On 19 and 20 August 2016, PHA (Vic) and Professional Historians Australia co-hosted the Working History conference in Carlton, Melbourne. The conference brought together over 100 delegates from around Australia and some from New Zealand, for a unique opportunity for professional development, networking and the sharing of ideas.

The conference explored the following:

History: Now

What’s happening in history practice now?  What are some of the tensions, challenges, dilemmas and wisdoms that come with working in history today?

History: How?

How do we communicate history?  How does digital history compare to traditional methods?  Is there still a role for books, radio and television? How important is technology in history?

History:  Whose?

Who are we doing history for? What role does history play in benefiting communities, organisations, individuals?  Should historians weigh in on discussions on policy, planning and heritage?  What are our responsibilities?

History:  Where to?

Our job is discussing the past, but what about the future? What challenges and new practices will we face?  Who might we be working for? And what will working in history be like in 20 or 50 years time?


2016 marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Professional Historians Australia. The conference provided a fabulous forum for reflection on the origins of PHA and the aspirations of the association moving forward.

The conference offered a diverse and vibrant program, through which professional historians shared insights into a range of themes pertinent to the practice of ‘working history’, through panels, lightning papers and poster presentations.

On the first day of the conference, after being Welcomed to Country by Wurundjeri Elder Tony Garvey, we were treated to a keynote presentation from Tim Sherratt, Associate Professor of Digital Heritage at the University of Canberra. Tim shared his ideas on Telling Stories with Data.  
You can watch Tim's presentation here.





On day two, our keynote presenter Dr Lisa Murray challenged us to put more thought into considering our audience in her presentation Snore! I don’t want to know about old white men”: Audience development – public history’s greatest challenge





We are very happy to share below some of the other presentations that were made at the Working History conference. For a range of reasons, we are not able to share all presentations online. We would like to acknowledge and thank all presenters for sharing their ideas and expertise with us. Please see the full Working History program for details of all presenters and their papers.

We would like to thank the following dedicated PHA (Vic) members for their role in organising the conference: