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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.


Skills for New Historians: The ARC for Dummies: Demystifying Research Funding for Historians in Australia

Monday 24 October, 3:30-5pm 
Online via Zoom 
Register now.

We’re delighted to be able to continue the Skills for New Historians seminar series established by the previous ECR Rep team. If you’re not already familiar with it, Skills for New Historians is an online seminar series for discussing some of the key skills and knowledge postgraduate and early career historians need to consider as they move into new phases of their careers. Each seminar is convened by the ECR reps and presents an opportunity to ask learn vital intel, ask questions, and get to know your colleagues, both early career and more senior. Previous seminars have tackled topics such as book proposals, peer review, and non-academic careers, among many others. Recordings of many of these seminars are available to current AHA members here

The next instalment of Skills for New Historians is dedicated to the often-bewildering world of research funding. What is the ARC, what funding schemes does it offer, and what are the eligibility requirements for these schemes? What do terms like ROPE, NIT, and rejoinder actually mean? And what alternatives are there to the ARC when it comes to funding for historical research by ECRs in Australia? This seminar provides an opportunity for ECRs to ask anything you’ve ever wanted to know about the ARC or the wider research funding landscape in Australia. 

You can submit questions anonymously in advance or participate in the discussion during the seminar. While this seminar is targeted at postgraduate and ECR historians, it is also a welcoming environment for scholars at all career stages to participate. 

For this seminar, we’ll be joined by:

Maddie Barton (Senior Research Officer at Australian Catholic University) 
Ruth Morgan (Director of the Centre for Environmental History at the Australian National University)
Claire E. F. Wright (ARC DECRA Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney)

This seminar will take place on Monday 24 October at 3:30-5pm. 

Registrations are essential. To register, go to the Seminars page on the AHA website, log in using your membership details, and scroll down to Seminar #8: The ARC for Dummies. This will take you to a Google Form to register for the Zoom link and to anonymously submit questions for discussion by the panel. 

Have your say! AHA ECR Pulse Survey 2022

Hello from your 2022-2024 ECR representative team – Ebony Nilsson, Anna Temby, and Rohan Howitt! We are grateful for the opportunity to serve as ECR reps – Anna enjoyed it so much the first time that she decided to do it again. We’ll be sure to introduce ourselves properly soon.

We already have some great projects in the works that we look forward to sharing with you all, but to ensure that we are actually engaging in work that will benefit our cohort as much as possible we’d like to invite you to complete a short survey to help guide our representation and advocacy over the next two years.

The survey is not just for those pursuing an academic career – we would like to hear from all our history peers, regardless of your career trajectory or plans. We would like to invite late-stage HDR candidates and also early mid-career researchers to contribute your thoughts and opinions – the more data we can use to drive our work the better!

This is completely voluntary, and able to be done anonymously if you choose. We do encourage as much honesty as you are comfortable with, as it helps us to really understand the myriad difficulties facing ECRs in the current academic climate. If you’d like to see the results of 2020’s survey you can view that here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at

We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Ebony, Anna, and Rohan

ECR/HDR Mentoring Scheme 2022

Hello ECR friends and welcome to 2022! It’s great to be at the top of a new year, ready to jump into the work and opportunities that await us. And yet, the tough times roll on. 2021 did not, unfortunately, magically solve all the problems that dominated 2020, and our sector feels just as unsettled and uncertain as ever. But we had some great things happen in 2021 as well — after being cancelled in 2020, our history community was able to come together virtually for the Annual AHA Conference, making us all very proficient in Whova and Zoom. The Skills for New Historians Seminar Series was a smashing success; supported in particular by the AHA President Professor Melanie Oppenheimer, ECR and HDR members were able to hear from experts in various aspects of academic life. (Remember that most of those sessions were recorded and are available to rewatch by logging into the AHA website!) And in conjunction with HDR Representative Joshua Black, we ran the first ever ECR/HDR Mentoring Scheme, pairing HDR candidates with ECRs, strengthening ties between these communities. We’re thrilled to announce that the scheme will run again in 2022!

Unsure how this works? It’s pretty simple, really! This is a scheme that matches ECR mentors with HDR mentees, creating space for HDRs to ask questions, address and talk through your concerns with a person who’s recently been through the process, who can offer you advice on navigating academia in this tricky climate, and who can (help you) reflect on contemporary approaches to historical research. And for ECRs, this scheme allows you to develop your own mentoring skills (something that was highlighted in the ECR survey at the end of 2020) and hopefully to take those first steps towards future supervision opportunities.

