implications of Artificial Intelligence to health and well-being, from the impact of mass migration and climate change, from poverty to globalisation, from political and economic instability to human rights and the survival of liberal democracy. Historians speak to all these issues, helping to explain human behaviour, and identifying and understanding the significance of long-term trends and patterns. History underpins our cultures and informs our identities. Historians have a duty not only to shed light on how those identities have taken shape but to call to account those who misuse the past in pursuit of political or other ideological ends.
The skills the discipline embeds are urgently needed in societal, cultural and economic terms: critical thinking, creativity, human understanding, empathy, clear expression, and the ability to interrogate an argument and hold it to the highest evidential standards.
In order to meet these critical needs, we require well-trained, engaged historians and historical professionals, drawn from across our wide community of researchers. The IHR brokers relationships among the best-placed experts, wherever they are to be found, in order to create research partnerships that will meet societal challenges, bringing together historians and those from other disciplines, those in our universities and beyond, in the UK and internationally. Collectively, we must devise meaningful research projects in key areas that promise disciplinary and interdisciplinary innovation and open new ways of thinking in order to engage with issues facing our society and to enrich our culture.
For all these reasons, we must advocate for the continuing value and importance of history as a discipline.