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HIS8122 : Public History II: history and audience

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

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

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module aims to extend students’ understanding of the important role of the public or publics in public history. Having been introduced to public history projects in a range of international contexts in Public History 1, this module returns to a more local focus while continuing to consider the importance of context(s) and audiences. Students will engage with questions of how history and memory are mediated and constrained through sites, institutions and policy contexts.

Outline Of Syllabus

The majority of the course will be delivered through a week-long intensive.

Examples of incursions/excursions:

History on TV (eg visiting expert from BBC)

Independent film-making and history (eg. King of South Shields)

Common Room of the Great North (physical industrial site re-imagined for digital age)

National Trust (national heritage that is going through the process of critically engaging with legacies of slavery and colonialism)

LGBT History Project NE (community-led history informing educators)

Northern Cultural Projects/Oral History Collective (Mutual Aid research collaboration, policy focus)

Hadrian’s Wall Community Research (HCA public archaeology project, citizen science, conservation policy)

Engaging with history as it happens (eg #BlackLivesMatter)

Following a similar pattern to Public History 1, the expert engagement will be complemented by a workshop programme in which students develop skills in writing and presenting for specific public audiences, including creative non-fiction, documentary TV, and policy briefs.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Module Talk.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion571:0057:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading441:0044:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities62:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching62:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyProject work62:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork43:0012:00This will be planned as present-in-person.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study441:0044:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

An introductory Module Talk and seminar (small group teaching) will introduce students to the aims of the module and prepare them for the Intensive.
The majority on contact time will take place during a 5-day intensive mid-semester. This will include 4 fieldwork sessions (incursions and excursions) which will introduce students to key concepts in a practical environment. A skills workshop with small group teaching and project work will allow students to develop their skills in group work and collaboration as they develop their presentation projects. Skills workshops (before, during, and after the intensive) 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
Design/Creative proj2A50Group Audio-Visual (digital) Presentation. 10 mins. Initial feedback given during intensive.
Written exercise2M50Briefing Paper (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
Written exercise2MBlog Post (900 words) in response to Fieldwork.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Each assignment is intended to encourage students to think differently about audience, and the way they approach communication with a public or publics. Skills workshops will teach them the mechanics of each specific form of communication they are assessed in.

Blog writing extends their skills in digital communication, and encourages reflection on the fieldwork experience.

Building on the skills developed in Semester 1, students will work in groups over the week to come up with a public history project ‘pitch’, which will be presented on the final day of the intensive. They will receive feedback from industry professionals, and will have the opportunity to revise and submit a final digital presentation at the end of the semester.

Students will also consider the interaction between history and politics and will explore ways that findings or learnings from public history projects can be presented as a ‘briefing’ document to inform policy.

Reading Lists