Our projects

Our projects

Our key research topics include:

  • The relationship between the theory and practice of applied history
  • History in museums and cultural heritage
  • Community, local and regional history
  • History and games and history in the media – television, radio, print and social media.

Establishment of the Centre for Research on Family History

The Centre will continue a partnership on Research on Family History with the Australian Dictionary of Biography at ANU and Ancestry.com which began at a symposium held at MQ in Sept 2014. Another national symposium is planned in late 2017 and Evans and Jerome de Groot are organising a symposium on Global Family History proposed to take place in Europe in late 2017 with the support of Ancestry.com.

The cluster will facilitate a mentoring scheme that will foster relationships between family historians, students and academic historians through the State Library of NSW. This is a burgeoning area of academic research and public history practice. Skills workshops will be targeted at students and other practitioners and organised in collaboration with the History Council of NSW and the Professional Historians Association NSW & ACT.

This cluster will explore the varied ways in which technological change has made an impact on the production, consumption and growth of historical knowledge and its impact on individual identity. It will help to explain how historical change has transformed our modes of communication and its impact on society. Evans will continue her research on the impact of social media on the growth of family history. Other Centre researchers will engage with family history methodologies and research as they undertake their own projects.

Researchers involved include: Tanya Evans, Paula Hamilton, Marian Lorrison, Rachel McMullan, Jennifer McLaren, Laura King, Ashley Barnwell and Stephen Foster.

Dementia Engagement Program

The Art and Object Engagement program, run by the Australian History Museum and University Art Gallery, in partnership with the Centre for Applied History, has received $41,600 funding from the NSW Government's Liveable Communities Grant scheme.

The funding will go towards expanding the existing program to include at-home care participants as well as a support and training program for carers. It will also allow the sessions to be filmed and will support the production of resources including a website and printed guides. The AOE program is unique in its collaboration of contemporary art and social history objects as engagement tools for this audience, and this funding will help expand our community impact and research potential.


There are more than 350,000 Australians living with dementia today and numbers are set to increase dramatically. We aim to meet the needs of diverse aged care clients across NSW, to research the potential uses and benefits of history in the care of the elderly and how aged-care clients and their carers might share in the co-creation of historical and scientific knowledge.

Anecdotal evidence shows that engaging with art and history positively impacts the welfare and quality of life of people with dementia, and their carers. We’ll expand the innovative and interdisciplinary Dementia Engagement Program currently run by the Australian History Museum and Macquarie University Art Gallery. This will contribute to the University’s strategic priority of health and resilience and help to deliver research with world changing impact.

The Project will:

  • Contribute to the care of the elderly and their carers providing therapy through art, history and memory-making.
  • Create historical content using the oral contributions of participants who share their life-stories, using broadcast quality equipment, edited and stored by the Museum. This will create knowledge that can be used by diverse stakeholders. Interviews will be used for research purposes and an exhibition. The process should allow patients and others to understand the value of their testimonies and significance of their life-stories.
  • Produce cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research on the use of the arts in the medical care of the aged that can be used by scholars in history, medicine and psychology and aged care practitioners.
  • Extend internships for PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) and MRes students in public history, museums studies, psychology, cognitive science and sociology.

Researchers involved include: Tanya Evans, Jane Thogerson and Nicole Cama.

Dictionary of New South Wales

Conceived in 2004 and launched in 2009, the Dictionary of Sydney grew out of a $900,000 Australian Research Council grant developed by the University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, State Library of NSW and State Archives and Records NSW. The City of Sydney was a critical industry partner. Over time, the Dictionary has also developed partnerships with many cultural institutions and other organisations to continually grow the project. It’s currently housed by the State Library of NSW.

This world-class website and cultural asset is a window into the history of Sydney. But the Centre for Applied History is developing a proposal to create an encyclopaedia of New South Wales based on the Dictionary model. This would involve harnessing library networks across the state and applying for competitive and non-competitive funding. The encyclopaedia would have numerous applications related to areas such as cultural tourism, heritage conservation and Australian history in schools while making accessible a huge quantity of historical and other data relating to the state's history and heritage.

This strand will result in a number of innovative and international publications on local, community and regional history in a variety of print and digital formats. Students are currently undertaking PACE (Professional and Community Engagement)/MRes projects in community and regional history and many are developing research and transferable skills with community and cultural organizations. Proposed plans for the Dictionary of NSW will provide long-term meaningful projects for PACE, MRes and HDR students engaging with community and regional history in traditional and non-traditional formats and working with a range of scholars – providing significant opportunities for networking, employability and research publications.


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