It will run from February to November 2022, and is for AHA members only. Make sure to head to the AHA website if you’d like to renew your membership, or sign up for the first time!

What you have to do: Complete this Google form, making sure you let us know if you’re signing up to be a mentor (ECRs) or a mentee (HDR). The form also asks what areas you’d like to focus on in the scheme — please do let us know what you’re thinking! Examples could include:

  • career development. How do you make the transition from being a candidate (and perhaps on a scholarship) to working in the field, whether that’s through teaching, research assistance, or something else. When should you start looking at postdoctoral fellowship applications?
  • writing help. Need an extra set of eyes on a paper? Would you like feedback on your writing from an outsider? Do you struggle with how to structure an academic article?
  • publishing. How do you start publishing from the thesis? What is the process of transitioning a completed thesis into a book? When should you start approaching publishers? How do you know which publisher is right for you and your project?

The relationship between mentors and mentees will look different from pair to pair. Each mentor/mentee will find their own balance, depending on what a mentor can help with, and what a mentee would like help with. Be as honest as you are comfortable with, so we can make the best matches between applicants and ensure your respective expectations align as closely as possible!

We (the ECR and HDR reps) will then go through the responses to match mentors with mentees. Now that Zoom is now so widespread we are less concerned with where mentors/mentees are located, but if you would prefer to meet in person, let us know so that we can take that into account when making pairs.

Meeting every six to eight weeks is sufficient: this means that, by applying to this scheme, you should be prepared to meet your mentor/mentee at least six times over the year. However, if you find that you’d like to meet more often, please do! This is a self-directed program where you and your mentor/mentee can take the reins and create a schedule and list of discussion points that work for you both. We will be checking in throughout the year to make sure that things are running smoothly, and we are of course available to take questions or to field concerns should anything pop up. Otherwise, we trust both parties to work and communicate with each other.

Applications for this scheme close Monday 31 January 2022, and respective pairs will be notified in February. Feel free, of course, to contact us or Joshua Black ( if you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts. We are always here to help!

Still need convincing? Here’s some feedback from last year’s participants…

HDRs (Mentees):

  • “[Mentor] provided specific and expert feedback on my work. [They] met and exceeded my hopes and expectations.”
  • “Joining the scheme was one of the best decisions I made this year, I hope that you continue to run it and other people get the same benefits from it that I continue to receive.”
  • “undoubtedly, as a PhD student, I’ve learned a lot from [mentor] on how to organise my research article for publication better.”
  • “I strongly support the idea of running this programme in the future again and wish more and more scholars from different areas of history can join it. “
  • “[Mentor] is a highly intelligent and generous scholar whose mentorship was a game changer when I started my first academic position after completing my PhD”
  • “I came away from each session with a deeper understanding of, and more clarity around, each of the topics we covered. I know that I’ll be checking my session notes for helpful tips in the future. I absolutely recommend that this scheme is run again in the future.”
  • “Overall, I found these meetings extremely beneficial for understanding the competitive nature and expectations of the academic world.”
  • “I definitely have benefited from being in this program and heartly recommend this mentorship scheme to other HDR/ ECRs.” 

ECRs (Mentors):

  • “These one-on-one mentoring sessions are very important because they enable a safe and honest space to be formed, away from academic performative language or carefully curated/monitored fora. This is where knowledge can be shared with no specific agenda in mind, except but to build one another up with practical tips and advice.”
  • “volunteering is very important. Overall, between emails, zoom, preparation and reading, this may have taken me 15 to 20 hours so it is not onerous but ought to be taken seriously.”
  • “We discussed a range of academic issues, e.g. how to write up book proposals, five-year plans, developing a strong research narrative, and applying for grants. Despite our historical fields being very different, we discussed broader subjects like writing and research methods.”
  • “It was an absolute privilege to mentor [mentee] and an honour to be part of this scheme. I would highly recommend it run again in the future.”
  • “I did not have set expectations about the mentoring program, and this helped to keep the catch ups unstructured and responsive to what [mentee] was working on at the time.”
  • “I think there is benefit to mentoring someone from the same discipline and helping them through the PhD in any way possible. I also learned a lot in the process about how to facilitate working relationships with the mentee, and especially during difficult times.”
  • “I felt I was able to help my mentee with general advice on academia, and as a person with whom they could speak about academia, but who wasn’t directly involved in their PhD.”
  • “I would most certainly recommend this scheme in the future, it’s a fantastic scheme. It gives junior scholars the opportunity to meet ECRs, and builds their network. It’s also an clearly defined opportunity for ECRs to give back to other scholars.”
  • “I did read one of [mentee’s] thesis chapters, and gave [them] feedback on how could rewrite the research as a journal article. Again, [they] planned to speak with [their] supervisor about this, but wanted to use our mentoring sessions to brainstorm ideas in advance. Using this approach, I felt I was able to help [mentee] with specific concerns as they arose during the year, and also provide more informal advice and support from someone who had recently gone through the HDR process.”

