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Debate: Why history?

Date/Time: Tuesday 9 May 2017

At a time of global political uncertainty, there are serious and hotly contested debates over the role of the arts and humanities in civil society. Has the discipline of history become the handmaiden of contemporary politics? Can history really make a difference to how government policies are made, considering the ‘lessons of the past’? Should valuable public resources be going into preserving our heritage in an era of austerity? A distinguished panel debated these questions. This event was presented in collaboration with the British Academy and Newcastle University Institute for Social Renewal theme ‘Past in the Present’.

The event was chaired by Professor Helen Berry, Dean of Postgraduate Studies and Professor of British History, Newcastle University, and the panel included: 

  • Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch (Professor of the History of the Church, University of Oxford & Vice President Public Engagement, British Academy
  • Dr Amanda Foreman (historian, columnist and presenter)
  • Dr Sam Willis (historian, archaeologist and broadcaster) 
  • Dr Martin Farr (Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary British History, Newcastle University)