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This month in History Matters we consider the multifaceted role of the commissioned historian. Referring to recent projects, our speakers will discuss the diverse nature of their work and provide insights into how professional historians approach the historical contract. We will also hear about the rewards and challenges of producing commissioned histories in recent times.
Sarah Rood and Katherine Sheedy are part of Way Back When Consulting Historians, a team of professional historians who have been researching, writing and producing history for over 15 years. They have completed over 30 commissioned histories, as well as numerous exhibitions, oral history projects, heritage projects and digital histories. Way Back When is passionate about uncovering and telling stories and supporting communities to make connections to the past that inform and give meaning to the present.
Robert Crawford is Professor of Advertising in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. He is currently working on histories of Cadbury chocolate in Australia and Griffiths Brothers coffee roasters. His most recent publications are Digital Dawn in Adland: Transforming Australian Agencies (2021) and Decoding Coca-Cola: A Biography of a Global Brand (2021).
Pauline Curby has worked as a freelance professional historian since the early 1990s and has undertaken consultancies in oral history, environmental history and heritage, as well as writing a number of commissioned histories. In 2010 her publication Randwick won the NSW Premier’s Award for Regional and Community History.