What is public history now?

05 September 2018, 10:00 am–5:30 pm

Image of the courtyard at Toynbee Hall with a push-bike leant against the wall

Join us for this one-day workshop at Toynbee Hall on 5 September 2018

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Ali Bennett


Toynbee Hall
28 Commercial Street
E1 6LS
United Kingdom

UCL History is hosting a one-day workshop for public and community historians, museum and archive professionals, and academics to share reflections on past, present and future approaches to Public History. The workshop is free and open to all, and lunch will be included, but advanced registration is required.

Public History has changed substantially in the past decade. This workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners from across a variety of academic and cultural institutions to discuss the latest developments and directions for its study and dissemination in Britain. To capture the current variety and breadth of the field, a range of issues will be considered including:

  • Current definitions of Public History
  • Community histories and local archives
  • Institutional histories as Public History
  • Public History in the digital world
  • Teaching Public History as a new discipline in universities and schools
  • Public History and museums
  • Theoretical and practical approaches to Public History
  • The history of Public History

About UCL East and public history

UCL is developing a new programme in Public History. This course will be a key feature of a new UCL campus, based at the Olympic Park in Stratford. With support from the Mayor of London, the new campus will form part of a broader cultural and educational cluster, called ‘East Bank’, comprising the V&A/Smithsonian, Sadler’s Wells and the London College of Fashion.

The Public History Programme will be anchored in a new space for research and learning: the ‘London Memory Archive’. Capturing the impact of industry, globalization and gentrification on the six Olympic Park Boroughs and its people, the Archive will open up access to UCL’s public and oral history collections, develop a new, predominantly digital resource focused on oral and public history, and host diverse teaching initiatives including a new Masters in Public History. UCL students and academics will work with local communities to research, conserve, curate and exhibit their stories. The Archive will be nested within the new Urban Room, designed by UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture, a combined space dedicated to public dialogue about the contemporary urban experience.

The workshop, ‘What is Public History Now’, aims to begin a public conversation about the role that history can play in civil society and everyday life, to feed into the development of the UCL Public History Programme. The workshop is free to attend and open to all.

We look forward to welcoming you to the discussion!