New historians gather to share and compare

Postgraduate students from Victoria and other universities across the country came together this week for the 11th annual New Historians Conference.

Painting of Victoria College on a hill.

Organised by Victoria University History postgraduate students, with the support of the History Programme and the University, the conference was an opportunity for the nation’s postgraduate History students to share their research and discuss developments within the field.

Master’s students in History Dean Broughton, Jamie Hawkins Elder and Hayden Thorne were this year’s convenors.

They brought in 18 presenters and encouraged not only postgraduate History students, but also students from other disciplines whose research had a historical focus. This cross-disciplinary approach opened the door to hear presentations from Va'aomanū Pasifika and participation from Museum and Heritage Studies students.

The programme included research from students studying the Cold War, New Zealand in the 19th century, diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Tuvalu, and the changing nature of the lascar workforce across the British Empire.

Professor Charlotte Macdonald says the topics, research methods and approaches presented at the conference represented the latest in international historical research and debate.

A highlight for Hayden was the panel on Jobs in History featuring five professional historians. “They talked about job prospects and gave us useful tips for tweaking your CV and cover letters, interview skills—basically some really practical advice.”

Hayden says organising the conference was a challenge for the team, but the support from the professional and academic staff has been great.

“We were juggling the conference, keeping up with writing a thesis and tutoring, so we had lots of balls in the air at once.”

Jamie says that without School administrator Teresa Durham’s support it would have been much harder. “Teresa has been amazing. She put in a lot work outside of her normal hours helping us so we are really grateful for that.”

The team says they are proud of what they achieved and look forward to attending next year’s conference.