Voices across the generations: what the history of our schools can tell us about the history of our nation

Peter Mandler

This lecture sadly concludes a set of three presidential lectures from Peter Mandler, derived from the work of the Secondary Education and Social Change (SESC) project that I have conducted with Laura Carter and Chris Jeppesen. The first two lectures sought to show the new sources and new perspectives on recent British history that can be provided by looking at the history of secondary education. This last lecture addresses more practically what those sources and perspectives can teach us today. We all have schools in our past lives and memories of them; they can be harnessed by historians to shed light on important themes in post-war British history: faith, youth culture, changing gender roles, social mobility and multiculturalism.

Friday: 9.00–10.15


How should young people ‘feel’ and ‘do’ history? How may this shape their world?

Martin Spafford

Thinking about most of the five- to sixteen-year-olds who learn history with us – i.e. those who don’t go on to study the subject beyond GCSE – what is school history really for? How do we want a sense of history to have meaning for our students throughout their lives? Whose stories should our students come across and how do we uncover them? Does how history is learned matter as much as what we teach? Our day in school asks us to be pastoral guides as well as subject teachers: how separate are these? Should a moral responsibility inform our history teaching? Can a historical sensibility enhance our pastoral work? How far should we focus on how to bring historical understanding to the challenges of our time, such as systemic inequalities, excluded communities or the fate of the planet? Does history matter as a repository of heritage or a toolkit for change? Where do young people fit into this and how does it fit into them? These are some of the questions – and the connections between them – that I hope to explore.

Friday: 15.15–16.00


Doing history in public: historians as media advisers, journalists as historians

Hannah Greig and Sathnam Sanghera in conversation with Peter Mandler

How does the historical detail get translated to the screen? Can the historian convince the film-maker that reality is better than fiction, or do we all just have to remember that with good film and TV comes a suspension of belief in what is true? How does a journalist and broadcaster grapple with whether to present a wide view of history, or whether the personal and approachable are enough?

Join us for this conversation chaired by Peter Mandler about how the media industry has helped to shape and create our understanding of history. It will include historian Hannah Greig, who has advised on several shows including the popular series Bridgerton, and the acclaimed journalist Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland: How Modern Britain is shaped by its Imperial Past.  

Friday: 18.00–19.15


Was it tough at the top? How to study the Roman emperor

Mary Beard

In this keynote lecture, Mary Beard will explore the subject of the Roman emperor as an entity, drawing on research for her upcoming book about the role and nature of the Roman emperor and the fact and fiction of these ancient rulers.

Saturday: 09.00–10.15


Tel: +44 (0) 1904 702165

The Historical Association, c/o Mosaic Events
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