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HIS3030 : Public History In Practice (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jack Hepworth
  • Lecturer: Professor Graham Smith, Dr Martin Farr, Professor Annie Tindley, Dr Sarah Campbell
  • 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 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The discipline of public history takes many forms: from digital exhibitions to heritage sites, from historical fiction to podcasts, from television documentaries to popular history publications, and beyond. These diverse outputs are unified by a central objective: to enhance public engagement with the past.

This special subject module gives students the opportunity both to examine public history in practice, and to create an original public history project. Engagements with regional, national, and international partners offer students insights into how public history practitioners across a range of sectors communicate the past to wider audiences. Finally, students undertake independent research to create their own public history project on a topic of their choice.

The module’s aims are:
- To enable students to analyse public history in practice across a range of media and forms, and in different national contexts;
- To familiarise students with critical awareness of scholarly literature on public history in practice;
- To enable students to engage directly with public history practitioners and to think creatively about how practitioners might enhance and enrich public engagement with the past;
- To support students to undertake independent research to create and curate an original public history project.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following is a guide only: topics may differ from those listed.

- The many forms of public history
- Communicating history to wider audiences
- Public engagement with the past
- Public history in practice: heritage sites
- Public history in practice: podcasts
- Public history in practice: digital histories
- Public history in practice: galleries and museums
- Public history in practice: history on screen
- Creating a public history project: content and form
- Creating a public history project: research and project design

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 reading501:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching73:0021:00Seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork24:008:00Field trips
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery22:004:00Assignment preparation drop-ins
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study551:0055:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Field trips support students to engage with public history in practice.

Seminars offer independent study and promote improvements in critical thinking, oral communication, problem-solving skills, and adaptability.

Drop-ins offer individual guidance and advice tailored to suit students’ particular needs.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M501,500-word critical analysis of a case-study of public history in practice: case-study of the student's choice
Design/Creative proj2A50A creative public history output on the topic/theme of the student's first written exercise: 10-minute video with accompanying 500-word discussion document
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written exercise is a critical analysis of a case-study of public history in practice, encouraging students to analyse and evaluate a public history case-study of their choice. This exercise develops the students' analytical skills and their application of critical public history theory. The assignment also prepares the students for their second assignment on the same case-study.

The creative project - a video with an accompanying 500-word discussion document - flows directly from the students' first written exercise. Having critiqued existing public history outputs, the students have the opportunity to research, design, and present their own public history project. Projects will be shared with public history practitioners. This creative project gives students a vital opportunity to develop their independent research, project design, and presentation skills, benefiting their core skills and employability, especially in relation to the galleries, libraries, archives, and museums sector.

Reading Lists