Sir Anthony Seldon examined how history has often been marginalised from the policy-making process, and how some of the poorest decisions in Whitehall have been informed by historical illiteracy. He looked at the reasons why recordkeeping, institutional memory and evaluation of historical precedent have all been in decline, and attempted to answer the question – if history matters, how can it have practical value and not just remain an academic subject?

SpeakerSir Anthony Seldon (former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham)


  • Dr Andrew Blick (King’s College London, former director of History & Policy)
  • Dr Juanita Cox (Research Fellow at the School of Advanced Study investigating The Windrush scandal in a trans-national and Commonwealth context)
  • Dr Duncan Needham (Darwin College, Cambridge, Director of the Centre for Financial History)
  • Prof Sally Sheard (Executive Dean, Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool)
  • Prof Simon Szreter (St John’s College, Cambridge, co-founder of History & Policy)

Chair: Professor Philip Murphy (Director of History & Policy, IHR)