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Learning from the past - Hindsight perspectives


Learning from the past is an important part of making the world safer today. Our hindsight perspectives project will provide historical context and insights to contemporary safety challenges, in order to deepen understanding of issues and provoke creative solutions.

A key aspect of the hindsight project will be identifying how best to marry up the potential learnings from our own Heritage & Education Centre, and other archive collections, to inform current safety agendas.  

It is anticipated that the hindsight project will focus on issues falling within the broad areas of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s Global Safety Challenges. These include: Safety at sea, Safety of digital systems, Safety for a sustainable future, Safety of food, Skills for safety, Safety of physical infrastructure, Understanding risk & behaviour to improve safety.

What makes this project different is that we can identify where the gaps are, what is being missed or has been forgotten over time, not only in our collections but further afield too.  



We have an opportunity to provide a coordinated and central voice for the applied use of hindsight learnings. Making sure that failures and the causes of them continue to be learned from long after the follow up enquiries and recommendations have died down. The hindsight approach also looks at successes – what has worked in the past and how can we make use of these approaches.



  • A key stage is identifying research questions, tools and methodologies to inform the best use of the archive material, which will in turn help to support current thinking and safety agendas. We are building a steering group across industry, policy and academia to help develop these agendas.
  • To best inform this, really bring it to life and have an impact, the project will go beyond what we think of as the written, published or digital archive, to also utilise subject expert interview material. This can be achieved through the building of a new evidence base of interviews with current experts in the relevant fields.  
  • A key part of our new approach is AI and machine learning, utilising the historic Lloyd’s Register Rules and Regulations, LRTA papers, past ship plans and survey reports, including casualty returns and reports for repair (1.25 million items are currently being digitised by the Heritage & Education Centre). We are creating a vast dataset which we want to delve into and utilise using new technologies.
  • The project aims to embed the perspectives approach across the Foundation’s work, ensuring that we build a new body of evidence by signposting existing data, and by utilising and capturing insights for the future. 

By engaging new audiences with safety issues presented from a broader ‘historic’ perspective we can have an impact on individual perceptions embedding the practice of ‘learning from the past’ as an important part of making the world safer today. 


Find out more

Visit the main Learning From the Past (LFP) programme pages where you can learn about current projects, and how we are building the programme with our international partners.

Contact louise.sanger@lrfoundation.org.uk

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