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October 31, 2011

Closure of the History Subject Centre

It is of deepest regret that the History Subject Centre closes today, 31st October 2011.

Our whole team would like to thank the HE History community for their support.

We fear that the new look HEA may not fully support our discipline, but hope that all we have achieved will be sustained in the future.

Good Luck!

And Best wishes

The History Subject Centre Team

June 06, 2011

Chinese History Teaching Network

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The Chinese History Teaching Network new resource website is now live.  

The network was established in September 2009 following a workshop on the teaching of Chinese history, held with History Subject Centre funding, led by Jeremy Taylor at the University of Sheffield. The network aims to bring together people who teach Chinese history at institutions of higher learning in the UK to share best practice, access to new resources and materials, and general experiences in the field. 

It understands Chinese history in the broadest possible sense, and includes people who work on all periods and from all angles (including the history of China itself, as well of Chinese societies outside China and the Chinese Diaspora).

The network plans to hold a second, larger workshop in 2012. It also hopes to develop contacts with similar networks and institutions abroad.

May 22, 2011

After the History Subject Centre

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The History Subject Centre will officially close on 31st October, although effectively most activities will cease by the end of July. Sarah Richardson has written a briefing report, After the History Subject Centre, which outlines the support that will be available for HE History once the subject centre has closed. There are also details of activities and services the History community have found most valuable and recommendations on how these may be continued in the future.

Please join in the conversation!

May 12, 2011

Upcoming Events in History

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The History Subject Centre is pleased to announce a number of upcoming events within the history community:

Teaching the Green Humanities?
25th May 2011
University of London, Senate House, London, WC1E 7HU

This free conference is about the relationship between teaching the arts and humanities in HE and student learning about environmental and social issues. It will debate the extent to which the pedagogy of the humanities is inherently ‘green’ and should be concerned with engaging its students in environmental and social issues. It will also create opportunities to share current practices in addressing these issues in (and outside) the classroom and demonstrate how pedagogical innovation in the arts and humanities might contribute to environmental and social awareness.

Various factors are encouraging us to consider the connection between the arts and humanities and contemporary local, national and global problems. The new HEFCE working definition of Education for Sustainable Development sees it as activity where there is 'a significant element related to either or both of the natural environment and natural resources, PLUS a significant element related to either or both of economic or social issues’. The impact agenda is pushing the humanities to demonstrate its connections to people and places beyond the university, and a recent survey by the NUS* has found that most students expect skills in sustainable development to be important for employment. Looking beyond HE, the National Trust has recently launched a campaign ‘Outdoor Nation’ driven by a concern that we undervalue the physical and spiritual refreshment to be gained from the ‘outdoors’ and people need to be encouraged to re-connect with outdoor spaces.

For further information and to register please visit

Interdisciplinarity: Methods and Frameworks for Teaching the Nineteenth Century
MIVSS Friday 24th June 2011, Birmingham City University
School of Art, Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BX

2.00 Rosemary Mitchell, Associate Principal Lecturer in History at Leeds Trinity and Director of the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, ''A treasure hidden in a field'?: The Interdisciplinary Teaching of Victorian Studies'

2.45 Jane Hamlett, Lecturer in Modern British History, Royal Holloway, University of London, 'Using Photography in Teaching History'

3.15 Coffee

3.45 Anthony Howe, Senior Lecturer, School of English, Birmingham City University, ‘Teaching G. M. Hopkins’

4.15 Discussion (led by Philippa Bennet) on teaching the Victorians

4.45 Plans for future events

5.00 Close.  Those who wish to continue the discussions might like to join us in The Old Joint Stock pub (opposite St Philip’s Cathedral).

Details of the venue, which is in Birmingham city centre, and directions can be found here:

The event is free, but please register by emailing Serena Trowbridge ( before 1 June 2011.

There are a small number of travel bursaries of approx. £20 for postgraduate students attending the event, provided by funding from the British Association for Victorian Studies. These will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis, and priority is given to postgraduates who are already on our membership list. If you want to apply for this, please contact Kate Hill ( stating your name, affiliation, and how much your travel costs will be.