AHA Conference: ECR/HDR Day

As we all scurry away working to finish our conference papers for next week (just me?), it’s important to not forget about the great day of events that have been planned for our ECR and HDR communities on the first day of the conference week! Before the opening address and keynote from Shino Konishi beginning at 5pm AEDT on Monday 29 November, there’s a whole bunch of sessions for us to jump into — make sure to log into your Whova account and add these sessions to your agenda to start planning your week!

9am — 10.15am AEDT | ROUNDTABLE Digital Archives: What and How

Chair: Imogen Wegman

Speakers: Richard Neville, Tim Sherratt, Nick Schapowal and Alana Piper

Get the low-down on the latest developments in the world of digital history. What is available? Where is it located? How do you access it?

11am — 12.15pm AEDT | ROUNDTABLE History Work Outside the Academy

Chair: Georgia McWhinney

Speakers: Peter Hobbins and Cathy Perkins

We know our history degrees can be applied to so many jobs… but what possibilities are there?

1pm — 2.15pm AEDT | ROUNDTABLE Publishing in Popular Media

Chair: Chelsea Barnett

Speakers: Georgina Arnott, Frank Bongiorno, Alecia Simmonds, and Alan Vaarwerk (Kill Your Darlings)

Disseminating our work to non-academic audiences has always been important, but the current climate has only exacerbated this need. This session is organised by your ECR co-representatives in line with the successful Skills for New Historians Seminar Series. In it, we speak to both emerging and established scholars who have forged a path in this space, as well as Alan Vaarwerk, an editor at Kill Your Darlings, to talk about what editors really want from contributors.

3pm — 4.15pm AEDT | ROUNDTABLE Publishing in History Australia

Chair: Kate Fullagar

Speakers: Editors of History Australia

Hear from the editors of History Australia about the ins and outs of academic publishing.

or… | ROUNDTABLE Bursary Meeting

Chair: Tim Rowse

If you were one of the lucky recipients of the AHA/CAL Bursary, head along to to this session with Emeritus Professor Tim Rowse for discussion and feedback!

AHA Conference: Social Catch-Ups

Hi pals! We’re right in the middle of November (um, how?) which means that the 39th AHA Conference is only a few weeks away! After a Covid-cancellation last year, and a Covid-delay this year, we are itching to hang out with our history community and listen to some ace papers. Of course, check out the conference website for the schedule and program!

While border closures and Covid uncertainties have meant that the conference is running virtually, easing restrictions in each city mean that we’re able to catch-up in person in each capital city … and we’re so excited to be able to see each other again! With the help of some generous people in our HDR/ECR community we’ve managed to organise social events in each city. Check out the details below … and also, keep an eye on the Conference Whova app, as all the details are listed there (and you can RSVP, too!).


General Event

When: Thursday 2 December, 6.45pm AEDT

Where: Camperdown Memorial Park, Newtown

Contact Person: Lisa Ford and Conference Organising Committee


When: Thursday 2 December, 7.30pm AEDT

Where: Burdekin Hotel (rooftop), 2-4 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Contact Person: Chelsea Barnett / Jarrod Hore


When: Thursday 2 December, 8pm AEDT

Where: Fathers Office, 249 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Contact Person: Hannah Viney


