History seminars at the IHR

Public History Seminar

Convenors: Alix Green (University of Hertfordshire), Anna Maerker (King’s College, London), John Tosh (Roehampton University), Judy Faraday (John Lewis Partnership), Tim Boon (Science Museum), Scott Anthony (University of Cambridge) 

Venue: As announced in the programme below

Time: Wednesday, 17:30

Some podcasts from this Seminar are available online

Summer Term 2014
DateSeminar details
9 April Challenging Audiences; lessons from blogging at the intersection of history and science

Vanessa Heggie (U Birmingham) & Rebekah Higgitt (U Kent)

The H-Word, a blog about the history of science, technology & medicine, launched on the Guardian's science blog network on the 2nd August 2012.  Both co-authors had previous outreach experience, through social media, museum work and various forms of academic engagement, but the new blog required new skill sets.  Writing for a non-specialist audience on a blog hosted by a well-known newspaper posed challenges that were not only academic, intellectual, pedagogical and professional, but also personal and philosophical.  In this informal paper we discuss the major lessons we have learnt from working on the H-Word, and share some of the insights revealed by challenging audiences.

Venue:  Athlone Room, 102, Senate House, first floor


7 May Changing interpretations of Jewish history and art in Anglo-Jewish museums

Dr Kathrin Pieren (Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton)

Museums set up by minority groups tend to target at least two broadly distinct segments of the population: the minority population itself, and a general audience.  This can lead to interpretive dilemmas and, at times, even to conflicting institutional purposes.  It also means that their interpretations are particularly sensitive barometers to study minority-majority relations.  Studying changes in interpretation therefore gives us an insight into social change all while sharpening our eyes with regards to the complex web of other factors that influence interpretation in these and other museums.  In my talk I will attempt to identify some of the main influences on the interpretation of Jewish history and art over a period of 100 years between social and cultural factors and transformations in the heritage sector and in historiography.

Venue:  Athlone Room, 102, Senate House, first floor


21 May (Plus a live screening from Heritage Centre)

John Lewis anniversary

Venue:  Bedford Room, G37, Senate House, ground floor


4 June Sutton Hoo at the British Museum: New directions for the new display

Sue Brunning (British Museum)

In March the British Museum’s permanent gallery of early medieval Europe (Room 41) re-opened after its first full refurbishment in 30 years. The new Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock Gallery of Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300–1100 differs significantly from its predecessor, not least in the relocation of the Sutton Hoo ship burial. This stunning assemblage, possibly the grave goods of an Anglo-Saxon king, is one of the icons of the British Museum’s collections. Previously displayed in one bay of Room 41, Sutton Hoo now forms its dramatic centrepiece both physically and intellectually. This talk outlines the thinking behind the new Sutton Hoo display, and how the old display and visitor research informed several new curatorial and interpretive directions.

Venue:  Gordon Room, G34, Senate House, ground floor