In a recent editorial in History of Education Researcher (May 2016), Rob Freathy and I examined the life of Lord Asa Briggs, focusing on his lesser known role as a code-breaker at Bletchley Park, and as a contributor to first ever edition of The History of Education. For me, this sparked an interest, and I have since managed to visit Bletchley, and have read more about Brigg’s time there in his autobiographical work Secret Days: Code Breaking at Bletchley Park (London: Frontline Books, 2011). There is something about people’s own stories and history that is gripping…

In 2017 we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the History of Education Society. To mark this occasion, we are planning a ‘Special Edition’ of the History of Education Researcher journal for publication in May 2017. We plan to publish a collection featuring a number of short, autobiographical, and personal reflections on the past, present and future of the Society and on the research field of history of education more generally. We envisage a range of contributions, with authors writing brief responses to a series of questions; a sort of written interview. These contributions can be written informally, but we hope they willstimulate curiosity and interest, and provoke thought and dialogue.

We’d like to know what first ignited an interest in the history of education; which books on history and/or the history of education specifically have been the most influential in your career; what was your greatest breakthrough moment in research; what was the biggest challenge you faced, and how did you overcome it; what experiences have you of teaching the history of education and what approaches consistently worked well. We’d also like to think about the kind of sources you have worked with, trying to understand what are the joys and sorrows associated with them. Finally, we might ask what advice you would give a budding historian of education starting out in their career today.

We hope to create a resource that not only contributes to the 50th anniversary celebrations, but also provides future historians of the Society and the academic field with a rich and revealing primary source. We also believe that undergraduate, postgraduate and early-career researchers might find it interesting to learn more about others within the community of historians of education, particularly how they explain their methodological orientations; describe their research processes and working assumptions; outline their approaches to teaching and learning; and perceive the nature and purpose of the learned society. In terms of the Society, we hope that appreciative appraisals, focusing on its benefits and successes, will implicitly and collectively articulate a desired future. Apart from any innate interest we might have in reading responses from colleagues in our field, the answers might also provide food for thought and set off a train of ideas that influence how we each individually study or teach the history of education.

If you would like to contribute to the planned Special Issue, please get in touch, with me in the first instance (J.Doney@exeter.ac.uk), and I will send further details. We hope to create a resource that not only contributes to the 50th anniversary celebrations, but also provides future historians of the Society with a rich and revealing primary source.