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The 100th anniversary of the Institute of Historical Research (IHR)


The 100th anniversary of the IHR heralds a year of talks, tours and performances.

To commemorate its 100th birthday, the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), part of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study, will bring together researchers, artists and scholars for a year of #OurCentury events to explore, celebrate and reappraise history – our past, present and future.

The #OurCentury celebration promises to be exciting, thought-provoking and, above all, entertaining, with something for everyone. More than 30 events will take place during the year offering a vibrant mix of free discussions, exhibitions, performances, talks, walking tours, art workshops, film screenings and steel bands to uncover the breadth of history in its many forms.

The IHR’s acting director Professor Philip Murphy said:

This year of celebrations has the potential to be a watershed moment in the history of the IHR, which has been pivotal in supporting historical research for the last 100 years. 

“The commencement of our second century provides us with a chance to take stock, and to discuss how, over the next 100 years, we can best serve the national and global community of historians. It is particularly appropriate that we should be doing that as we prepare to welcome the IHR’s new director, Professor Claire Langhamer. For the Centenary and beyond we aim to promote more inclusive, diverse and engaged histories and historical practice, and to involve a wide range of partners in the UK and across the world. The exciting series of events we will be sponsoring over the coming year is proof that History in all its many forms is as rich and vibrant as ever.”

On 8 July, exactly 100 years to the date of the IHR’s opening ceremony, leading international historians will gather online from 11am to 6pm for the institute’s Global Birthday Event. Panellists from Osaka to Lagos via Cape Town, Washington, Ontario and New Delhi, will discuss the state of the discipline within their country or region, the challenges ahead, their memories of the IHR, and its potential role over the next 100 years.

Confirmed speakers are:

Other highlights of the #OurCentury festival include:

  • Early 20th-century social media: writing postcards around Morecambe Bay (15 July). Join Professor Julia Gillen, director of the Edwardian picture postcard project at Lancaster University, as she explores the links between picture postcards and contemporary social media and learn to explore your own family or local history interests and how you can contribute to this citizen humanities research project. 
  • Forward to the past: critical perspectives on the films of Adam Curtis (8 September). Hosted in collaboration with the University of Nottingham's Institute for Screen Industries Research and sponsored by the IHR, this interdisciplinary online conference will critically examine the films and ideas of the controversial documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis.

These are just samples of some of the free public online and socially distanced face-to-face activities taking place across the UK. From September 2021 to June 2022, look out for our National Centenary series which aim to celebrate diverse histories, informing and inspiring the next generation of historians, and our Centenary Partnership events with Swansea University and Queen’s University Belfast, focusing on approaches to public history and ‘troubling anniversaries’.

Find out more about the IHR’s #OurCentury festival at Institute of Historical Research and follow the latest news on Twitter at @ihr_history, #OurCentury.