The IFPH has a new Treasurer, Anita Lucchesi from Brazil, Italy and Luxembourg

The Application to IFPH Treasurer position (2017-2020) closed last January 15, 2017.

Anita Lucchesi was elected replacing Michael J. Devine – former Director of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in the USA and one of the founders of the Federation- who looked at IFPH finance issues from the start.

Below you’ll discover some information about our new treasurer, a young and dynamic IFPH member from the very beginning. Anita Lucchesi was present during our number 0 annual conference in Ottawa with NCPH in 2013 (n.1 was in Amsterdam in 2014).

Anita speaks Portuguese, her mother tongue, Italian, English and French.

A warm welcome to the IFPH board to Anita in a very exciting period for the development of the Federation and for International Public History as such, and only some weeks before our biggest annual conference ever in Ravenna, Italy!

About Anita

“Anita Lucchesi is currently conducting a PhD research in the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, at the University of Luxembourg, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Andreas Fickers. Her doctoral project looks at migrant memories and narratives in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, using digital public history methods to gather and analyse the historical sources, as well as to engage the interested community in the project. Anita is also a member of the Trinational Doctoral School set among the University of Luxembourg, Universität des Saarlandes and Université Paris IV – Sorbonne. Anita holds a master’s degree in comparative history from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), with digital history as the basis of her MA thesis. Before beginning her graduate studies, she worked in the cultural industry as a web writer, social media planner, and manager of campaigns for theatre, cinema, producers, and communication agencies. For a period of three years, she also worked as a history teacher in a government preparatory course in the state of Rio de Janeiro (Pré-Vestibular Social). In 2013, during her graduate work, Anita’s monograph on the relation between history and new media won a prize to be published by the Brazilian Society for Theory of History and Historiography. The same year, she became involved in the organisation of the Brazilian Network for Public History and its Second International Symposium on Public History. In the years of 2013 and 2014, she participated in the Brazilian National Program of Textbook (Programa Nacional do Livro Didático, Ministério da Educação), as a consultant for the Brazilian Ministry of Education, evaluating digital educational supplements for collections of history textbooks distributed for public schools in Brazil in 2014 and 2015. Later on, in 2015, Anita was the coordinator of the Multimedia Contents evaluation in the same Brazilian National Program of Textbook 2016’s edition. Her more main experience as public history practitioner was in the 2014-2015 term when she was hired as the responsible historian for a crowdsourcing project of the City Council of Rio the Janeiro, the @Rio450, based on Instagram, a commemorative project for the 450th anniversary of the city, celebrated in March 2015. Additionally, she is a researcher at the Group of Current History Studies (Grupo de Estudos do Tempo Presente) at the Federal University of Sergipe and editor of the Cadernos do Tempo Presente.”

About her Interests for becoming treasurer of the IFPH and member of the Steering Committee

“By applying to become the IFPH’s treasurer I would like to offer my time and my skills to support the development of the IFPH and of public history itself, especially understanding that such a body lives, exactly, from people’s energy, passion, and collective efforts. The work experience I have as secretary and management assistant of a non-governmental organisation in Rio de Janeiro, during my undergraduate, gave me the basis I believe one needs to handle the financial affairs of a similar non-profit organisation as IFPH. Monthly balances and annual reports were part of my work routine by then, but I assume it was a bit more complex than how the same tasks will look like in with more complexity than the IFPH, since the older employee has a physical office, a small paid staff and used much more services than a “virtual” organization as the IFPH shall need. While I am conducting my PhD research at the University of Luxembourg (2015-2018/19) and it is, indeed, a digital public history project, I can also profit from the fact of having financial support from the Fonds National de la Recherche in Luxembourg to attend academic events in other countries. This can be an opportunity also to represent the IFPH in other forums and, when possible, meeting the IFPH board in person in the Federation’s events itself.

Anita Lucchesi interviewed by Michael Frisch using PixStori (3rd IFPH Annual Conference at the University of Los Andes, Bogotà, July 6, 2016)

The reason why I believe it is important to collaborate with the IFPH in this way comes from how I see public history in my personal agenda. To give a bit of background, I might say my interest in public history was born basically at the same time that I was becoming a historian and a history teacher myself. In my first years as a teacher (2010, 2011, 2012…), the encounter with students was undoubtedly one of the key aspects to make me think about public history, even if by then, I did not know it by this title. I always liked to discuss with my students about histories that are not encapsulated in the textbooks, schools or Academia. For me, that was a point in discussing the history of the textbook itself and the power relations in which knowledge institutions are embedded. Showing that history is a social construction, done by multiple actors and discussing the bias in which specific historiographies are circumscript were the starting point of my first classes with students of all ages (I have been lucky to teach in a project with students from 16 to 75 years old). Examples from the “real world” were always helpful to illustrate things. From students, I learnt a lot about how plural can be the notion of history for different people, even when sharing similar backgrounds. What is a fact, why do historians narrate events, what is a historical source, how can we trust (or not) in them…? Those questions would always flourish in an interesting debate where students would show me how and where do they see history – in textbooks, buildings and monuments, of course, but also in popular soap operas on the Brazilian TV, historical novels, comics, video games, names of streets, exhibitions, songs, and so on. That remind me of my own experience as a young high school student, when I had been interested in many forms of sharing knowledge about the past, that made me passionate about public culture, local history and alternative ways of storytelling. I even considered studying Communication instead of History because of this insistent will for communicating history, but in the very last year of my high school, after reading Marc Bloch, I was sure I would like to become a historian, and that I could combine my passion for sharing with the rigorous methods of Academia. Bloch said, among other things, that a ready explanation makes everything frosty, while there was no such a thing to teach as a good example. And that paved my way… And this was how I learnt to love the examples from the “real world”, which is an unforgettable expression of one of my students to refer to what she thought was not “academic” or “didactic material”.

Some four years later, it was together with the development of my initial studies on digital history that I got surprised by discovering other people like me – some of them that would have no doubt to say they were public historians, others that were still trying to understand what is public history and how it can contribute to the historical fights for social justice and for an equal society. Emblematically, the first conference I attended on the subject was not in my country, but an “international event” – the National Council for Public History Annual meeting of 2013, in Ottawa (Canada), and it was definitely a turning point in my life. There I got to know a lively atmosphere of exchange and a very strong will to collaborate that was impressive. In this occasion, there was also a meeting of the IFPH,  and that was when I decided to become a member of the federation. The international aspect was a strong motivation, especially for a person coming from a country that was facing so many issues in terms of social justice, after long years of civil-military dictatorship. It was fascinating to listen to other people about how they were dealing with these difficult pasts in their own lives? and see that, despite of the borders and the historical differences of each singular case, something, a concern, or a sense of responsibility, would invite everybody to think about the public uses of history in a society. Suddenly, the interest in public history was no longer a research or teaching interest, but it became, more and more, a civic matter to me. Since then, public history became part of my agenda, both for fun and for a sense of accountability that I still do not know exactly how to explain. Personally I believe that being in the public history field can be a kind of therapy for the anxiety of being a historian asking herself/himself about my her/his role in the society. And what I enjoy more about the IPFH is the opportunity of brainstorming about this kind of questions together with people from different “real world” backgrounds, and this is where the internationalization has an eye-opening effect that we can no longer ignore.”

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