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HIS8121 : Public History I: projects in global public history

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Graham Smith
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to introduce students to public history theory and practice through the study of diverse public history projects. International case studies and conversations with guest lecturers from around the world will provide a starting point to explore important theoretical concepts such as publics and counterpublics, audience, mediation, memory and collaborative ways of working. Students will develop an understanding of the connection between theory and practice through group work and the development of a plan for an imagined public history project.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will introduce students to key theory and practice of public history through the consideration of a series of international case studies. They will explore a range of approaches to public history as ‘the use of the past in the present’, including important concepts such as:

Historical consciousness and being human

The public sphere, publicity and intimacy

Audience and reception

Mediation of history and memory through formal and informal institutions

Historical justice and social justice

Activism and history from below

Political uses of the past

Affect, emotions and senses

Shared authority

By studying public history projects in a range of global contexts, students will develop an understanding of the theoretical, ethical and practical considerations that need to be taken into account when planning a public history project. Students will be introduced to the basics of project planning. Skills workshops will cover the basics of writing for a public audience, identification of funding streams, how to write funding applications and project planning.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion541:0054:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading461:0046:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities82:0016:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching72:0014:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study461:0046:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time61:006:00Lectures will be synchronous online, to allow students to ask questions of guest lectureres
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time11:001:00Module Talk. Delivered synchronous online
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Structured online research and reading, plus lectures will introduce students to case studies. Small group teaching will allow students to develop their skills in group work and collaboration. Skills workshops will scaffold students learning of specific skills to successfully complete assigned tasks.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Reflective log1A402000 words
Research proposal1M60Grant Application. 2000 words
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises1M1-page Project Diagram, which will form part of major assessment (Grant Application)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Reflective writing is an important practice for public historians, and develops skills in linking theory to practice. Students will be expected to complete this each week and to submit examples totalling 2000 words.

Project planning is a core part of the public historian’s toolkit. The project plan diagram is set as a formative assessment early in the semester and will build towards the major assignment (Grant Application), another key skill for public historians.

Reading Lists