April 06, 2011

Connect to 400 years of history

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JISC news release

4 April 2011

Connect to 400 years of history

Millions of historical records have become more accessible to the public today (4 April 2011) through a JISC funded project at the universities of Hertfordshire, London and Sheffield.

Connected Histories provides a single point of access to a wide range of distributed digital resources relating to early modern and nineteenth-century British history.

Access the resources at <>

Connected Histories brings digital humanities research to a new level by providing integrated access to several key resources, moving beyond simple keyword searching to allow structured searching of millions of pages of text by names, places, and dates.

With the click of a mouse, researchers can find rich bodies of evidence for virtually any topic in British history; whether royal weddings, parliamentary reform movements, famous criminals, or the lives of plebeian Londoners.

Alastair Dunning, JISC programme manager, said: “Connected Histories provides a new type of tool for scholars, not just allowing them to find people, names and places from disparate digital resources, but create intelligent links between them. For JISC such projects are vital, permitting users to make sense of the rich and copious troves of primary sources available on the web.”

The Connected Histories website is fully searchable and provides access to millions of pages of text, hundreds of thousands of words and tens of thousands maps and images. It incorporates the following digital sources:

• British History Online

• British Newspapers 1600-1900

• Charles Booth Online Archive

• Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540–1835

• London Lives, 1690–1800

• Old Bailey Proceedings Online, 1674–1913

• Origins Network

• Parliamentary Papers

• Printed Ephemera from the Bodleian Library

• Strype’s Survey of London

The resource will grow substantially over time as new sources are added. The first update, due in September, will include 65,000 British Library books from the Historic Books Platform, 19th century pamphlets from JSTOR, and abstracts of wills from The National Archives.

Professor Robert Shoemaker, from the department of history at the University of Sheffield and co-director of the project, said: “Connected Histories represents the next big step in digital humanities research. By enabling integrated searching of diverse electronic resources it will allow everyone conducting historical research to work more efficiently and productively.”

The project used natural language processing to identify names, places and dates in unstructured texts, and combined these with structured databases to create a single resource searchable by names, places and dates, as well as by keywords and phrases. Users can save results in their own workspace and document connections between sources.

Co-director Professor Tim Hitchcock, from the University of Hertfordshire, added: “Connected Histories creates a one-stop-shop for historical information. It will allow us to search newspapers and trial reports, parliamentary papers and images across fifteen different scholarly websites, at the click of a mouse. In the process it will change how we do research."

Technical work was carried out at the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield and the website was developed by the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

Dr Jane Winters, Head of Publications, Institute of Historical Research, said: “Connected Histories marks an enormous step forward for historians of Britain, and will transform the ways in which they engage with the wealth of digital material now available. It is also a model of cross-sectoral collaboration to further the UK research agenda.”

Search across the Connected Histories resources at <>

Stay up to date on all of JISC's digitisation activities for universities and colleges at the digitisation blog <>

March 28, 2011

History Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Newsletter published

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The Spring 2011 edition of the History SoTL Newsletter is now online.  Please follow the link below (or paste it into the address bar of your web browser) for the newsletter.
Features include reports on two SoTL conferences, a report on SoTL in Moldova by Svetlana Suveica, a report on numeracy from Geogg Timmins et al., and a report on historical thinking in higher education in Australia by Adele Nye.

March 16, 2011

Digging into Data Challenge

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Digging into data challenge

Today eight international research funders are jointly announcing their participation in round two of the Digging into Data Challenge, a grant competition designed to spur cutting edge research in the humanities and social sciences.

The challenge asks researchers these provocative questions: How can we use advanced computation to change the nature of our research methods? Now that the objects of study for researchers in the humanities and social sciences - including books, survey data, economic data, newspapers, music - and other scholarly and scientific resources are being digitized on a huge scale, how does this change the very nature of our research? How might advanced computation and data analysis techniques help researchers use these materials to ask new questions about and gain new insights into our world?

Alastair Dunning, programme manager at JISC, said: “We are delighted to continue our involvement in the Digging into Data challenge. Digging into Data offers the arts and humanities and the social sciences the opportunity to explore new frontiers in research, forging not only international partnerships but new relationships between traditional scholarship and cutting edge computer science.”

