David Dean: Candidate for the IFPH Elections
Candidate for Election to the Steering Committee of IFPH
I teach public history at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada where I am also co-director of the Carleton Centre for Public History. I co-founded Carleton’s MA in Public History in 2002 and am co-editor of IFPH’s journal, International Public History.
My edited book The Companion to Public History was published in 2018 and I have written articles and chapters on a variety of public history themes such as contestation in museums, historical representation in film and theatre, historical authenticity and accuracy, and the notion of “publics”. My work is interdisciplinary and I co-organized two international, bi-lingual conferences that led to the co-edited collections History, Memory, Performance (2015) and Migration and Stereotypes in Performance and Culture (2020) linking public history with theatre, performance, migration, and diaspora studies.
I collaborate with museums, community activists, and performance practitioners and am currently engaged in three community-based public history projects: Capital History Kiosks (telling little known stories of Ottawa’s past through street art); Designing Domestic Dining (exploring memory and identity within diasporic groups through food); and Experiencing Covid-19 (a collaborative oral history project with Ingenium Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation).
I am a passionate teacher and have supervised over 40 graduate public history students and teach the core undergraduate course for our undergraduate concentration in the field. I truly believe in the synergy between teaching, community-engaged work, and research and am currently writing Performing Public History for Routledge which draws on my work as a theatre consultant, researcher, teacher and supervisor.
- Vision for the IFPH
I am seeking renewal for a second and final term as a Delegate on the Steering Committee for three major reasons.
First, I wish to continue to work with, and learn from, international colleagues through networking, seminars, workshops, and conferences. In the past few years I’ve presented at the IFPH conferences in Jinan, Bogotá, Ravenna, and São Paulo, and in each I’ve played a part in supporting IFPH’s vision for not only sustaining public history internationally but enriching it and supporting projects as best we can by sharing our experiences. My motivation is admittedly selfish because meeting and listening to colleagues and practitioners, artists and performers, curators and tour guides and others working in other countries has led me to re-think what public history is and has encouraged me to understand our field newly and differently through new perspectives and practices.
Second, in the last year or so of my current term I have had the pleasure of representing IFPH in workshops, seminars, and organizations internationally. Recently I’ve been the IFPH representative liaising with the new initiative to set up a South Asian network of Public History and I’m very keen to continue in that role. I have learned a lot from participating in the symposia we’ve held to date and would like to take that experience to canvass interest in setting up other networks, particularly in parts of the globe where IFPH has little presence. I’m in a good position to do this thanks to our members, friends, and colleagues across South Asia, but also because of the many international connections I made through editing The Companion to Public History and continue to make as co-editor of International Public History. I am particularly interested in finding ways – through various online platforms in the immediate future – to bring undergraduate and graduate students across the globe into conversation and collaboration with each other as well as public historians and those working in related fields and areas.
Last, I feel that it is very important for one of the two co-editors of the IFPH journal to be on the Steering Committee because it is through the work of the Steering Committee that exciting new ideas, initiatives, and possibilities are identified, discussed, and actioned, nurturing the sorts of cutting-edge work we want to see reflected in the journal. We may wish at some point to make a constitutional change to allow one of the co-editors to be part of the Steering Committee ex officio, but for the moment the only way for an editor to be a member is for one of them to stand for election as a Delegate and, well, that’s me!