Difficult Histories & Positive Identities – Cumberland Lodge Report

Cumberland Lodge Report on best-practice approaches to 'difficult histories', with cross-sector recommendations for positive change

Resource type: Report

The Difficult Histories & Positive Identities Cumberland Lodge Report offers a cross-sector insight into highlighted ‘difficult’ aspects of social history. It draws 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.

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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.


Download a digital copy of the full report from the bottom of this webpage.


The recommendations from Difficult Histories & Positive Identities, 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, with investment from teachers, and prompts young people 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.