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Public History Placement - HIS00050M

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  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Victoria Hoyle
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

The Public History Placement module provides students with the opportunity to experience developing a public history project in practice, and to reflect critically upon that practice.

The placement consists of two elements. The first element is a 10 week placement hosted by an external partner with whom the student will work to complete a specific output, such as a piece of research, an exhibit, a report, or an online resource. External partners vary each year but include: museums, archives, heritage organisations (such as the National Trust), community organisations, and media companies/consultants. Examples of placement projects include:

  • Researching, writing and recording historical podcasts
  • Working with a historical consultant on a TV/film production
  • Designing exhibitions and activities for museums and archives
  • Developing social media content and campaigns
  • Developing walking tours/trails
  • Researching historic buildings and people to support funding applications
  • Designing educational activities for children and young people
  • Working with artists and creative practitioners on historical installations.

Students taking the placement module will be advised of available placements in the Autumn semester and will express their preferences the options they find most appealing. Placements are allocated before the end of the Autumn semester.

The second element of the module is guided private study towards the final unit of University assessment. Each student will have an academic supervisor who will support them to reflect on their placement within a broader context, supported by group workshops on the themes and practices of public history.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

The aims of this module are to:

  • Equip students with an experience of a cultural institution that operates in the broad sphere of public history
  • Create opportunities for the students to apply academically-derived models of public history in real-world situations
  • Engage students with practical projects that are related to the presentation of the past in the public sphere
  • Provide the opportunity for students to think critically about interpreting, communicating and presenting the past to the public
  • Encourage students to evaluate public history projects as a means of reflecting upon their own practical work

Module learning outcomes

Students who complete this module successfully will have:

  • Experienced task-based learning in the field of Public History inside a cultural institution
  • Meaningfully contributed to a practical endeavour (their own assigned task, or as part of a wider team project) related to Public History
  • Demonstrated in writing that they have experienced situations in which they have applied academic knowledge to the practical tasks they have been set and completed
  • Articulated their learning and critically evaluated their assigned project and their part in it

Module content

The placement is primarily independent work undertaken for your host and for your assessment. It consists of 200 hours in total, comprising 120 hours practical experience, 40 hours of private study and 40 hours preparing the Placement Essay. In addition to their responsible supervisor in the host institution or project, students on placement will have an academic supervisor, with whom they will meet three times in the course of the placement. The second of these meetings will, wherever possible, be held jointly with the host institution supervisor.

Alongside this there are a number of taught workshop sessions to support you, including a briefing session in semester I and three 2-hour workshops in semester 2


Task Length % of module mark
4,000 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students are required to keep a Workbook of no more than 3,000 words during the first 4 weeks of the placement. This must be submitted in week 6 of the spring semester, and will inform discussion at the second supervisorial meeting. It does not count towards the summative assessment for the module.

Summative assessment is on a 4,000 word Reflective Placement Essay, which will be due in the assessment period.


Task Length % of module mark
4,000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

The workbook submitted in week 6 will inform discussion at the second supervisorial meeting. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.

For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 25 working days of the submission deadline. The tutor will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.

Indicative reading

For semester time reading, please refer to the module VLE site. Before the course starts, we encourage you to look at the following items of preliminary reading:

  • Sayer, Faye. Public History: A Practical Guide, (London: Bloomsbury, 2019).
  • Cauvin, Thomas. Public History: A Textbook of Practice, (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016).
  • Kean, Hilda and Paul Martin (eds.). The Public History Reader, (London: Routledge, 2013).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.