Elections: Tanya Evans candidate for the position of President of the IFPH

Biographical Statement 

I am an Associate Professor of history at Macquarie University in Sydney Australia and Director of the Centre for Applied History. I trained as an historian in Britain and moved to Australia in 2008. I have served as a Steering Committee member of the IFPH since 2018. I am also an Executive Board Member of the Public History Weekly.

I am a public historian, specialising in family history, collaborative history, and oral history, with a successful track record of creative historical research and outputs in Britain and Australia. I direct the Centre for Applied History at Macquarie University. My books include Family History, Historical Consciousness and Citizenship: A New Social History (Bloomsbury, 2022), Making Histories (De Gruyter, 2020), with Paul Ashton and Paula Hamilton (as co-eds), the prize-winning Fractured Families: Life On The Margins in Colonial New South Wales (New South, 2015); Swimming with the Spit, 100 Years of the Spit Amateur Swimming Club (New South, 2016); with Pat Thane, Sinners, Scroungers, Saints: Unmarried Motherhood in Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2012) and ‘Unfortunate Objects’: Lone Mothers in Eighteenth-Century London (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). I curate exhibitions and work as a consultant for television production companies, including Who Do you Think You Are?, making historical documentaries.  My current Australian Research Council-funded project is a collaborative public history, aiming to produce a walking tour of abandoned shale mining settlements in the Blue Mountains 

Statement of interest in the position and in the IFPH 

Throughout my career there has been a clear nexus between my teaching, research and community engagement activities. The Centre for Applied History was established in 2016 with support from my international public history friends and colleagues including Paula Hamilton, Paul Ashton, Michelle Arrow, Jerome de Groot, Laura King, Pat Thane, Thomas Cauvin and Thorsten Logge.

My teaching has been inspired by my research and engagement as a public historian. My third book Fractured Families: Life on the Margins in Colonial New South Wales was a history of Australia’s oldest surviving charity, The Benevolent Society, written in collaboration with family historians and while I worked as a consultant for the charity. This won the NSW Premier’s History Award for Community and Regional History. I have continued this work on public history in my forthcoming book Family History, Historical Consciousness and Citizenship: A New Social History.

I am passionate about encouraging the expansion of national and regional networks of public history around the world. The Centre for Applied History established the Australia and Aotearoa NZ Public History Network in late 2020 to develop public history across Australasia by creating opportunities to communicate, meet and share knowledge among individuals and organisations who practice public and applied history in the academy, communities, industry and professions. Our new network will encourage national and international communication and collaboration at a time when we need to emphasise the cultural and social benefits of public history learning, teaching and community engagement for everyone.

I enjoy working creatively with history as a consultant for television productions companies and I curate exhibitions based on my research. I am passionate about community engagement and for two years stood as President of the History Council of NSW – the peak body for historical organizations and people interested in history across the state. What I loved most about bringing my book Swimming with the Spit together was the teamwork involved.

I love working as a team and intend expanding these opportunities for public historians, at all stages of their career, who work in scholarly and non-scholarly contexts in the future, as part of my work with the IFPH. I have taught public history at Macquarie University for over a decade and worked hard to establish global research and teaching networks in that time. My international collaborative projects include one on German Migration with the University of Hamburg, my work with the #HistoriansCollaborate network in the UK and the Arts and Humanities Research Council Inheriting the Family network.

I am passionate about teamwork involving international partnership and I think we should use the IFPH network to develop resources and share expertise as has been established so successfully under Thomas Cauvin’s term as President. My students undertake internships with historical and community organizations across NSW in Australia and I want to establish partnerships with a range of international organisations to develop meaningful long-term research, teaching and community projects with teams of public historians and other disciplinary colleagues around the world. I also aim to expand opportunities for international creative practice within Higher Degree Research and co-supervision and examination across national boundaries.

Institutional Support My Centre for Applied History has university funding to develop international partnerships and I hope to establish this as a central university Centre with greater funding over the next few years. Meaningful involvement with the IFPH would make this ambition more viable. I also hope to win Faculty Research Funds to support annual international travel. The Centre is a Patron Level 1 member of the IFPH.


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