From the Council – News, Views & Advocacy


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Message from incoming HCNSW President, Dr Stephen Gapps

I’m delighted to have been elected last week (21 May 2019) to the role of President of the History Council of New South Wales, along with others on the Executive Committee and General CouncilAs you can see, the HCNSW includes an excellent representation of the history field, and together we will meet regularly to discuss and formulate the program that underpins the key focus of our work – to ensure that history, in all its diverse forms, is an important part of the cultural life of the people and communities of NSW.

I’d like to thank the outgoing Executive Committee members, A/Prof Tanya Evans (President), Richard Neville (Treasurer), Andrea Fernandes (Secretary) and Emeritus Professor David Carment (Independent) who have supported the HCNSW for at least the last two years on the Executive, many of them longer. Their knowledge and expertise has kept the HCNSW focused through firm direction and stable management.  

As the HCNSW has some increased stability with new funding, a new council structure, new office space, and new and energetic staff, it seems a good time to focus, and re-focus, on some strategic areas for the next couple of years in what is shaping up to be challenging times for history in general.

Over the next few months the HCNSW can look forward to the results of being part of a combined Australian states History Councils’ push to produce a Value of History Statement.  Based on a successful US model, this statement will empower member-organisations to present a united front to show what is important about fostering history in our communities.  Importantly, the Statement will enable community organisations to connect with broader History Council aims and to also utilise the Statement for their own strategic purposes, particularly in articulating the importance of Public History work in an increasingly competitive funding environment.

It is also an opportune moment to reconnect with member organisations in particular, and a survey of members is proposed to be conducted in the near future. It is important to hear what our members want from the HCNSW, and to receive new suggestions and ideas.

Finally, it is proposed that the HCNSW revive and refresh the State of History Report in collaboration with key industry stakeholders, which has not been conducted for some years. The comparative data and information from such a report will be a valuable tool over the next few years.  

In 2019, the HCNSW will of course continue to conduct the highly successful History Week, Annual History Lecture, Awards, and  Speaker Connect program and seminars, all of which are detailed in our 2018 Annual Report.  We will also add further networking and professional development events to our slate, expanding the reach of our programs in Regional NSW and beyond through programming and podcasting. 

Our work continues to be supported by a grant from Create NSW in 2019, as well as from partnership agreements with twelve large cultural organisations in NSW and membership subscriptions.  We are grateful for the continuing support of all our members and partners and look forward to working with you throughout 2019 and into our 25th year, 2020, which seems an appropriate point to consider a history of the History Council!  

I look forward to meeting and engaging with our members – individuals, organisations and cultural partners in the coming months.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to discuss the current work and future programs or strategies the History Council or NSW.  I can be contacted via the HCNSW Office:


Image:  Cyril Angles in Studio, 1937.  Sam Hood Collection.  State Library of NSW
Dr Stephen Gapps (Image supplied)
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