Hidden Histories: Planning

You may already have a clear plan, but it’s worth considering everything on this page anyway; the clearer your plan at the start, the easier and more rewarding your project will be. You can use our template below to start noting down all your ideas.

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Choose a topic

It’s important to choose a subject that interests and motivates you to produce a Hidden History – lots of people may ask you about it in the future too! You (or your group) may already know of a specific story from your community that you’re looking to bring alive, or you may still be looking for ideas. There are many places you can begin to look for inspiration:

  • Our topics
  • News
  • Trending on social media such as Twitter
  • Interests you (or your group) have

It may be helpful to begin your planning with the 5 W’s:

  • Who – Whose story are you going to tell?
  • What – What happened?
  • Where – Where did it take place?
  • When – When did it happen?
  • Why – Why did it happen? Why was it important? Why hasn’t this story been told before?

If you don’t know the answer to any of these, that’s where the next step of research comes in!

Choose a format

You can use this ‘Hidden Histories’ guidance for self-led projects as an individual, volunteer or student; or for team projects with schools or community groups. It’s important to be clear from the outset what you are to produce. If you do not already have a specific plan – such as a blog article, short film or display – you might like to look through our examples page for ideas and inspiration!

Choose a perspective

History is not just a collection of facts; as with events around us every day, there are many different points of view on what has happened in the past, which often hold relevant lessons for today. It’s important to remember that many stories, particularly those from underrepresented communities, may still be relevant to ongoing struggles. Using your platform can be valuable support for these causes, but you should aim to amplify the voices of those impacted rather than speaking over them. Don’t let this discourage you from telling these stories, but consider using resources such as the Guide to Allyship to ensure that you are being as respectful as possible.

Many histories have been written about the ‘great and the good’, but really inspiring hidden histories are often about ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. Whose story are you going to tell? Will you focus on an individual, a small group or a big movement of people? How might their perspective affect the way you produce your hidden history? How will you reflect the perspectives of others (e.g. who might have agreed or disagreed with them)?

Come up with a plan

You should now know a) what you want to produce, b) your topic of interest and c) whose perspective you’re going to explore. You may already have decided on somebody specific to write about, or you may decide as you start to research. But first, it’s important to plan out your Hidden History project so that it doesn’t become too unmanageable!

  • What tasks you need to do
  • How you will do them
  • Who will do what
  • Your timetable
  • Any other considerations (e.g. Permissions, Equipment / Learning to use it?)

You might find it useful to download our Hidden Histories Project Planning Template here.

If you have a plan… you’re now ready to Research! >>