2022 Public History Prize Winner

The Social History Society’s Public History Prize recognises activities that enhance public understanding of social and cultural history. It was established in 2020 to thank our outgoing chair, Professor Pamela Cox, for her tireless efforts to open dialogue between the society and different audiences.

The prize is awarded to a postgraduate student or an early career researcher who can demonstrate excellence in taking their research beyond the academy.

The winner of the 2022 prize is JC Niala for the project ‘1918 Allotment’.

JC Niala is an anthropology doctoral researcher at St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford. She researches the history and practice of allotmenteering and guerrilla gardening.

The project ‘1918 Allotment’ was born out of her doctoral research. It involved recreating a 1918 style allotment using open pollinated heritage seeds from the era.

As well as creating this ‘living’ history, JC documented the process in blog posts and hosted a series of public events. These events allowed members of the public to eat the fruits of her labour and share their stories connected to the histories of gardening and the First World War.

JC, who has previously received funding from the SHS BME Activities scheme, was determined to include minoritised histories in this project. She drew particular attention to the war’s East African Front, where more than a million people were killed because of the war.

The judges were impressed by the creativity of the project and JC’s commitment to drawing attention to overlooked histories.

JC has written a blog about the project which contains further details and has spoken to us about the project. You can watch that interview below.