20 July 2017
Following the success of ‘Grim up North? Northern identity, history and heritage’, an interdisciplinary symposium at The Leeds Library in September 2016, the organisers – postgraduate researchers from the University of Hull and Leeds Beckett University – present a follow-up event, one that continues to explore the debates began by speakers and attendees last year. Maintaining an interest in the study of the North of England, this conference will expand its remit to assess the significance of identities within the protean boundaries of the North, rather than regional/local Northern identity or the concept of ‘northernness’ itself; though, of course, there is still room for much research and debate in this area.
In recent years, a number of social science scholars and historians have begun to focus on often overlooked aspects of hybridised Northern identities, including that of black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, problematizing conventional ways of thinking of Northern identity. Indeed, such work makes it clear that there are hybrid identities within ‘the North’, though the extent to which minority groups are included in popular conceptions and representations of Northern people is often negligible.
It is hoped that this conference – set to take place in Hull on 15 September 2017 – will act as a space to explore what it means to be Northern or, indeed, to reject that label, within the North. The conference will be truly interdisciplinary, encouraging scholars and researchers from across the humanities, arts and social sciences, from history and heritage studies, to sociology and geography. The organisers would especially like to showcase work from postgraduate and early career researchers, as well as those working outside of the conventional university setting. Given the event’s focus on the North of England, strands of labour history are also bound to play their part. This was certainly the case in the 2016 conference, in the form on papers on Lancashire cotton workers and Middlesbrough’s steel heritage.
The conference will take place amid the stunning surroundings of Blaydes House, home of the University of Hull’s Maritime Historical Research Centre (MHRC), a grade II* listed Georgian town house in Hull city centre. With Hull very much ‘on the map’ in 2017 – the worthy recipient of the 2017 UK City of Culture award – the event itself will take place in a city often side-lined in research and popular narratives of Yorkshire identity and northernness.
The deadline for abstracts is Friday 18 August 2017.