Accessibility statement

Public History Project - HIS00130I

« Back to module search

  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Geoff Cubitt
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

Public history explores the many ways that the past is presented in society, for example in museums, archives, communities, and through news and entertainment media, whether on television, by journalists, online and elsewhere. The study of the way we use the past allows us to ask questions about how the access to and interpretations of history impact our identities, shape our present and inform the future. This module provides students with the opportunity to experience developing a public history project in practice, and to reflect critically upon that practice. Students will work in small teams on a public history project to a brief from an external partner organisation (such as a museum or community group). Projects change from year to year but typical projects include working on an exhibition, designing curriculum-based materials for schools or producing a walking tour, trail or podcast. Throughout the course a series of workshops will introduce students to public history and provide training in project planning and management as well as project-specific skills such as podcasting, web design and marketing. Project Facilitators also provide support and guidance throughout the projects.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

The aims are:

  • To provide experience of working with a brief from a cultural or heritage organisation
  • To develop practical skills relevant to the workplace, such as project management.
  • To introduce students to public history in theory and to the practice of public history.
  • To encourage students to evaluate and reflect upon the interpretation and use of the past in public settings.

Module learning outcomes

Students who complete this module successfully will:

  • Have experienced working within a team for an external organisation.
  • Have contributed to a public history project.
  • Have articulated their learning and experience through group presentation and through individual written reflection.
  • Have developed an understanding of public history and its practice.

Module content

Students will attend a 1-hour briefing in week 1, then 2-hour workshops in each of weeks 2-7 and 10, and group tutorials in weeks 8 and 11. Weeks 5 & 9 are Reading and Writing Weeks (RAW). Students prepare for and participate in six workshops and two group tutorials in all.

Workshop topics are subject to variation, but are likely to include the following:

  1. Briefing - Getting Started
  2. Workshop 1 - Building Partnerships and Co-production
  3. Workshop 2 - Key Themes in Public History
  4. Workshop 3 - Project Management
  5. Workshop 4 - Project-specific Skills
  6. Workshop 5 - Project Design and Development
  7. Workshop 6 - Project Delivery - Project Pitches and Reflections


Task Length % of module mark
Individual Reflection
N/A 67
Group Presentation
N/A 33

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

For formative assessment work, students submit a group project proposal and participate in a group presentation.

For summative assessment, students participate in a group presentation and submit a 1,500-word individual reflection in the assessment period.


Task Length % of module mark
Individual Reflection
N/A 100

Module feedback

Following their formative assessment tasks, students will receive feedback in their tutorials.

Tutorial feedback may be supplemented by the tutor giving some oral feedback to the whole group. All students are encouraged, if they wish, to discuss the feedback during their tutor’s student hours. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.

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

  • Thomas Cauvin, Public History: A Textbook of Practice [Second edition] (London: Routledge, 2022).
  • Barbara Franco, “Decentralizing Culture: Public History and Communities’”, in Paula Hamilton and James B. Gardner (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Public History (Oxford: Oxford Handbooks, 2017).
  • Jorma Kalela, “Making History: The Historian and the Use of the Past,” in Hilda Kean and Paul Martin (eds.), The Public History Reader (Basingstoke: 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.