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A key component of the MA Public History at the University of York is a placement module, undertaken with a wide range of partners but focused on local partnerships in and around the city of York. This placement challenges students to not only apply practical skills to engage wide audiences, but to reflect critically on their contribution to local public history. Over the years, students have worked closely with a range of York-based organisations from museums to community groups on a number of different public history projects, contributing significantly to the changing heritage landscape of the city.  

In this seminar, a mix of current and former students will critically reflect on these placement experiences. They will consider different types of public history work undertaken, as well as some of the complexities involved. In particular, discussion will reflect on both the challenges and potential of doing public history in a city crowded with history and ‘heritage’. This may include reflection on community or marginalised histories; tensions between tourism and local residents; and challenging dominant perceptions about York’s history. While each placement experience is unique, drawing them into conversation with one another will facilitate wider interrogation of how the past is – and should be – interpreted and presented in the city of York. 

The seminar will also facilitate reflection on the benefits of placements within MA programmes and practical consideration of how to effectively host a placement student within a public history context.  

Discussion will be guided by a member of staff affiliated with the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past. 

This event is co-hosted by the IHR’s Centre for the History of People, Place and Community and the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP). IPUP works with museums, archives, heritage sites, the media, artists and community organisations to explore the many ways that the past is presented in society. It asks questions about how the histories that are told impact identities, shape the present, and inform the future. Through collaborations and partnerships, IPUP draws together researchers, students, practitioners and communities to make and research diverse and inclusive public histories. It also runs an MA in Public History in collaboration with the University of York’s Department of History.  

Speakers include:

  • Zoe Forde
  • Abby Corso
  • Charlie Cayzer 
  • Daniel Smith


All welcome- this seminar is free to attend, but advance registration is required.