When: Thursday 2 December, 6pm AEST

Where: The Ship Inn, Cnr Stanley & Sidon Sts, South Bank 

Contact Person: Tristan Moss


When: Tuesday 30 November, 6.45pm AEDT

Where: King O’Malley’s Pub, 131 City Walk, Canberra

Contact Person: Laura Rademaker / Joshua Black



When: Friday 26 November, 11am ACDT

Where: Food Lore Café, ground floor of the UniSA MOD building, North Terrace adjacent Morphett Street Bridge, Adelaide, (across from the City West tram stop)

Contact Person: Jade Hastings

General Event

When: Monday 29 November, 4.30pm ACDT

Where: Room 10.2, Flinders University Victoria Square Building, 182 Victoria Square (to watch Conference welcome and Shino Konishi keynote), followed by dinner at Treasury 1860, 2 Flinders Street, Adelaide, from 6.15pm ACDT

Contact Person: Romain Fathi


General Event

When: Monday 29 November, 3.30-5pm AWST

Where: University Club (verandah), Hackett Drive, Crawley (cash bar)

Contact Person: Jane Lydon


When: Monday 29 November, 10.30am AEDT

Where: University Club, Dobson Road, University of Tasmania Sandy Bay Campus

Contact Person: Imogen Wegman

We hope to see you there!

Skills for New Historians Seminar: Reviewing Books, Films, and More

We are so pleased to be able to bring you the next instalment of our seminar series! Don’t that if you’d like to check out any of our previous seminars that you may have missed, head over to the AHA website: log in, and then head to “Member Resources” and then “Seminars” — all the recordings are there for you!

One of our intentions with these seminars has been to explore and shed some light on the different tasks that working historians complete, especially when those tasks aren’t widely discussed. This next seminar really hits that nail on the head. Reading, engaging with, and reviewing other scholars’ work is a crucial part of the historian’s job, yet it’s not something we often discuss in detail. How do you write a thoughtful, thorough, and useful review of a monograph, in (usually) no more than 800 words? How do the reviews you write differ according to the publication you are targeting? How do you engage with other forms of history-making (ie, films, museum exhibitions, or something else entirely) to interrogate its meaning while honouring its form? Our expert panel will speak to these questions and more:

  • Dr Zora Simic (UNSW): on writing book reviews for academic and non-academic publications
  • Dr Charlotte Greenhalgh (University of Waikato): History Australia book reviews editor
  • Dr James Findlay (University of Sydney): History Australia “history off the page” reviews editor


  • Skills for New Historians: Reviewing Books, Films, and More with Dr Zora Simic, Dr Charlotte Greenhalgh, and Dr James Findlay
  • Tuesday 24 August, 3–5pm AEST (via Zoom)
  • To register:
    • Log into the AHA website
    • Go to Member Resources / Seminars
    • Scroll down to Seminar #6 and click through to the Google Form, and complete!
    • Registrations close Monday 23 August

Having problems logging into the Members Only section of the new website? Contact Bethany, the AHA’s executive officer, at

Skills for New Historians is open to ECRs and HDRs who are members of the AHA. If you’d like to join in and aren’t a member, head over to the AHA website where you can renew your membership, or become a member for the first time. The seminars will be recorded and the recording made available to AHA members.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Skills for New Historians Seminar: Non-Academic Careers

Our seminar series continues! We are so glad that you all are loving these seminars as much as we are! A huge thanks, of course, to the guest speakers we’ve asked to be part of them each month, but also huge thanks to our audience, who come along and ask such interesting and thoughtful questions every time.

Before we announce details for the next seminar, some exciting news! In case you missed it, the new AHA website is LIVE! It looks great, is super user-friendly, and has taken a lot of work to get here. What is especially exciting is that the recordings for past seminars in this series are now available on the website! If you’d like to catch up on our past sessions on Digital Histories, Book Proposals, or the Peer Review process, you can now access them to watch back. Simply log into your member account, and then go to “Member Resources” and then “Seminars” on the dropdown menu. 

Now, for the next seminar!

