HST6042: Presenting the Past: Making History Public

HST6042 Remembering the Fallen Website

15 credits (Semester 2018-19: Spring | Semester 2019-20: Spring)

Module Leader 2018-19 | 2019-20: Dr Rosie Knight


Module Summary

'This module explores the different ways history has been presented in the public sphere. In seminars we will discuss TV historians, history in post-conflict societies and the history of country houses, while reflecting on the varied authorial choices involved in making history public. Students will then put our discussions into practice by creating an artefact of public history.' Dr Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid

The primary focus of this module is the interpretation and creation of 'public history'. The module will enable you to reflect on the issues involved in disseminating history outside academia and develop communication and presentation skills for audiences outside higher education. You will be required to (1) analyse examples of public history and (2) create an example of public history.

The module may be of particular interest if planning to pursue careers in heritage, museums or education. Seminars will include discussion of: issues in public history; displaying objects and presenting interiors; the role of public history in post-conflict societies; writing for the 'public'; sound and vision; digital history.

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • Develop your critical skills in interrogating public history.
  • Enable you to reflect on the value of your historical knowledge and skills outside academic study.
  • Improve your communication and presentation skills for audiences outside higher education.
  • Provide you with experience of using your historical knowledge and skills outside academia.
  • Encourage you to reflect on your own career development.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you will be able to demonstrate:

  1. The ability to critically evaluate the uses of history in non-academic environments;
  2. The ability to reflect on your own uses of historical knowledge and skills for a non-academic audience;
  3. The ability to convey historical research in effective ways to a non-academic audience;
  4. Enhanced practical skills in the use and presentation of historical evidence.


Learning hours
Seminar hours Tutorial hours Independent Learning
10 1 139

The module will be taught in five, two-hour classes. The first three seminars will focus on thematic case-studies in public history. Classes will enable you to share knowledge, debate contentious issues and listen and respond to the views and ideas of others in a structured environment. The forth and fifth sessions will involve student presentations or displays of work that will serve the basis for your final assessment. You will, in addition, have individual tutorial contact with the module leader in order to discuss the work that you will write for assessment of this module.



Assessment methods
Assessment % of final mark Length
Group work 50% 2000 words (if written)
Coursework 50% 1000 words

You will submit one assessment with two components.

Part I (if written, a maximum of 2,000 words) will take the form of an example of public history, to be agreed with the module convenor or supervisor. Possible formats include: a webpage, a design for an exhibition, an historic house booklet, a script for a radio programme, a proposal for a TV series.

Part II (of 1,000 words) will provide the rationale for Part I, reflecting on the role of historical knowledge in non-academic environments, and situating Part I in the context of critical writing on public history.

For the group project please refer to the specific Presenting the Past Group Project Marking Criteria. The general marking criteria apply to the 1000 word reflective essay.



*The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.