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The National CV from 'the people's historians'

We promised a review of Made in Britain, but the National CV rolled out their PR today, and we thought you would want to read about it.

A group of citizen historians have come together to produce the first-ever National CV of Britain.

Dismayed at what they see as a lack of commitment to the teaching of British History in state schools and a lacklustre syllabus, they are campaigning for the nation’s history to be taught with verve in its entire sweep – from megalithic Stonehenge to internet modernity and from miners to monarchs.

The National CV is a 25-page document that distils the history of Britain in an entirely new and upbeat way. Britain’s narrative is presented in the form of a personal CV - Name: Britain Age: 8,000 years an island, and so on.

Older material is at the bottom of the document (e.g. Britain as Tin Island in the Bronze Age), while newer material is at the top (e.g. the invention of the World Wide Web).

Each new national achievement will be inserted as a headline, to what is a living, forward-looking document.

The National CV Group claim that Britain has made the most disproportionate contribution to civilisation of anywhere on Earth, whilst having under 1% of the world’s people at any one time.

Britain launched the modern world (e.g. science, industry, the Age of Reason) and has made many other contributions (e.g. jet engine, antibiotics, structure of DNA, the English language). In the group’s terminology the British use the CV to ‘apply for the future’.

The team has worked with a dozen schools to turn the CV into a one-hour presentation, which hurtles through the island story at a rate of more than a century a minute. Young audiences are energised to become influential islanders in their turn by achieving mastery in their field of interest, through working hard and by displaying character, discipline and flair.

The group now intend to take the CV global in time for the Jubiliee celebrations and Olympics, to show the people of Britain and the world why Britain can be proud of its heritage and excited by its future.

The group are looking for sponsorship to roll The National CV out to schools and to the nation at large.

John Hart, who lives in Hampshire and has written on British history, brought the team together, and gives a bracing call to arms: “In this Jubilee & Olympics year the international spotlight will be upon us and we will need the utmost in self-belief. Self-deprecation and false modesty should be sent down a figurative flush toilet – the real thing was invented here, in the reign of Elizabeth I - in favour of inspiration and a more buoyant sense of belonging, which is our modern take on patriotism.”

Pioneering achievements

Dr Hart adds: “Britain has an extraordinary record of pioneering accomplishment across the sciences, technology, literature, the arts and any number of other fields of endeavour. How many people know that Alcuin of York came up with the rules for writing sentences and paragraphs that are still used today worldwide? That was in AD 789.

We were the key nation in the development of the modern world, bar none: one thinks of the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution, the second agricultural revolution, the beginning here of the Age of Reason, as well as constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. We discovered all of the three main subatomic particles (i.e. proton, neutron, electron) and a quarter of the elements of the periodic table – including the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen, and life-giving oxygen - while also splitting the first atom, naming the Big Bang, and postulating antimatter, which has been found, and the Higgs bosun, which may or may not have been found. We decoded 31% of the human genome. We produced the first meteorological classifications of the clouds and wind. One thinks of Newton, Darwin, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Dickens, and the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Robin Hood and 007, pausing along the way to contemplate our invention of the elastic band, the fire extinguisher and the lifeboat.”

Potential sponsors and collaborators are invited to approach The National CV Group direct.

The National CV is a history of Britain told as if Britain were a person. ‘CV’ stands for Curriculum Vitae, Latin, as you know, and means life. A CV is someone’s personal history told in brief, with a future orientation.

Items on The National CV are validated in an online database called The National CVpedia of Britain. The National CV is available in sample form on the website. A full upload awaits project sponsorship.

About The National CV Group

The National CV Group first met in January 2009. A group of five concerned citizens, they were shocked by the amnesia into which Britain had sunk in regard to what the group saw as their nation’s wildly disproportionate positive contribution to civilisation. Particularly exasperating, the group felt, was the feebleness of history teaching in schools.

The five-person core group now have an additional network of two dozen consulting experts in a wide variety of fields, to achieve the utmost in rigour. The standard to which the group operates is ‘true and defensible’.

The National CV Group acts in the spirit of Victorian voluntarists, to combat what they call ‘thought poverty’. Between them, the five originators have seven academic degrees, have published ten books and many articles, have run and are running businesses, have put on exhibitions and conferences, have engaged in projects in many fields, and have lectured widely.

The core team see themselves as ‘citizen historians’ or the ‘people’s historians’ because they can tell the island story straightforwardly and robustly, in upbeat overview, uninhibited by career or other braking considerations. Each has a professional arena, outside their shared preoccupation with remotivating Britain at a difficult time in her history.

Rupert Willoughby is one of those people's historians who has contributed so much to the great opus of the CV. He is also the sole author of Tadley's CV, a pioneering work in this context.

School prototypes

The National CV has been prototyped with success as the basis of a schools presentation in twelve schools, to hundreds of children in ages ranging from 9-14.

Sponsorship is sought

Sponsorship is sought for The National CV Schools History Project, for a national roll-out to state schools.

Also sought is a Media Partner to publish and publicise the The National CV Document.

Discussions are in progress with potential exhibition partners, as The National CV could be the cost-effective basis for the long-mooted Museum of British History. This is The National CV Exhibition Project.

The National CV, a Project Brief and a Schools’ Feedback document are available for review by potential partners.

Panache PR: email Sue Wilkins or ring 01306 877772
John Hart
Tel: 0118 9812708
Mobile: 07866 364562
Dr John Hart
The National CV Group

We wish them well. We heard John Hart deliver his brilliant CV presentation to several hundred students, who became wildly enthused. It was the most exciting school history we have ever attended, a tribute to John and his subject.

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