HistoryAtWork
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Projects & Work

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HistoryAtWork has spent over twenty years working with communities, places and collections. Please explore our projects below to read about this work, and feel free to contact us if you would like to know more.

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Telling stories about working women

At its heart, diversity, whether it is gender, race, culture, sexual preference or disability, creates a culture that values difference and recognizing that everyone matters.

Since the 1960s, historians and their allied institutions have advocated for greater diversity in how history is researched and told. Oral history is just one of the ways we try to achieve this. Through sharing spoken testimony, we can ensure that personal tales of accomplishment, struggle and resilience are not lost.

When we started working with Breekthrough Strategies in 2016, it was clear that we would encounter such stories. In her adventures as a leadership development consultant, Norah Breekveldt has published enlightening and inspiring accounts of women in the modern workplace based entirely on her interviews with them. Her two newest books, Me and My Mentor and Sideways to the Top, reveal some of the challenges facing 21st century women wanting to not only establish careers, but excel in their profession. 

Editing oral testimonies for publication is a delicate (and sometimes nerve-wracking!) experience. You want to identify a common thread between the stories, but also want to highlight the unique nature of each person’s experiences. There is also the imperative to make spoken words (interspersed with ‘uhms’ and long pauses) easy reading, but without losing the idiosyncrasies or context of the conversation.

Whether they were AFWL coaches, scientists, artists or lawyers, their challenges were glaringly similar. Balancing career with family, overcoming imposter syndrome, finding a good mentor and putting yourself in the limelight are just some of the hard realities women across all professions are faced with every day.

We found much common ground with these women, and it was a real privilege to help Norah shape their stories into the publications pictured here. If you’re interested in reading more about Norah’s work or grabbing one of her books, follow this link to her website: http://www.breekthroughstrategies.com.au/