November 2018 Update - Where is the Green-History Project going?
Beyond our immediate fundraising appeal to help with scanning the backlog of material we have various ideas about how the project may develop over the next few years.
In summary for the core website we see three phases
- The first focus is on filling out the online archive for the political movement from '72 to '89 inclusive.
- The second phase is to extend the timescale forwards.
- The third aspect which will happen in parallel with the second is to widen the breadth of the archive
Strand 1: We have garnered much material to catalogue, sort and present, but we are aware that there is more out there. Over the next 12 months this will be the priority. The current autumn appeal is to provide resources to put the scanning and preparation of archive documents on a more secure footing enabling us to clear the current backlog and be far more responsive to future submissions.
In addition, during this phase, we would like to extend the number of voices contributing to the project. We would like to recruit a small number of other custodians who will research the archive material and produce articles on diverse aspects of the material following their own interests. If you think this might interest you then please do get in touch for a preliminary discussion.
Strand 2: For the second phase, as we announced at the October Launch Reception, we intend to extend the time period for the archive by following a "thirty-year rule". In 2020 we will start to publish material relating to the events of 1990, then in 2021 we will open up 1991...and so on. Naturally we are already acquiring by accident some material from post 1989 years, but the intention is to actually develop and publish it one year at a time to bring the story forward in time. This activity will be continuing into the future, and will undoubtably bring to light both older physical material which will need incorporating, and also new insights into the evolving story of green history which will inspire revisiting and revising some of our early interpretations.
Strand 3: Thirdly we would like to extend the breadth of the archive - currently we are focused on the "political" and "Political" aspects of the green movement, but by its very nature the green movement is an emergent phenomenon where everything is connected from the personal to the political. The fact that we currently cover the Green Gatherings and the Peace Camps but not the Free Festivals or the New-age Travellers and other "lifestyle" aspects of the movement is somewhat arbitrary. This will be an evolving process, driven as much by the interests of those who come on board as custodians as any particular editorial dictat. The history of all organisations involved in the green movement from the most formal and established like the Soil Association, through the "Big Green" NGOs like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, to the more anarchic (in organisational terms) and informal groups like Reclaim the Streets and ALF are areas that need documenting and saving.
Telling the Story
We also see much potential beyond the online presence. History needs to be passed on, not merely recorded. A small start has been the exhibitions we have mounted so far and the talks we have delivered to various groups. This is activity that we would like to develop and extend, it is a way of making practical use of the website archive in the real world.
An exhibition and/or talk on a relevant aspect of green history can make a very valuable contribution to all sorts of events, conferences, meetings, symposia put on by organisations and groups in the green space. We are developing a package that can easily be tailored to suit a particular event and provide an entertaining and useful talking point to enhance the host event.
If you would like to include a history element in your event then please do contact us to discuss what we can offer.
As an extension to the outreach through mounting exhibitions and talks at other events we are in discussion with potential partners about mounting Green School events which will provide activists with a set of common tools to further their understanding of what works in what circumstances and why.
This will cover many more aspects than just Green History, ranging from the underlying philosophy of ecology to highly practical sessions on direct action to access the levers of power. A number of partner organisations will be involved in this initiative and we hope that the first events will be running early in 2019.
The Green Education work will require putting the organisation on a more 'conventional' footing. We intend to seek registration as an educational charity to further our activities from the digital archive to the Green School. To do so we will need to recruit about six trustees to oversee the charity and develop a formal constitution (perhaps modelled on the old Green Collective Daft Constitution - or perhaps not if that would not impress the charity commissioners!).
If you would like to get involved in taking the Green-History project to the next level either as a trustee or in some other role then please do contact us.
Through all of the above plans the primary focus remains on developing the green movement digital archive as an educational resource that is freely available to today's activists.