Welcome to History on the Dole!
Here you’ll find a range of different articles, some short, some long, that explore history from the margins both in Wales, in Britain, and further afield. Click on a category that takes your fancy, try one the recent posts, or see here to scroll back through everything that’s been published so far (the traditional method).
Ever since I was in secondary school, I’ve been encouraged to think of history in an otherwise kind of way, to question the status quo, and to think carefully about everyone involved. The fruits of my research can be found here on History on the Dole.
But first a little about me: I gained my PhD from Swansea University in 2011. It explored social democracy in South Wales and the ways in which mundane things like recreation grounds and swimming baths were bound up with ideas of social justice, equality, and the labour movement. It was supervised patiently by Martin Johnes and given the thumbs up by Tony Collins, Dai Smith, and Chris Williams. I then turned some of it into my first book Fields of Play: The Sporting Heritage of Wales, which was published by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales back in 2012.
More recently, I’ve turned my attention to looking at labour history – and the history of social democracy – from other kinds of margins, be they the sports teams that political activists formed in the 1920s and 1930s, the demands for equality for ethnic minorities and LGBT people, or the provision of early years education in economically blighted areas. Together I think these things, and things I’ve yet to start working on, help us understand why it is that social democracy is perhaps the best kind of political system we’re going to get without completely overhauling the way we do things.
I currently teach these things and more with the Department for Adult and Continuing Education at Swansea University. There are few jobs in education that are as rewarding as being a tutor in lifelong learning!
I’ve always been taught that history is a living subject, even though it deals with the past and I hope those of you who visit History on the Dole, be it a once off or a regular haunt, find something that is interesting and different. That helps us all look at the past with the view that it wasn’t always this way.
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