In putting together this series, we knew we needed to acknowledge the very tough climate that the Arts, and the University sector more broadly, are currently in. It’s never been easy to secure an academic job, but with Covid-19 keeping international students away, and reduced government funding meaning job cuts, now seems an especially difficult time. It’s becoming increasingly common (and necessary) to move from the PhD or the postdoctoral fellowship to different kinds of work. But this doesn’t have to mean giving up on research, publishing, or keeping in touch with your academic community. It also doesn’t mean forgetting all the skills you developed and honed during your PhD. This month, then, we’re focusing on work outside of – or, perhaps, alongside – the academy, and speaking to people who have successfully secured these kinds of positions in three different fields: university administration, the public service, and the GLAM sector. These recent grads will tell us all about their work in these fields, how they secured their positions, and if/how they balance continuing to publish and engage with their academic communities:

  • Dr Emma Gleadhill, Faculty of Arts Research Officer at Macquarie University
  • Dr Emma Sarian, NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority
  • Dr Mariko Smith, First Nations Assistant Curator at the Australian Museum


  • Skills for New Historians: Non-Academic Careers with Dr Emma Gleadhill, Dr Emma Sarian, and Dr Mariko Smith
  • Friday 16 July, 4—6pm AEST (via Zoom)
  • To register: please note the new process!
    • Log into the AHA website
    • Go to Member Resources / Seminars (see the pictures above!)
    • Scroll down to Seminar #5 and click through to the Google Form, and complete!
    • Registrations close Thursday 15 July

Having problems logging into the Members Only section of the new website? Contact Bethany, the AHA’s executive officer, at

Skills for New Historians is open to ECRs and HDRs who are members of the AHA. If you’d like to join in and aren’t a new member, head over to the AHA website where you can renew your membership or become a member for the first time. The seminar will be recorded and the recording made available to AHA members.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Skills for New Historians Seminar: Peer Review

Friends — thank you so much for making this seminar series such a wonderful event! We’ve so far had three amazing seminars on Digital Histories, Book Proposals, and the DECRA, and each of them have been led by generous scholars and attended by an enthusiastic and curious group of ECRs and HDRs. We’re thrilled to announce our fourth seminar, which will follow in the same vein!

Peer review is a fundamental part of the academic experience — our papers, grant applications, and books get sent to unknown (to us) readers, who pore over these texts to decide whether you get published, funding, or a good review. It’s fundamental … and yet can be a personal, intimate experience too, as we often pour so much of ourselves into our writing. A good review can be elating, whereas a bad review can be debilitating. There are few formal guidelines or frameworks through which to approach reviewers’ reports, and dreaded Reviewer 2 can strike at any moment. How do we go about this process? At the same time, there are no formal lessons on how to be a good reviewer. How do you give constructive, thoughtful, helpful feedback … without becoming Reviewer 2 yourself? Our next seminar will explore all things peer review from both sides of the table, with two experienced speakers:


  • Skills for New Historians: Peer Review with Professor Kate Fullagar and Associate Professor Lisa Featherstone
  • Tuesday 1 June, 3–4.30pm AEST (via Zoom)
  • To register: please email by Monday 31 May

Skills for New Historians is open to ECRs and HDRs who are members of the AHA. If you’d like to join in and aren’t a new member, head over to the AHA website where you can renew your membership or become a member for the first time. The seminar will be recorded and the recording made available to AHA members.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Skills for New Historians Seminar: The DECRA

We are pretty excited to announce the next instalment in our “Skills for New Historians” seminar series! We’ve already had two great sessions on Digital Histories and Book Proposals, with generous speakers giving valuable information to our attendees. Thanks to all those who have participated so far! If you’d like to catch up on the sessions, they’ve both been recorded and will be uploaded to the new AHA website, to be launched soon! Stay tuned — we’ll announce when the the website is ready and the recordings are able to be viewed. (Note: member log-in required.)

For our next seminar, we’re turning our attention to another part of ECR life that we all hear a lot about and know is important, but can be difficult to navigate: the DECRA. Yep, we’re talking ARC funding. You may have read the posts on this blog about “Dismembering the DECRA“, but want even more information, more transparency. Just what is the DECRA? How do you get one? Why is it so important? Who are the College of Experts, and what do they do? Our panel of speakers will share their perspectives to answer these questions and more:


  • Skills for New Historians: The DECRA with Professor Bronwen Neil, Professor Amanda Nettelbeck, Dr Emma Gleadhill, and Dr Tristan Moss
  • Friday 30 April, 3–5pm AEST (via Zoom)
  • To register: please email by Thursday 29 April

Skills for New Historians is open to ECRs and HDRs who are members of the AHA. If you’d like to join in and aren’t a member, head over to the AHA website where you can renew your membership or become a member for the first time. This seminar will not be recorded.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. We’re looking forward to seeing you!