History and Archives in Practice

A partnership of The National Archives, Royal Historical Society, and the Institute of Historical Research, ‘History and Archives in Practice’ (HAP) is where historians and archivists come together to consider shared interests in archive collections, their interpretation and use.

HAP is an annual event, building on its partners’ long experience of bringing archivists and historians into close conversation.

You can watch recordings of previous events as well as videos about the collections, projects, and practice of our video contributors here:

Central to HAP is a focus on archival and research ‘practice’: creating opportunities to demonstrate and discuss how we work with historical collections, and what historians and archivists can achieve collectively. By making ‘practice’ central to HAP, we’ll also make more of collections – with time to learn about selected archives and how historians and archivists work better together.

HAP endeavours to partner with UK archives and institutions who similarly specialise in the bringing together of archivists and researchers. Each year we will draw on aspects of UK collections and emerging research being undertaken, integrating these into the annual event programme. This new format enables a formerly London-based conference to take place at archive centres across the UK.

We partnered with Cardiff University for HAP24: Historical Legacies, which was held in Cardiff on Wednesday March 6, 2024. We will be looking to partner with a fourth organisation and take HAP outside of London again in 2026.

HAP values

Collaboration and community: A collective endeavour between the Institute of Historical Research, Royal Historical Society and The National Archives, History and Archives in Practice brings together communities of researchers (archivists and historians) to discuss topics of mutual interest, in particular the nature of archival research and the use of historical collections.

Growing practice: This annual event prioritises research practices and encourages innovation and experimentation. It provides a space in which those of all stages and specialisms can share, learn and network, embracing new formats by which we can exchange knowledge while also envisaging unique and varied ways of working with history.

Possibilities: This collaborative event endeavours to highlight the diverse and unique nature of historical research – both demonstrating and creating new possibilities for researchers and practitioners to collaborate, co-produce and consider how we work with history and archives.

HAP is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of sex, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, or religion (or lack thereof).

You can also learn more about what HAP means to us by watching these videos by Philip Carter, Claire Langhamer and Pip Willcox.

Previous seminar topics:

2021: New Ways to Work – future directions for archival and historical practice (watch the short videos from our speakers here)
2020: Co-production and collaboration in the archives (listen to audio recordings of the 2020 seminar)
2019: Digital and the archive
2018: Diversity among the documents? The representation of BAME communities within the UK’s archives
2017: Strongroom to seminar: archives and teaching in higher education
2016: The Experience of the Archive