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Recap: LHPC 2023

Will Garbett | Lancaster University


My name is Will Garbett, I am chair of the LHPC 2023 Organising Committee, and I am here to tell you that LHPC 2023 was a resounding success!

LHPC 2023 Logo with the 0 of 2023 as the Lancashire rose in burnt orange
LHPC 2023 Logo

The seamless operation of the conference aside, we were particularly pleased with the large and diverse body of postgraduates who attended the conference. We had forty-nine speakers from nineteen universities. These speakers were spread across fourteen panels with a variety of periods and themes, spanning history from ‘Early Medieval Britain’ right the way up to ‘Media in the Modern World’, and spanning disciplines from the study of Policy and Practice to Art History and Material Culture. We were especially delighted to welcome the group from the University of Padua, in Italy, including our keynote speaker, Lucio Biasiori, and four postgraduate speakers. Lancaster University has a burgeoning relationship with the University of Padua, through the Centre for Mobilities Research. We hope that LHPC 2023 helped to contribute to this and other long-term, long-distance friendships and collaborations. The conference was an endless stream of highlights, but three things, in particular, stood out to me.

Firstly, the keynote lecture. I had heard good things about our keynote speaker, but I found myself mesmerised. Lucio, who is an Associate Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Padua, spoke to us about 'Continuity and Change in the Social History of Emotions: The Long Life of the Child of Babylon (1319-1793)'. Lucio had taken this year’s theme, ‘Continuity and Change’, head-on, reminding us that the antithesis inherent in this theme is the root of all historical investigation. With an unusual text, an apocalyptic prophecy from late-Medieval Europe, Lucio demonstrated the tensions between continuity and change in history and how we might measure them, through a text’s form, circulation, and reception. I felt like an undergraduate again, in awe at the scope of the past and an academic's command of it.

Secondly, the quality of our speakers. Not only did we manage to get everyone to the right place at the right time, but our guests all displayed remarkable confidence and grasp of their subject area. Many of the presentations made excellent use of the new Lancaster University Management School lecture theatres facilities to demonstrate their findings or put the audience into the lifeworld of the culture they were studying. I was particularly struck by the surprisingly charming photographs in James Howe’s superlative paper on British tourism in Franco’s Spain, in our panel on Travel and Cultural Exchange.

Thirdly, the walking, talking evidence of the close bond between EPOCH and LHPC over the years. When I planned this piece, I thought I would highlight our conference speakers who had previously written for EPOCH, but when I counted no fewer than eight previous EPOCH contributors among our guests, I realised there was no way I could cover them all without picking favourites. At the time of writing, several speakers from this year’s conference were also working on articles for future issues of EPOCH. The strong reciprocal relationship between LHPC and EPOCH is a fantastic opportunity for those who contribute to both projects and if you are trying to expand your academic CV, you really ought to be working with both.

Four members of the organising committee stood against a stone brick wall and smiling at the camera
(Most of) The Organising Committee – Ollie Garvey, Abby Masangya, Will Garbett and Angelina Andreeva

The conference would not have come together so impressively without the work of many hands. We would like to thank the Lancaster University History Department PhD students who volunteered their time to chair our panels and welcome our guests. We would like to thank our audience, including undergraduates, postgraduates, and members of staff who lent their time and minds to challenging and thought-provoking questions for our guests. We would like to thank each speaker for submitting and delivering a paper and coming up to Lancaster to deliver it. We hope you felt welcome and enjoyed your time here. We would like to thank Greaves Park in Lancaster for hosting our conference meal, and Lancaster University’s History department for its financial contribution towards our catering. We are also very grateful that the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership, part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, funded this project.

Finally, we would like to thank ourselves, the members of the Organising Committee. By which I mean that Will, the author of this gushing diatribe, would like to thank our volunteers from the 2022-2023 MA History cohort, who are all graduating this year and going on to greater things. As far as I know, this is the first year that the conference has asked the MA cohort to help organise it. Ollie Garvey, Louis Guy, and Abby Masangya committed themselves to the project with much enthusiasm, despite the intensity of a full-time MA course and were indispensable every step of the way, contributing to planning discussions, doing much of the production and dissemination of our promotional materials, and volunteering to chair on the day.


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