School of History, Classics & Archaeology

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New research group announced

A brand new research group is being launched tomorrow (28 February) – Emotionally Demanding Histories Group.

HCA EDHG logo

It is increasingly recognised that immersion in certain subjects can take an emotional toll on the researcher, and that this can be alleviated to an extent by talking through experiences and sharing coping strategies. Intended as a fortnightly informal discussion group with occasional topical seminars, the newly-formed Emotionally Demanding Histories Group (EDHG) is open to all School of History, Classics and Archaeology researchers whose academic work focuses on sensitive or traumatic topics.

As an example, the EDHG’s convenors – Emily Rose Hay and Claire Aubin – research violence against children in the UK and Holocaust perpetrators, respectively.

‘Most academics experience fatigue or stress with their research at times, but working with material that is distressing or upsetting specifically can be a very draining experience, and one that may affect other parts of your life,’ said Emily Rose. ‘In recent years, academics have become more willing to open up about their emotions in relation to their work, and we welcome this and want to provide a forum for discussion. Ethics boards are rightfully concerned about the emotional health of participants in studies, but there has not been enough focus on the researchers themselves.’

Each lunchtime session will revolve loosely around a theme which may include subjects such as mechanisms for dealing with upsetting work; discussing your work in non-academic settings or emotional detachment to distressing subject matter.

‘We would like this group to be as helpful as possible to the specific needs of those in attendance, and so we welcome suggestions for discussion topics and talks’ said Claire. ‘A collaborative approach to compiling resources, as well as sharing experiences from researchers of all career levels, will hopefully empower historians within the School to feel as though they are more in control of the emotionally-demanding aspects of their work. And because the EDHG is not geographically or temporally-restrictive, it will also bring together researchers of painful histories who might not otherwise be in contact due to the topical nature of their work.’ 

The first session will be held on Thursday 28th February at 1pm in Room G.10, William Robertson Wing. It will serve as a steering meeting to determine the needs of EDHG group participants. Further meeting times and locations TBA, although they will all be occurring on Thursday afternoons.

For more information on the EDHG, or to notify us of your intent to attend/participate in the group, please feel free to contact Emily Rose Hay (E.R.Hay@ed.ac.uk) or Claire Aubin (Claire.Aubin@ed.ac.uk).