Today marks the launch of the Irish Association of Professional Historians (IAPH). As they state on their website the organisation ‘seeks to raise the profile of our members, engaging with individuals and organisations both inside and outside the academy.’ All admirable goals. Any engagement by professional historians with the wider public should certainly be encouraged and because of this I have decided to join the organisation.
I also hope that the IAPH will be able to bring to the attention of the public and the media the tremendous diversity and quality of professional Irish historians out there. All too often the same historians pop up again and again, tending to lead to a stagnation of historical debate and the formation of cliques, neither of which helps historical outreach with the wider public nor the healthy growth of academic history. It can further lead to early career historians becoming isolated, becoming ‘locked out’ of academic positions, as Professor Ferriter aptly described it at the launch of the book Locked Out: A Century of Irish Working-Class Life (2013).
It will be interesting to see how the IAPH will shake up history in Ireland. Some cages could do with a little rattle.