School for the Creative and Cultural Industries


Academic and Outreach team awarded bursary to engage the East London community with public history

23 November 2022

Dr Anna Maguire (co-lead Public History MA) and Vicky Price (Head of Outreach, UCL Special Collections) have been awarded a Beacon Bursary to explore how UCL East can support the public history work of the East London community.

Three people from the new curators project in discussion

’Paths to Public History’  will build on previous work undertaken by The New Curators Project (UCL Special Collections and Newham Heritage Month) and will be based at UCL East. The project will make use of the new Urban Room, a practice-based, multi-purpose exhibition space at the heart of the new UCL East campus, dedicated to debate and engagement around key questions of future living and urbanism.

Vicky Price said about the project’s aims:

This project asks what a community access course or module for public historians living and working around UCL East would look like. With the establishment of a new MA in Public History and the Urban Room and Memory Workshop, we will use this project to undertake community-engaged research to think about how we at UCL East can support the ongoing public history work of our surrounding communities and develop our curriculums in response.”

The bursary will help fund a number of activities, including employing a previous participant from The New Curators Project as a community-engaged researcher. The New Curators Project is a career focused programme for young east Londoners that seeks to demystify roles within the cultural heritage sector, offer sector-specific training and support participants in pursuing employment in the field.

The project plans to carry out the following activities in 2023:

  1. Part One of the project will be a workshop with the New Curators Project run by the project team in UCL East’s Urban Room and Memory Workshop to act as a focus group and a space for imagining futures for community-engaged public history curricula at UCL East.
  2. Part 2 - Following the workshop, a previous participant from The New Curators Project will work as a community-engaged researcher (through an internship programme hosted by UCL Library Services) to carry out further activities – surveys, social media events, interviews – with those undertaking public history around UCL East to better understand demand for a community-access module and pathways to public history training in and beyond higher education as part of Public History’s new home at UCL East.

The project will feed into the Public History MA which is in its first year and has recently moved its core teaching to the UCL East campus. Anna Maguire, programme co-lead and Lecturer in Public History said:

This project is directly linked to the development of public history as a research, teaching and learning area at UCL East. As co-lead of the new MA in Public History, I want to develop pathways for those who may want to pursue further study, have extensive practice-based experience and historical understanding but who have less academic experience to pursue traditional routes to study. Through this public engagement project, building directly on the fantastic New Curators Project, we want to scope out what the most appropriate directions for future teaching and learning in this field might be, in both curriculum design and pedagogical practice, and how best to collaborate with the experts and practice around UCL East.”