Funding to support BME Histories

A ‘Hindoo Tract Seller’ depicted Henry Mayhew’s ‘London Labour and the London Poor’ (1861)

The Social History Society, Economic History Society and History UK are launching a new funding scheme to support Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) history.

The scheme has been created in recognition of the under-representation, structural inequalities and racism afflicting UK Higher Education Institutions. We are committing £2,000 a year for three years in the first instance.

The BME Events and Activities Small Grants Scheme will provide grants of up to £750 to support activities and events run by BME historians or on subjects relating to BME history. It is open to applicants looking to run conferences, workshops and symposia, as well as other activities such as exhibitions, walking tours, performances of podcasts.

The initial call for applications for funding opens today and will close on 1 September 2019.

A panel of experts, comprised of Professor Catherine Hall (University College London), Dr Meleisa Ono-George (University of Warwick) and Dr Jonathan Saha (University of Leeds), will assess all applications to the scheme.

This support is open to professional historians (working in universities or elsewhere), independent scholars, retired staff and students alike. The only stipulation is that applicants should be (or be willing to become) members of either the SHS or EHS. In the case of applicants who are permanently employed in Higher Education Institutions, their department should also be (or willing to become) a subscribing member of History UK.

Professor Pam Cox, Chair of the Social History Society, said:

The SHS is proud to be supporting this scheme. We are pleased to work in partnership with other leading learned societies on the issue of racial and ethnic inequality in history, which was highlighted so starkly by the Royal Historical Society’s 2018 report. This grants scheme will sit alongside the more informal support provided by the recently formed SHS network for BME historians.

Professor Catherine Schenk, President of the Economic History Society, said:

The Economic History Society welcomes this scheme, which aims to promote BME history and support BME researchers in the UK through research grants and support for events and activities. We look forward to working with other learned societies to promote greater diversity across the range of historical research and to promoting the outcomes of this research through the Society’s outlets.

Lucinda Matthews-Jones and Jamie Wood, co-convenors of History UK, said:

This funding scheme represents another strand to History UK’s support for diversification of the historical profession in higher education, including events around inclusivity in the classroom, new-to-teaching workshops, and our annual academic job boot camp. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with other subject organisations to address the issues raised in the RHS report last year and hope that this can lead to further initiatives.

Professor Catherine Hall, one of those who will judge the applications, said:

I very much welcome this initiative – we all know how important it is to support in every way possible the work of BME historians – the discipline urgently needs decolonisation!

Following common usage, we are using ‘BME’ to refer to non-White people from or residing in the UK who are descended, through one or both parents, from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia (the Middle-East to the Pacific Islands), Australasia or Latin America.