Call for Proposals: “Knowing your Public(s)—The Significance of Audiences in Public History”

“Knowing your Public(s)—The Significance of Audiences in Public History”
2013 Annual Meeting, National Council on Public History
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, April 17-20, 2013

In 2013 the National Council on Public History will meet at the Delta Ottawa City Centre, in the heart of downtown Ottawa, Canada, with Canada’s Parliament buildings, historic ByWard market, national museums and historic sites, river trails, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Rideau Canal, and numerous cafes and restaurants within easy walking distance. The program committee invites panel, roundtable, workshop, working group, and individual paper proposals for the conference. The Call for Poster sessions will be issued in fall 2012.

As Canada’s capital, Ottawa is the national centre of the museum, archival and heritage community, and its historical and cultural attractions draw 5 million national and international tourists annually. Ottawa’s two universities have strong connections to public and applied history. The federal government employs many history practitioners and creates a market for private consultants. With so many diverse fields of Public History theory and practice represented, Ottawa is an ideal place to consider issues and ideas associated with the theme of “Knowing your Public(s)—The Significance of Audiences in Public History.”

These could include:

  • the changing nature of the public and the evolution of the discipline over the last forty years;
  • how the public and Public Historians influence each other in the production of history;
  • the effects of changing approaches to public participation, reciprocity, and authority on Public History theory and practice;
  • the impact of digital media on expanding or excluding public engagement;
  • generational differences including Public History for the millennial generation;
  • intersections between Public History practised at universities and in the broader community;
  • issues related to working with ‘closed’ audiences in fields such as litigation, or government-directed, research;
  • access to and use of grey literature
  • the increasing need for audience relevance in times of economic recession;
  • and diverse cultural and multi-national approaches to commemorating events such as the bi-centennial of the War of 1812 or the 60th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War.

We welcome submissions from all areas of the field, including teaching, museums, archives, heritage management, tourism, consulting, litigation-based research, and public service. Proposals may address any area of Public History, but we especially welcome submissions which relate to our theme. Case studies should evoke broader questions about practice in the field. The program committee prefers complete session proposals but will endeavor to construct sessions from proposals for individual presentations. Sessions are 1.5 hours (working groups may be longer); significant time for audience discussion should be included in every session. The committee encourages a wide variety of forms of conversation, such as working groups, roundtables, panel sessions, and professional development workshops, and urges participants to dispense with the reading of papers. Participants may be members of only one panel, but may also engage in working groups, introducing sessions and leading discussions. See the NCPH website at for details about submitting your proposal and be sure to peruse past NCPH programs for ideas about new session/event formats.

Proposals are due by July 15, 2012.

All presenters and other participants are expected to register for the annual meeting. If you have questions, please contact the program committee co-chairs or the NCPH program director.

2013 Program Committee Co-Chairs

Michelle A. Hamilton
Director of Public History
The University of Western Ontario

Jean-Pierre Morin
Treaty Historian
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

NCPH Program Director
Carrie Dowdy

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