These youtubers who bring history to life

Should we save the Saint-Thomas de Crépy-en-Valois church whose facade collapsed in June 2019? Yes, assure Nicolas Bilot, Samuel Zbynovsky and Mathilde Gaillard on the YouTube channel called Archivolt (1,650 subscribers), videos and demonstration in support, because this building in danger embodies a very old European diversity.

“Saint-Thomas de Crépy-en-Valois is the story of a Fleming of German origin who decides to build a church dedicated to an English saint at the home of his Franco-English wife to annoy the King of France, whose is a competitor, underline the youtubeurs who animate Archivolt. Their exciting program “Ruine, vestige ou witness”, is selected from among six finalists for the History YouTuber awards at the Versailles fair “Histoire de lire”.

These prices of history youtubers will be awarded at the UGC Cyrano cinema, in Versailles, on Friday November 18, by the president of the jury, Émilie Aubry, editor-in-chief of the program “Le sous des cartes” on Arte.

Organized for five years, with four awards (jury prize, public prize, young hopeful and high school students), they fascinate beyond French borders, with this year the presence in competition of the Canadian Laurent Turcot. The host of “History will tell us” (404,000 subscribers), professor of history at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières, nourishes his educational programs with well-editorial content with erudition and humor.

History YouTubers meet a very large audience, greater than that of traditional readers of historical essays. Thus, among the four other finalists for the prizes awarded at Versailles, we still find Mamytwink, developed by Julien Aubrée (2.1 million subscribers) which deals with subjects related to war and the Shoah, and presents a shock program, “The Story of the Horrible ‘Nazi Witch’ of the Buchenwald Camp”.

The panorama is completed by D’histoires en Histoire (DHEH, 18,000 subscribers), which engages in a magnificent investigation into the representation of the “broken faces” after the First World War; L’Operatorium – Secrets d’ateliers (2,780 subscribers), dedicated to the history of art; and the playful Selfie’storique (36,000 subscribers) presenting the six wives of the King of England Henry VIII as so many influencers.

Benjamin Brillaud, precursor with Nota Bene

Nota Bene, the most reputable and oldest history channel on YouTube, which today has 2.16 million subscribers, led the way. Its creator, Benjamin Brillaud, had been invited to the 2016 edition of the Versailles show, on the initiative of the publisher Robert Laffont with whom the young videographer had just signed a book.

“We realized that his audience, aged under 35, we don’t usually meet! He was our fifth best seller of books on the show. It was unheard of. It was obvious that history had found a large place on YouTube,” explains Vianney Mallein, curator of “Histoire de lire”.

From YouTube to historical comics

Created in 2017, the history youtuber awards are now attracting an influx of applications: 42 files this year! “Some historians find their work disrespectful or too offbeat, but it’s a smart way to bring history to a new, younger audience. Make humor, put yourself on stage: this approach to popularization respects the codes of YouTube while maintaining criteria of historical seriousness”, assures Vianney Mallein.

The curator of the “Histoire de lire” fair announces, in the same logic of conquering new audiences for History, the launch this year of a prize for historical comics which will reflect the editorial vitality in this field. of the living (2024 Editions), Klaus Barbie (Urban Comics), Drawn history of the Jews of Algeria (The Discovery) and #I accuse… ! (Delcourt/Mirages) are the four finalists to be decided by a jury chaired by author and actor Alexis Michalik.


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