Inclusive histories

Think tank: British Future

Author(s): Jake Puddle; Sunder Katwala

September 6, 2023

This report from UK think tank British Future looks at narrating our shared past in polarised times.

Inclusive Histories: Narrating our shared past in polarised times, is a new report from British Future offering insights for practitioners working in museums, galleries and other cultural institutions about conducting work around inclusive histories in ways that confidently navigate ‘culture war’ polarisation about our past. The report looks at how organisations have responded to these debates, to reach ethnic or social minority audiences that the sector has historically failed to engage, while also bridging audiences from across the broad spectrum of public opinion, including groups with frustrations or questions about how interpretations of our history are evolving. It also looks ahead to consider different directions that debates about our history might take in the future. The research draws on a series of interviews, roundtable discussions and case studies led by British Future to collect experiences of organisations on the frontline of these often-heated debates. It argues that proactive strategies are needed to defuse unconstructive polarisation and broaden public awareness about these areas of our past. The report suggests a series of ‘conditions for confidence’ to engage in and navigate the national conversation.