PHoSTEM: The Public History of Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (funded by AHRC)

This project aims to understand how to increase and improve public engagement with the history of science. To do this, IPUP has embarked on a joint enterprise with the Science Museum London, and the Centre for the History & Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds and won funding from the AHRC for a Research Network. During 2012 and 2013 workshops will be organised at each of the three institutions that allow practitioners, academics, and the public to come together and think through how curatorial best practice can promote greater public inclusivity with the historical narrative of science and technology. There will also be a summative public event.

IPUP has organized the first PHoSTEM event in the series on the theme of "Cultural Change, Material Culture and Public History - Understanding, Involvement, Participation, and Widening Public Engagement", held on Friday 7th December, 2012.   This AHRC workshop was held on Friday 7th December, 11am to 6.30pm, at the National Railway Museum, York.

Phostem-programme (PDF , 23kb)

PHoSTEM-York-Report (PDF , 1,065kb)

The Centre for the History & Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds has organized the second PHoSTEM event on the theme of "Understanding, Involvement, Participation, and Widening Public Engagement". This AHRC workshop was held on Friday 18th January, 10am to 5.30pm, at the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT.

Download programme here

PhoSTEM Leeds Report (PDF , 1,670kb)

The Science Museum has organized the third PHoSTEM event on the theme of "Is Science a Special Case in Museology". This AHRC workshop will be held on Friday 12th April, 10am to 5.30pm, at the Dana Centre, The Science Museum, Queen’s Gate, London, SW7 5HD..

All Welcome! To sign-up to participate, please email us at:

Eurotast Launch Presentations: Introducing the Challenges for the Interdisciplinary Research and Training Network Exploring the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Tuesday, 12th June, 9.00am to 6.00pm, The Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building

IPUP will be hosting a programme of presentations and perspectives showcasing the research of EUROTAST, a new Marie Curie Initial Training Network exploring the history of the transatlantic slave trade through 13 research projects in history, archaeology and genetics.

Speakers include Professor Fatimah Jackson from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who will speak on the relationship between Genetics and African Identity, and Dr. Richard Benjamin, Director of the International Slavery Museum, who will explore the representation of enslavement in a museum context. This is a closed event for the EUROTAST research team, however, if you have a particular reason to attend, please send an email to: to express your interest.

Download Programme here

Public Lecture: 6pm, Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building

To mark the beginning of this pioneering research journey, Emeritus Professor Jim Walvin will be delivering a special evening lecture entitled: "Then and Now: Viewing the Transatlantic Slave Trade Over Forty Years", which will provide a poignant and timely assessment of scholarship and public engagement with this burgeoning and also challenging field. This lecture is open to the public and will be followed by Q&A, and a drinks reception in the foyer which you are all warmly invited to attend. Community participants, students, colleagues, friends, are all welcome!

Cultural Equalities Now: Where next for equalities and diversity in the cultural and arts sectors?

Friday 9th December 2011 at The Stevenson Lecture Theatre, The British Museum

IPUP conference in collaboration with The British Museum and the Diversity in Heritage Group

Archaeology and the Material Past in the Public Realm
Keynote Speaker: Michael Wood, Historian and TV Presenter

Wednesday 23rd November 2011
1.30pm–5.30pm, King's Manor, University of York

Hosted by IPUP in partnership with the Department of Archaeology and York Archaeological Trust, this conference will focus on the role the material past might play in furthering strategies of engagement and participation, and consider the benefits and outcomes of such projects.

We are delighted to welcome Michael Wood, writer and television presenter, who will be talking about his "Story of England" community archaeology project at Kibworth in Leicestershire, and the role television can play in notions of place, history, and identity.

Cultural Equalities Now - Stakeholder meeting

Tuesday 20th September 2011, 10am St James' Palace

Policy makers, practitioners and researchers welcome but please first contact IPUP to set up security clearance and entry ID.
Invitation and Programme (download pdfs)

Televisualizing the Past:
Simon Schama and 'A History of Britain', Ten Years On

Wednesday 8th December 2010

1pm–7pm, Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building, University of York

At this half-day conference, speakers include presenters and producers involved in the making of the series: Writer and Presenter Simon Schama, Controller of BBC Two Janice Hadlow, BBC History Commissioner Martin Davidson, and the award-winning TV Producers Clare Beavan and Jamie Muir.

Packaging the Past for the Media: Communicating across museums, television, radio and the internet in a multi-platform era.

IPUP, University of York

19th May 2010, half-day conference

IPUP has organized a conference with its media and heritage partners to discuss and understand recent trends in the dissemination of the past in the public sphere, and most especially the rise of ‘multi-platform’ collaborative ventures: museums and galleries partnering with television and radio broadcasters, programme-makers publishing ancillary products in books and on the web, and collaborations between heritage practitioners and commissioning editors to mark significant heritage anniversaries. This landscape of partnership and synergistic research is one that academics need to understand and participate in, if their projects are going to continue to have an impact on the wider public realm. The one-day conference will address these issues, understanding such collaborative ventures as a means of increasing and diversifying audiences for the past’s stories, and the discussing the alignment of more traditional expressions of history and heritage (such as publishing and exhibitions) with partners in newer media. The day’s sessions will conclude with a panel considering the future of these symbiotic relationships, and examine how academics, funders, and publishers can continue to develop a meaningful engagement with, and impact on, contemporary society.

The conference is sponsored by York Museums Trust and The Department of Archaeology, University of York.

York Cultural Partnership Symposium

Berrick Saul Building, 3rd December 2009


Symposium Agenda [pdf document] Audience Research Overview [pdf document]


IPUP hosted representatives from York's key cultural heritage institutions for an afternoon symposium dedicated to discussing and outlining a series of new collaborative projects in the field of audience research. The symposium included presentations from cultural heritage practitioners as well as from participants in previous projects run by IPUP and its partners.

