Delayed introductions!

Apologies for the much-delayed introductory post! We trust that any of you currently struggling to exist in the world will be understanding and accepting of why this is a tad late…

Hello from your 2022-2024 ECR representative team – Ebony Nilsson, Anna Temby, and Rohan Howitt! We are thrilled to be serving as ECR reps for the AHA and are already working on some programs and projects that we think will serve our cohort well.

It is a strange time for ECRs. After the upheaval the university and public history sectors have experienced in recent years there are some small glimmers of hope on the horizon – more jobs are being advertised, research trips are possible again, as are in-person conferences. But alongside these positive aspects, the pandemic environment has both highlighted and entrenched many of the structural issues ECRs face when pursuing an academic career, and those experiencing these inequalities are feeling more and more excluded and isolated from the history environment.

The three of represent a broad range of ECR experience and each brings a unique perspective to the role – one of us is commencing an ongoing position (woo!), one of us is on a fixed-term contract, and another is casual. Between us we have care and family responsibilities, disabilities and chronic illness, and face other structural impediments to career progression. Despite this, we know we could never claim to be truly representative of the broad and diverse backgrounds of the AHA ECR cohort, which is why we are conducting a survey to help us fill potential gaps in our own understanding and experiences.

We are approaching our term with a determination to demystify and diversify the ECR experience – to foster solidarity and community, and advocate for our cohort fearlessly. We’ve all at times felt that we were out of our depth in the academic landscape, and we want to help empower our peers to embrace an “ask smart people silly questions” approach. It’s not always easy to admit you’re not au fait with what appears to be common knowledge and trying to google things like DECRA and NIT and ROPE often confuses more than it clarifies.

We will create spaces for this kind of open, non-judgemental discussion and even connect you with those smart people to ask your silly questions to (particularly important for those of you without institutional support)! Our continuation of the Skills for New Historians Seminar Series (link) kicks off on Monday 24th October with The ARC for Dummies: Demystifying Research Funding for Historians in Australia.

We are also acutely aware of how many of our peers feel isolated from the history community, either through distance, opportunity, or the lingering influence of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working to introduce some research-based writing groups to help connect people to others in their discipline that they may not normally interact with (more details soon!). We are continuing our incredibly successful ECR/HDR mentoring program with our postgrad reps Ruby Ekkel and Simon Farley, which we will be running again in 2023.

We are also going to start sharing the news, accomplishments, publications and successes of our cohort more on this blog – giving you the chance to share with us the things you are proud of and allowing your community to celebrate with you! All of this community-building work will also filter into the ECR conference experience and as we reimagine how we can make the conferences revitalising and fruitful spaces for ECRs to connect and network.

This is just a small sample of what we have planned – we will wait on the responses to the survey to fully develop these ideas! You can always contact us with any suggestions, feelings, thoughts, or concerns at You can join our Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.


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