The Young Historians Project (YHP) is a UK–based collective which supports the development of young people of African and Caribbean heritage as historians. YHP is made up of volunteers, with support from project coordinators and our consultant historian, Professor Hakim Adi. With a focus on Black British history, YHP creates multi-dimensional public history projects based on original research. This involves archival research, oral history interviews, documentary film-making, exhibition curation, schools outreach, and more. Our work is centred on inclusive engagement and using various mediums to be accessible to the general public as well as historians.
YHP was founded by Hakim Adi and the late Cheryl Phillips in 2015, following a History Matters conference. The conference, held at the Institute of Historical Research, aimed to address the low numbers of Black history students, teachers, and academics in Britain. It was held in collaboration with the Black Cultural Archives, the Royal Historical Society, and the Historical Association. Attendees shared ideas on ways to encourage young people of diverse backgrounds to engage with history and research. This led to the formation of YHP, with the founding members being two History students at the conference. Details on YHP's beginnings can be found in our blog.
A 2023 YouGov survey found that more than half of UK adults cannot name a single Black British historical figure
A 2018 RHS report found that in the UK, less than 1% of university lecturers and 2.4% of History undergraduates were from a Black background
A report by the Higher Education Statistics Agency found that History was the third most unpopular subject among Black undergraduates in 2015
In 2020, the Guardian reported that of the 59 GCSE history modules available from Edexcel, AQA and OCR, only 5 mention Black people in Britain
In 2016, it was estimated that there were less than 10 Black PhD students studying History in the country
In 2014, only three Black students were admitted to train as History teachers according to the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR)
A Cambridge sociological study found that 95% of Black British survey respondents believed the national curriculum fails to teach Black history and less than half were proud to be British