Tristram Shandy Performances

Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, 18th, 19th and 20th November, 7.30pm

IPUP is collaborating with the Music Department for its annual Practical Project 2009. This involves over ninety music students and is led by Prof. Roger Marsh, with IPUP providing stimulating reading materials about reenactment on its project pages. Historyworks in association with IPUP has created two films introducing Shandy Hall to the public, and IPUP is thrilled that music students are scoring, performing and recording film sound tracks to the films. These will entertain the viewers, reenact the quirkiness and playfulness of Laurence Sterne and introduce his home at Shandy Hall, Yorkshire.

For music students to find the short Youtube documentary (c 3 mins), go here.

For music students to find the long Vimeo documentary with Debussy (c 14 mins), go here. The password is 'Shandy'

For music students to find the long Vimeo documentary with no musical accompaniement (c 14 mins), go here. The password is 'shandy'.

To see the final films, come to the Performances at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York at 7.30pm on 18th, 19th, 20th November. Box office: 01904 432439 Email: Web:

Diversity in Heritage Group Symposium

The Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building, 1st-2nd October 2009

Programme [word document]
Maps and Information [pdf document]
Executive Summary [pdf document]


The 2009 Diversity in Heritage Group Symposium was hosted by the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past at the Berrick Saul Building, University of York. It brought together practitioners, policy makers and academics to discuss issues of diversity practice and diversifying audiences in the museum and heritage sector.

JISC Workshop: The Cultural Heritage of Historic European Cities and Public Participatory GIS

The University of York, Department of Archaeology, King's Manor, 17th-18th September 2009

Website (Including papers from the workshop)

 The University of York in association with JISC hosted a two-day workshop in September exploring the use of public participatory Geographic Information Systems as a tool to improve access, analysis and public understanding of the cultural heritage of historic European cities.

After Civilisation: The Past, Present and Future of Arts TV

York Hospitium, 27 May 2009, 0930-1800

Programme [pdf document]
Registration Form [word document]
Preliminary report [pdf document]

After Civilisation is a symposium organized to discuss Art on TV to mark 40 years since 'Civilisation' - the first British colour TV broadcast. The event is organized by Professor Helen Weinstein, Director of the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP), University of York, with support from the History of Art Department, University of York, the York Art Gallery at York Museums Trust, and The Linbury Trust.

The symposium will bring together TV presenters, producers, curators and academics. Speakers include TV presenters Matt Collings and Nigel Spivey, and TV producers John Wyver and Clare Beavan.

Download a report on the Conference

Race & Faith Discussion Days

First meeting 22 October 2008, Heslington Hall, University of York
Steering group 3 December 2008, Heslington Hall, University of York

Group members at Heslington Hall

IPUP is organizing a series of Race & Faith Discussion Days as part of an ongoing Race and Faith Identities project, which seeks to give a platform to those who are often excluded from media, policy, and academic agendas. We want to learn more about what people themselves think of these matters we read about daily in our newspapers. In these first meetings we hope to establish a network for discussion which can act to find new ways of addressing these issues.

We are looking for a diversity of views on race and faith issues, and are particularly interested in finding participants from race and faith groups in Birmingham, Hull, Leeds, Barnsley, Bradford, Liverpool and York. 
Programme of Initial Meeting 22nd October 2008 [Word file]

The next Discussion Day will take place in June 2009.

Shandy Hall

Once More With Feeling: Re-enactment and the Capture of the Past at Shandy Hall

Conference at Shandy Hall, Coxwold, N Yorkshire, 17-18 October 2008
Graduate Workshops held at Shandy Hall, Coxwold and Kings Manor, York, 15-16 October 2008

Programme [pdf file]

IPUP (Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past) at the University of York is organizing the 6th International Conference and postgraduate workshops in collaboration with WUN (World Universities Network) and Australian National University, Canberra, University of Sydney, and Vanderbilt University USA.

Importantly, this is also a partnership with a heritage site, the Laurence Sterne Trust at Shandy Hall, Coxwold, North Yorkshire, whose curator, Patrick Wildgust, is a heritage practitioner who opens up the house and works of Laurence Sterne as a focus for imaginative artistic practitioners, as well as working with conventional scholars. See the Shandy Hall website.

For current exhibition at Shandy Hall by artist Tom Phillips, see

1807 Commemorated: Remembering and representing the abolition of the slave trade

18 - 19 September 2008

An information board from the Wisbech and Fenland Museum

The first 1807 Commemorated conference is to held on the 18 - 19 September 2008. Bringing together museum practitioners, academics and community representatives the conference will explore how the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade was marked in Britain.

What this commemoration means to Britain and how it impacts upon issues of identity, ethnicity and social justice will be key aspects of the conference.

War, empire and slavery

14 - 16 May 2008

The reconstructed interior of the slave ship The Zong

The War, Empire and Slavery Conference is to be held on the 14 - 16 May 2008. Speakers include Marie-Jeanne Rossignol, Seth Meisel and Nigel Worden. The wide variety of papers will examine the history of enslavement and its representation both in the past and the present.

Abolitions 1807-2007: Ending the Slave Trade in the Transatlantic World

12-14 April 2007

Conference website

The University of York is organising an international bicentenary conference looking at the meaning and impact across the Atlantic world of the formal abolition of the slave trade in 1807. The city of York was one of the political arenas in which the abolitionist William Wilberforce fought the cause, and the department of history has long been associated with pioneering scholarship on the history of slavery and black studies in the UK.

Conference sessions will be held on: the consequences of abolition in Africa, the Caribbean, and for the major European powers; the memory of abolition in the Atlantic ports; literature and emancipation; and the legacy and heritage of abolition in the 20th century.