Trevor Phillips

Senior Fellow Read Full Bio

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History Matters

Oct 25, 2021

Policy Exchange’s History Matters project was established in June 2020 to address widespread national concern about the growing trend to alter public history and heritage without due process. Through the regularly updated History Matters compendium, we have been documenting attempts at historical re-interpretation and re-invention, gathering evidence about the processes by which changes to the national teaching and display of history have been made. What this has revealed is that in many cases the alteration of public history is taking place—whether through the removal of statues, the renaming of streets, the re-evaluation of school curricula or the removal of museum exhibits—without a rigorous and non-partisan approach having been taken.Our engagement with museum donors and curators, school governors, councillors and a wide range of other stakeholders has shown that there is currently no universally- applicable guidance in place for institutions on how they should respond to calls for change. There is a pressing need for an approach to change that is rational, non-partisan and capable of application in a wide variety of circumstances. We have therefore decided, informed by the insight and expertise of senior individuals representing a broad spectrum of fields and institutions, to identify and put forward a set of key overarching principles applicable to any institution and to any context by which proposals to re- interpret our history should be assessed. We have produced this as our contribution to the deliberations of the DCMS advisory board.

Trevor Phillips

Senior Fellow Read Full Bio

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