The first round of the Digging into Data Challenge sparked enormous interest from the international research community and led to eight cutting-edge projects being funded. There has also been increased media attention to the question of so-called 'big data' techniques being used for humanities and social sciences research, including a recent cover article in the journal Science.

Due to the overwhelming popularity of round one, the Digging into Data Challenge is pleased to announce that four additional funders have joined for round two, enabling this competition to have a world-wide reach into many different scholarly and scientific domains.

The eight sponsoring funding bodies include JISC, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council in the UK; the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation in the US; the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council in Canada.

Final applications will be due 16 June 2011.

Further information about the competition and the application process can be found at <>

March 13, 2011

OFSTED publishes review of History teaching in schools

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Ofsted has published its review of History teaching in schools based on inspections from 2007-10. The picture is generally a positive one, particularly in secondary schools, with good teaching and rising attainment.

However there are some concerns for Higher Education. The number of Academies teaching History beyond Key Stage 3 is declining whilst 48 per cent of pupils in Independent Schools study the subject beyond the age of 14. Reliance on text books (often published by the examination boards) is also noted as an issue. The key recommendations for secondary school history teaching were to: 

  • ensure that pupils have a greater understanding of the history of the interrelationships of the different countries which comprise the British Isles
  • ensure that technology is exploited to best effect in the teaching and learning of history
  • ensure that sixth form history students read widely in preparation for the demands of higher education.

March 07, 2011

High Achieving Graduates of History

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The work of the government and our subject community is increasingly concentrating on enabling students to fulfil their potential during and after their studies.  The aim of the projects within 'History Graduates with Impact'is to highlight and evidence the 'value' of studying history and some of the developments in the UK.

As part of the research into 'Graduates with Impact', the Subject Centre (along with the English and Philosophical and Religious Studies Subject Centres) conducted a search of history (and wider humanities) alumni.  The result is a database of alumni who have progressed into positions of note and interest.  Findings from the database will be used in David Nicholl's forthcoming update to his 2005 work on 'The Employment of History Graduates', but we have also made the fill datasets available to the wider community on our website ... to encourage discussion with prospective students.

A publication of case studies, surveys and reports on 'History Graduates with Impact' will be available in July, in the meantime, please visit the project website for more details:

March 02, 2011

Extended Call for Papers – Real and Imagined Communities

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Historical Perspectives is a history society established and run by postgraduates for postgraduates. Our eighth annual conference, ‘Real and Imagined Communities’, will be held at The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow on the 2nd and 3rd June 2011. This will build on the success of our previous conferences, which have included, ‘Conflict and Conformity: Challenging Narratives of the Past’ and ‘Interpreting Relationships of Power.’ Our conferences provide postgraduates with an opportunity to present their research in a supportive environment, developing the skills needed to complete a successful doctoral career.

The theme for 2011, ‘Real and Imagined Communities’, is intended to encourage participation by postgraduates working in a range of disciplines in the Arts and Social Sciences. Papers can be on any topic relating to the theme of ‘Real and Imagined Communities’ from a historical perspective and could include, but are not limited to, these issues:

• Do some historical communities or groups take precedence over others in our understanding of the past?

• How do governments react to different historical communities or groups?

• Is a notion of sympathy important for researchers of historical communities or groups? How do we wrestle with issues of professional integrity and overcome bias?

• Are narratives of certain historical communities or groups easier to suppress than others and are these narratives harder to find?

• To what extent does research into spatial history reshape our understanding of historical communities or groups?

• Does the availability of sources and archive material dictate what is researched? If so, what problems does this create in the telling of history? Which historical communities or groups are potentially overlooked?

These questions are meant only as suggestions and we welcome proposals for twenty-minute papers on any topic related to the theme, from any discipline. It may also be possible to publish papers in a special edition of eSharp, an international online journal for postgraduate research in the arts, humanities, social sciences and education, based at the University of Glasgow. To help us assess enthusiasm for this idea, it would be appreciated if proposals for papers could be accompanied by an indication of any interest in the paper being included in an edition of eSharp.

Please submit proposals of c.250 words by 11th March 2011

To or to Alison Turnbull (Historical Perspectives), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, McCance Building, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ

If you would like more information about the society & conference please visit our website:




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