A short history of forgetting in England’s Long Reformation

Alex Walsham
HA President

How do we write the history of forgetting? This lecture seeks to explore this challenging question in the context of England’s contested and protracted Protestant Reformation. It will examine official acts of oblivion, such as iconoclasm, sanctioned amnesia and censorship, alongside the highly selective ways in which the generations that witnessed and experienced the religious upheavals of the sixteenth century remembered these unsettling events. In the process, it will reflect on the wider problem of how to identify and interpret gaps and silences in the historical record.

Friday: 9.00–10.15


Penelope Harnett

The Dawson Award amplifies the ethos of inspiration, collaboration and continuous learning in the field of education. This award celebrates an individual who has supported and nurtured history teachers and teaching. We are delighted that this year’s recipient is Penelope Harnett.

Penelope is a distinguished figure in the field of history and citizenship education. Her notable contributions extend to various Council of Europe projects focused on history teaching. Penelope is recognised for her extensive research and published widely within the broader sphere of learning and teaching in history.

Having served as the former editor of Primary History and been an active member of our Primary Committee for many years, Penelope’s commitment to educational advancement remains evident as she continues to be an important voice in primary history education. Her dedication to shaping the landscape of history education is a testament to her enduring impact on the field and one of the many reasons why she has been awarded the Dawson Award.

Friday: 15.15–16.15


Panel discussion: Historians study the past – what value can they add to contemporary and future issues?

Special guests including Toby Green and Claire Langhamer

2024 is an interesting year. The world is changing – or, should we say, continues to change and develop. There will be a general election in the UK, a presidential election in the United States, European Union elections and elections for governments and heads of state across individual countries of Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and the Pacific Islands. There have already been elections in Russia, Pakistan and Iran (you may have missed those). There have been conspiracy theories, AI developments, Moon landings and the warmest start to a year ever, according to records. Historians of the future may well see this year as a pivot point. However, with the knowledge and insight that historians are able to gather from their research about past events, are they well suited to make judgements on current events, along with contributing to policy directions for the future?

In this panel, we have brought together some of the UK’s historians who are exploring areas that might make them better suited to understanding our present than those who currently get to legislate on it. Join us to ask them how they feel that they can contribute to current debates and ask them whether they feel that they can add more to public policies than has been the case thus far.

Friday: 18.15–19.15


William Dalrymple

We are delighted that the Saturday morning keynote speaker will be the hugely acclaimed historian, writer, curator and broadcaster William Dalrymple CBE. His award-winning books include:
• From the Holy Mountain: a journey in the shadow of Byzantium
• White Mughals
• Return of a King: the battle for Afghanistan
• The Anarchy: the relentless rise of the East India Company

Saturday: 09.00–10.15


Understanding and hope: school history and the planetary crisis

Alison Kitson and Michael Riley
UCL Institute of Education

The importance of teaching children and young people about the planetary crisis is hard to overstate. School history has a crucial role to play in helping pupils to understand our present predicament and to think about possible futures. UCL’s Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education has been established to provide research-informed professional development for teachers on these issues. Alison and Michael will draw on their work at the Centre to consider how teachers can draw on academic research to give the history curriculum a stronger environmental focus. They will share practical approaches that can be used to build pupils’ knowledge and understanding of how we got into this mess and of how history can help us to envisage a more hopeful future.

Saturday: 15.15–16.15