HA Awards Evening 2019

Published: 17th July 2019

On a hot afternoon in July key figures of the history world came together to celebrate history in all its diversity. Throughout the year, across the UK individuals with a passion for history work to educate, inform, entertain and excite those around them about the past. The Historical Association awards evening is an opportunity to reward and celebrate those who work to keep the subject of history alive and exciting at all stages of formal education and in lifelong learning.

See our HA Awards Evening photo album on Facebook

HA Honorary Fellowships

Each year the HA recognises some of those that contribute to our continuing understanding of the complexities as well as the basics of history through a series of different awards. It is an opportunity to show a spotlight on those that deliver history to a variety of age groups in schools, colleges, university, HA branches, and through workshops, literature, pedagogical support and lectures. Many of those people go unseen and unobserved, and it is also an opportunity to thank them.

That is why every year the Historical Association awards up to 15 Honorary Fellowships to recognise individuals who have given a high level of support to the aims and work of the HA in many different ways – some of these people are teachers, some are teacher trainers, some are lecturers who have contributed to HA branch lectures and podcasts, others play a part of the HA committees or have devoted hours of their life to ensuring that the regional HA branches continue to provide stimulating programmes of talks and visits. This year the HA's CEO Rebecca Sullivan was rightly exuberant on behalf of the HA in her praise of those awarded Honorary Fellowships, and they were:

  • Helen Crawford
  • Katy Cubitt
  • Katie Hall
  • Lt Col Kenneth G Hicks
  • Richard Kerridge
  • Peter Lee
  • Ruth Lingard
  • David J Paterson
  • Sarah Richardson
  • Helen Snelson
  • Mari Takayanagi
  • Yang-Wen Zheng

Quality Mark, Chartered Teacher and Teacher Fellowships

Also at the awards evening there is a an opportunity to introduce some of the exciting work in schools and directly supporting pupils that the HA delivers, helping teachers to ensure future generations have a rich knowledge of history as well as the ability to study, assess and interpret the past. That is why the presentation by Mel Jones, the education manager of the HA, and Maheema Chanrai on the Quality Mark Awards and the awards for Chartered Teacher was a real opportunity to celebrate history at the ground level.

Now becoming a regular part of the awards evening and of the HA's main work are the Teacher Fellowships. The Teachers Fellowship programmes have previously covered the Age of Revolutions and Agincourt, and are currently exploring Remembrance in one programme and the Transatlantic Slave trade in another. These programmes bring experts and educators together to bring the best of scholarship into schools for the widest possible reach. Being able to announce the achievement of those programmes to the wider HA audience at the evening was a really special moment.

Younq Quills winners 2019

A key part of the evening was the announcement at the start of the event of the Young Quills Awards. The Young Quills recognise new historical fiction for young people and rely on the opinions and reviews of young people themselves to create a shortlist. Announcing the winners was one of last year’s winning authors, Tony Bradman. Tony highlighted the importance of historical fiction for children as a way of introducing young people to history in a way that is not only informing but also challenging – it can open minds as well as enthral. This year's winners are:

  • 610 years category: Janina Ramirez for Riddle of the Runes (Oxford University Press)
  • 11–13 years category: Pippa Goodhart for The Great Sea Dragon Discovery (Catnip Publishers)
  • 14 years and above category: Elizabeth Wein for Firebird (Barrington Stoke)

Read more about the 2019 Young Quills winners and see the reviews

The Medlicott Medal 2019

The final part of the evening and a highlight of the HA year is the presenting of the Medlicott Medal followed by the Medlicott lecture. This year the award went Professor Dame Janet L. Nelson. Better known to all as Jinty, she is a distinguished scholar of early medieval Europe and an influential figure to many historians. Her research has explored ideas of kingship and government, political ideas, religion, ritual, and women and gender. Jinty was a co-founder of the Women’s History Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research and was for many years one of the convenors of the Early Medieval Seminars at the IHR. Jinty has always been very generous with her scholarship and her support and in 2018 the Royal Historical Society launched the Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching and Supervision in History in her name for their 150th Anniversary Year. Jinty was President of the RHS from 2000–2004 and the first woman to be President of the RHS.

She has written a number of significant books and articles on early medieval Europe, as well as appearing on TV and radio. It was no surprise therefore that she choose who recent major piece of research on the life of Charlemagne, King and Emperor as the focus for her talk. What may have come as a surprise was how ably she was able to draw parallels with that period to the current governance of Europe and attitudes to the EU. She appealed to historians everywhere to be prepared to fight for history as a way of exploring the present as well as being recorders and investigators of the past. By the end of her talk no one could have left the room without feeling the weight of history upon their shoulders.

And so another Awards evening ended and we all left jubilant and restless for the future in equal measure!