Di Drummond: ‘Research Work’/’Research Works!’: Cultural Well Being and the historical investigation of ‘Work’

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For the past thirty years my research work has been researching work, specifically, the history of railway employment. One of the challenges of my research has been engaging railway workers in their own history. Starting at ‘home’ in the railway town of Crewe1, part of my current research now focuses on railway worker communities in Britain, the British abroad, and settler and colonised peoples across the Empire.

The proposed presentation will consider two questions: ‘How can my work and the work of those engaged, or once engaged, in various aspects of international railways, be brought together in a post-colonial context?’ and, ‘How might reminiscing about their ‘working past’ improve the cultural well being of redundant, retired and displaced railway workers?’ Designing my own research round these questions will, hopefully, turn my ‘research work’ into ‘research [that] works’, making it significant to this railway worker audience. In the proposed presentation I will also consider how I plan to do this, asking wider, more generic questions, ‘Where will my research take me?’2, and where might it take others, in light of the question, ‘Where has my research taken me in the past?’


1. Historical Advisor to Crewe Heritage Exhibition, 1986-7, D K Drummond, Crewe: Railway Town Company and People, 1840-1914, Scolar Press, Aldershot, 1995 and Tracing Your Railway Ancestors, Pen and Sword, Barnsley, 2010, and ‘Living in a Railway Town’, Railways Change Lives Conferences, The National Archives, 7th September 2013 and The National Railway Museum, 14th September, 2013, see http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/conferences/speakers.htm

2. The topic of the 2011 Crest Symposium.

Download the poster: Di Drummond CREST Symposium Poster 2013