Written by
Dr James Wallis

Difficult Histories & Positive Identities offers a cross-sector insight into highlighted 'difficult' aspects of social history, drawing on the combined experience of academics from a wide range of disciplines, policymakers, charities, business leaders, community practitioners and activists, and young people, from across the UK.

The report was published and launched on 19 November 2019, at Broadway House, Westminster. Its author is our freelance Research Associate, Dr James Wallis. You can find out more about the report launch here.

Read on screen


In Part II of the report, we present practical recommendations for addressing 'difficult histories' at a local and national level, in ways that allow for the development of positive identities and feelings of belonging.


A digital copy of the full report can be downloaded in pdf format from this webpage.

To request a printed copy, please email us at programmeteam@cumberlandlodge.ac.uk.


The report’s recommendations, which are each expanded on in full in the report, are:

Who are we trying to engage with 'difficult histories'?

  • Create 'safe spaces' for conversational exchange about 'difficult histories'.
  • Prioritise institutional completion of stakeholder analysis frameworks.
  • Make practice-based findings and toolkits available for broader circulation.
  • Co-ordinate social media campaigns that connect online conversations.

Which 'difficult histories'?

  • Improve co-ordination between currently independant 'difficult histories' initiatives across organisations.
  • Create a potential platform that maps our joined-up thinking and common values across case studies.
  • Mine more actively practice from comparable international initiatives that focus on challenging pasts.

How can we address Britain's cultural amnesia?

  • Utilise History as a dynamic discipline to inform thinkers to make intelligent public-facing decisions.
  • Invest in effective, high-profile platforms that permit 'deep dive' exploration into difficult pasts, in the vein of higher education 'decolonisation' initiatives.
  • Encourage inclusive scholarly practices and programmes, alongside participatory learning spaces, in which teachers are invested, and where young people are prompted to ask questions about their personal identities.
  • Support innovative approaches for confronting 'difficult histories' with young people.
  • Invest in 'beyond the classroom' education programmes that embed partnerships between museums and local schools.
  • Engage with uncomfortable truths across generations, through novel methodologies that provide accessible history.
Resource Type
Published Date
20 November, 2019