History Moves: Mobilizing Public Histories in Post-Digital Space

Matthew Wizinsky, Jennifer Brier


Similar to most cultural forms today, history is collected, edited, manipulated, stored, displayed, distributed, and otherwise produced through a complex network of post-digital techniques and media. It is often produced only by historians. History Moves is a public history project that aims to produce cogent and collective historical experiences within the cultural frame of mutable and highly distributed media forms. It does this by bringing history, design, and historical subjects into conversation to shape public space. The project uses a participatory process that mobilizes people to interpret history by mobilizing digital and analogue media. History Moves transforms historical subjects into history-makers while simultaneously and repeatedly transfiguring media into forms that are engaging and accessible to widely distributed audiences. This article recounts a case study where History Moves worked with a group of women living with HIV/AIDS to present a history of the epidemic and a women’s history of Chicago. We suggest that the example provides a model for how to build participatory digital history projects and collaborative history displays.


Public history; Participatory design; Digital humanities; Exhibitions

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