Australian Centre for Public History
What is Public History?
The Rocks, Sydney, 1900
Public history in Australia has been defined as 'the practice of history by academically trained historians working for public agencies or as freelancers outside the universities'.
Public historians may work in heritage conservation, commissioned history, museums, the media, education, radio, film, interactive multimedia and other areas. They are people who have asked: 'What is history for?' And they are concerned with addressing the relationship between audience, practice and social context.
Public history, however, is an elastic term that can mean different things to different people, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The democratisation of 'history making' and the rise of professional historians' associations have also blurred simple definitions. Public representations of the past, official or otherwise, which marginalise or abuse history, raise other vital questions for all concerned with public histories.
Interested in studying public history at UTS?
Students can undertake public history studies at UTS as a postgraduate research degree (at masters and doctoral levels).